“It’s the realm of emotion, that tiny little second. It’s what keeps me creating.”
Exploring the Depths of Human Emotions
Aaron is a seasoned photographer and has always been captivated by the human emotions that can be captured through the lens of a camera. Even as a student, he was proud of his personal darkroom where he would meticulously develop film and marvel at the magic of watching his shots come to life under the soft red glow. His passion for photography was briefly put on hold as he pursued a career in medicine, with a particular focus on psychoanalysis. However, after a decade-long hiatus, he rekindled his love for photography and transitioned to digital mediums. Now, at the age of 66, Aaron dedicates his time solely to photography, viewing it not just as a medium but as a means of exploring the depths of human emotions and dreams.
Aaron’s origin, being born and raised in Morocco until the age of seven, has had a profound impact on his work as an artist and photographer. This influence is most evident in his series “Alchemy,” which explores themes of making amends, leadership, and empathy. The use of ochre clay to dress the bodies of the models in this series is a nod to the rich cultural heritage of his homeland and evokes a sense of returning to the basics. The imagery of the body, the wound, and the sacred are recurring themes in his work, which is informed by his background in medicine and his interest in psychoanalysis and spirituality. It is an inescapable influence that imbues his work with a unique perspective and depth.
His artistic endeavors are centered around the exploration and expression of emotions. The imagery that he crafts emerges from his subconscious, drawing upon the rich tapestry of symbolism, personal wounds, poetic imagery, and the sacred. Maintaining a connection to the unconscious is of paramount importance to him, as it allows him to create works that resonate deeply with the viewer. Aaron takes great pleasure in those instances when the observer of his photographs experiences a fleeting moment of transcendence, a momentary disconnection from the mundane, and instead finds themselves transported to a realm of pure emotion. It is this connection, this ability to communicate directly from the unconscious to the unconscious that drives his creative pursuits.
The Multifaceted Concept of Inspiration
Inspiration is a multifaceted concept that can be found in the everyday world around us. It can stem from themes and subjects that elicit interest and create meaningful experiences, as well as from personal passions and interests that bring joy and satisfaction. However, true inspiration often emerges when one allows oneself to let go and open oneself up to the world. It may present itself in the form of emotionally charged subjects that resonate deeply with one and have the potential to move and inspire others through artistic expression. This process is often unconscious and not something that can be forced or controlled. Ultimately, inspiration is a state of being that is shaped by one’s history, experiences, and emotions. It is a reflection of the inner self and a means of self-expression.
As Aaron reflects upon the evolution of his photographic style over the years, he is struck by the consistency of his focus on capturing human emotion. From his earliest work, which dates back several decades, he has been drawn to capturing the raw, unadulterated expressions of individuals, particularly those with Down Syndrome, whom he had the privilege of working with as a nurse at a summer camp.
As technology has advanced and digital photography has replaced film, Aaron’s approach has remained unchanged: he strives to elicit authenticity from his subjects, often challenging them to relinquish the facade of social decorum and reveal their true selves.
In Aaron’s current work, he primarily works within the studio and collaborates with models, fostering their creativity through a range of stimuli including music, words, and contact with the subject matter. He is often moved by the powerful emotions that emerge during the process of capturing the image, and in post-production, he utilizes his inner child’s creativity to select the tone and treatment that will best convey the desired effect.
Aaron’s “East Side of the Cloud” and “Alchemy” Series
Aaron believes that photography is not about capturing reality, but rather recreating it. His style is refined to focus on the essential elements of the image, the look and the expression. The use of materials also plays a crucial role in his work, as he believes it elevates the emotions conveyed in the image.
Aaron has two series of works that hold a special significance to him and that he is particularly proud of. These are “East Side of the Cloud” and “Alchemy.” These series are not only chronologically connected, but also deeply intertwined in their themes and exploration of emotional states. The inspiration for these works came to Aaron in an unexpected way, when a friend and psychoanalyst suggested he attend an exhibition of Sankai Juku’s butoh choreography. The powerful imagery of the bare-chested, shaven-headed dancers moved him deeply, and he felt compelled to explore this emotional resonance through his own art. The “East Side of the Cloud” series began as an unconscious exploration of scopic emotion, but as it progressed, he began to become increasingly aware of the presence of childhood wounds and the ways in which they were affecting the work. The final session was particularly mindful, as he sought to re-open and ultimately heal these wounds. The resulting series was emotionally charged and received numerous awards, and led to the publication of a book by Corridor Éléphant editions. Following “East Side of the Cloud,” “Alchemy” presented itself as a necessary step in his artistic journey, serving as a form of appeasement and benevolent reconstruction. The images in this series were softer and more soothing, and also resulted in the publication of a book.
A Dream Come True at Berthe and Edgar Gallery
Aaron has long harbored a yearning to undertake a truly immersive project. The completion of his “East Side” series has only served to further fuel this aspiration. Rather than simply viewing photographs, he seeks to create an experience that fully engages the senses, one in which the viewer is fully immersed in the scene, able to look in any direction, and truly feel as though they are a part of the action. He is thrilled to announce that he has found the perfect venue for this endeavor, the Berthe and Edgar Gallery in Chatou, where an exhibition of this immersive project will be held from March 21st to 26th, 2023. This is truly a dream come true.
Art has always been a vital aspect of Aaron’s existence, providing a means of expression and a sense of equilibrium in his life. Through his exploration of various mediums, such as mime, music, painting, and video, Aaron has discovered a profound connection to the art of photography, which has become his preferred method of self-expression in recent years. Photography not only serves as a creative outlet, but also allows him to process and conceal his emotions in a cathartic manner.