Gabriel Isak is a Swedish artist who started taking care of photography about 12 years ago, the same time he faced depression, discovering that producing images could be a way to express his deepest emotions. The artist began to consider photography as a therapy in 2014, unconsciously exploring the state of depression, inspired by psychology, surrealism and Nordic landscapes.
As he himself states:
“My work is very personal to me, and has been a sort of therapy to combat my own emotions and experiences I’ve had over the years. I want my work to shine light on mental health experiences and the darker and lonelier side of the world that we otherwise never talk about”.
Collater.al asked Gabriel some questions about his project:
Like Magritte, you don’t show subjects faces in your pictures: is there a specific meaning?
My imagery is most of the time anonymous when portraying subjects, often using a symbol to cover them. This is a way to not put identification on the photos I create, but to let the spectator peek into their world and interact with the subject portrayed, and in turn, reflect on their own journey in life.
Do you make your pictures in studio or outside?
I work mostly outside on location 90% of the time. I love to find surreal environments that are minimal-graphic in its aesthetic and treat it as a blank canvas where I place in figures and props in correlation to the environment and create a story. When working in the studio I work in a similar approach where I like to design the studio space with help of graphics where my subject will co-exist in order to tell the story.
Does the prevalence of cold colors have a special meaning?
I have always been naturally drawn to cooler colors like blues and I use it a lot in my work to depict a tranquil atmosphere, often relating it back to themes of melancholia, existentialism, and origins.
Why male characters look like dummies, what are you trying to convey to the viewer?
I want my anonymous figures to be unidentified and without a gender when I create them as I don’t want to put identification on them. To me they represent one part of how I see the inner soul of a human, removing the shell we are surrounded with that identify us and depicts an abstract version of who we are.