The Dutch photographer on digital manipulation ahead of Hostem's second magazine launch
The study of science in social psychology posits an intellectual analysis of the human psyche; the way we work, think, act and behave. And maybe, the studying of this may go as far as explaining a level of insight that Koen Hauser exhibits in his fine art, photography and filmmaking. From his manipulation of digital imagery in his acclaimed series 'Modische Atlas der Anatomie’ – which depicted surreal and disturbing photographs of bodies that had been digitally altered to show a plastic internal make up – to his whimsy laced fashion spreads of floating ethereal figures, Hauser - regardless of medium, subject or craft - has an eye for the unusual and the ability to produce an enchanting image.
For east London store Hostem’s latest publication, Hector Magazine, Koen Hauser worked with a fellow artist, the collagist Ruth van Beek, to produce a fashion shoot with a political charge. Hector is the follow up to last year's Sebastian Magazine. Dazed Digitial spoke to Koen Hauser about working with commercial publications, collaborating with van Beek and the unexpected fame of his graduate project.
Dazed Digital: Do you think studying social sciences impacted the way you frame your pictures and the subjects you choose?
Koen Hauser: My choice to study psychology was closely related to my interest in the ways that people perceive and interpret the world around them, both psychologically and physically. I do like to play around with that. For me good art does something to the emotional state the viewer is in.
DD: Your work isn't limited by genre, style or medium - what do you think ties your work together and is your signature style?
Koen Hauser: I like situations and images that invoke both positive and negative responses, which often results in work that is aesthetically, quirky and even alienating. In this state of wholeness, e.g. where the dark and light meet, I think an open space emerges in which we can experience our inner worlds beyond the visual. In this sense my aesthetic and visual style are catalysts for a deeper understanding and awareness. At least, they are for me. If people just like the way a photograph looks or are intrigued by my themes and choices, that is OK too!
DD: Why did you get involved in this project?
Koen Hauser: First of all it was great to have absolute freedom in the way the clothing would be represented. Secondly, it was the perfect opportunity and theme to work with my colleague Ruth van Beek. She makes very strong and fascinating work that I truly admire. I think this kind of work deserves a place in the contemporary stream of fashion imagery. In both the conception and practical part of the job we closely worked together but it is the genius of Ruth to make the final combinations of found imagery and photography. For me it was very inspiring to bring this kind of collaboration to the world of fashion, it wasn't about showcasing my own signature, but to consider new and stimulating ways to present fashion imagery.
DD: Do you think it is important that artists, like yourself, who work both within the commercial and artistic forums, showcase their work in publications like Hostem's magazine?
Koen Hauser: Yes, very much indeed. As I said, it is a good thing we have complete freedom in making our work. In this sense it is an incubator for new work and a mediator between the art and fashion worlds.
Read our piece on Hostem's Sebastian Magazine HERE