Noli and Provoste : between Fantasy and Reality
Fulfilling a need to escape reality and a sarcastic vision of our modern world, the works of Jose Luis Noli and Hugo Provoste exploit at the best the multiple possibilities of photo-manipulation. Between fear and excitement, our eyes and mind reconnect with our inner child and start wandering in their surreal worlds. They met through Internet, they work thanks to it, we connect with their work through our screen; from South America till your home, the freedom of the digital world and art at it’s best.
Can you shortly introduce yourself and how you met each other?
We are Jose Luis Noli and Hugo Provoste (Argentina – Chile respectively) and we met almost 2 years ago on Flickr. We knew immediately that we had a very similar point of view related with the art and both of us were looking for the same artistic aspirations. Sharing the same personal aspiration, we knew we had to start and build something together.
When did you started photography? Did you studied photography at school/university?
Noli: I started with photography in 2005 as a hobby first and after it became something professional… at the moment I still havent taken photography or Photoshopc ourses , but I think it’s a pendent subject.
Provoste: I started in mid-2004 and I am currently studying architecture, I am in my recent years, and while it’s not a career directly linked to photography, it has led me to educate my artistic development and my creativity. Every day brings me historical knowledge and vocational training, with a global contemporary look, putting me in a critical, participatory and rigorous position in respect to contemporary art.
How do you work togheter? How is the work divided?
Provoste: Mixed, scrambled, together and working hard at the same time. In fact many of the works pass first through the mind of José, he’s who usually handles the theme concept, the initial idea or the critical development of them, to be discussed and finally decided by both. Already, previously to the production of the pictures, we are open to receiving help and recommendations from the people who are expert in their own area, for example, for the clothing, we let the designer Kevin Kobek propose and drive the atmosphere, giving us ideas from his own experimental and artistic knowledge. The same thing happens with the makeup, that is in the hands of Marcelo Celis. We believe that even knowing that probably we could have a good concept in our heads, experts in each field will know better how to express that concept, enhancing the final result of a work
Noli: Concerning the production, Hugo is the one who takes care of the whole issue of location, calling the models (or consulting with Kevin). Finally, editing usually run by both of us.
Provoste: Well, considering that we live in different countries, we must clarify that all this can happen thanks to the Internet, mainly, communication via e-mail, via Messenger, web cam, flickr and, of course, by the wonderful FTP websites, which allow us to send large files size.
What is that interest you in photography?
Noli: The power of images. I believe at 100% that a picture speak more than a thousand words, and when a photo is backed with a good concept, it become usually easier to aquire that concept.
Provoste: For me is the lighting in the capture, the fact as a hue, a good dissipation of light, a filtering layers of ilumination or how a game of reflexes allows to achieve a specific atmosphere. It can create toughness, tenderness, drama, plasticity. Something that is very technical in the set production comes alive in the captured image and if to this you add the art of photo manipulation, the results between fantasy and reality can be closer.
Your works are mainly based on photomanipulation, why did you choose photography and not painting or graphic design?
Noli: Well, I actually started experimenting with painting, mainly painted Norse mythology, but when I discovered that with photography I could reach better results, with more reality, I decided on the latter because, it must be said, that painting human figures is very complex, or at least for me.
Provoste: By my side, since childhood I was fascinated with the special effects of the movies, I dreamed of recreatinf fanciful scenes or fiction, constructing models of landscapes or buildings, surreal situation. Just believing in their existance. People told me to study filmaking, but I wasn’t interested in making films, partly that’s why I went to study architecture, but over time I realized that with the photo manipulation I could satisfy the same need to recreate those fantastic worlds that where magical or surreal. Photography allowed us give that sensation of reality, as if we really had been in those places, capturing a fantasy that actually was happening in front of our lens and with the painting or graphic design we can not achieve or get the same sensation, the painting will always have a brush behind its expression and graphic design will have the intention to convince their receivers… we do not seek to convince anyone.
Where do you take your inspiration from?
Provoste: From everything and everywhere.
Noli: The truth is that it is difficult for me to tell from where my inspirations come, it can come from dreams or it can be a preconceived notion that I want to realize, but the most strange thing is that the pictures that I like the better, come from idea that have arisen in my bathroom. I don’t know why but it is a fact, for example with Hugo, when we are not having any idea for a client, Hugo sends me to the bathroom and then I come back with one that ended up being the final and good one.
What are you trying to capture through photography?
Noli: What we are trying to capture is a mix between the real world and the unreal one, a place where parallel universes are intermingled and there are a myriad of different beings.
Provoste: I think when we do our work, we put ourselves inside of that magical world and in our subconscious we have a strong feeling of having been there, of knowing that parallel reality, of knowing perfectly the characters that we create, feeling empathy by them, we give them personality and, within us, we hope someday to find them somewhere. We believe that this parallel reality indeed exists and that’s what we are trying to capture when we have our models in front us, looking for a specific expression and interacting with a location.
What lighting and camera do you use?
Provoste: Preferably natural lighting, power with reflectors, we are at a very amateur level, we do not count with a professional lighting equipment yet, we have invested in allogeneic lamps, but they are allogeneic! On very warm temperatures we have to be using filters but we prefer the natural lighting by the moment.
Noli: For cameras we are using a Canon Rebel XT and we are about to get a new acquisition, more professional, but we can’t tell before this is fulfilled.
Provoste: We are a little bit superstitious.
To the viewer of your work what feeling or impression would you like to leave?
Noli: First of all I would like that the viewer forgets the world in which he lives, even for a second, wishing to be part of a fantastic world. This world that people often create in their childhood in which dreams are mixed with nightmares
What do you look for in other photographers work?
Noli: I like that the photos that says something, that tells a stor I’m fanatic of conceptual photography, so I always look for something that goes beyond the photo. A photo can be very simple, without great editing job, but if it has a strong concept behind, comming directly to the soul and shaking you completely it’s worth of admiration.
Provoste: I think the same.
If you could invite 3 photographers or artist at a dinner who would it be and why?
Noli: What a question… let me see… Erwin Olaf because I love his controversial way to work and he cheers up to everything. Eugenio Recuenco, the productions of this man are worth of admiration. The third person would be Salvador Dalí because of those surreales worlds that he created in his paintings, those fantastic animals with long legs… What a fantastic dinner!!!!
Provoste: I have so many! I would love to do a party inviting all my favourites!! But if I have to choose three I will agree with Eugenio Recuenco. Oleg Doug is another one, he is such a great artist, very inspiring and I have many questions for him. Finally Herzog & de Meuron, they are architects, but I feel a total admiration of the way they work together with a simple speach behind every building and a vision truely contemporary, real and surreal at the same time, changing my perspective of a scene that is not only a support of something. They extended my field of work that now include different materials in a scene as an essencial part of the atmosphere.
Any young photographers or Flickr members whose work you really like and that you would like us to discover?
Noli: The truth is that there are a lot and that every day you can find more excellent young photographers. In my favorites there are Pilar Castro, Jonathan Jacobsen, Javiera Eyzaguirre, Lara Jade and Sekator.
Provoste: Also, I will expand the list to Simón Pais, Rebeka Saray, Gsquared, LeNoREe, Vorfas, Proverbs 31:10, Dense Alba, Sin parpado, Andrea Francesco, Delay, Romina Ortega, Cristabel Palma, Soleá, Mr. Brightside and more, and more. There is a big number of wonderful young photographers on Internet, every one of them have impressive points of view, focussing in diffrent aspects of the art and the photography in general, we learn from every one of them.
Thank you Jose Luis and Hugo.
Interview by Frankie