Jo Schwab is a Berlin-based photographer. His portraits, often nude, are always arresting and captivating, and a book of his stunning portraits, Habitual Grace, is due to be published later this year.
We managed to briefly catch up with Jo and chat about his work. A snapshot of the conversation is below, and the full dialogue can be read in Issue One.
What are you trying to achieve in creating erotic photography?
To create something that is satisfying to myself and my audience in the best way possible.
How do you rationalise the difference between what is erotic and what is pornographic?
Pornography is simply functional and focused to one point. Erotic photography is more subtle, complex aesthetically, but there is no inherent difference between both and it is always up to the beholder.
Do the models express themselves freely on set, or do you set out with a clear vision of the result that you hope to achieve?
I like to work with my models as if I were working with actors. I’m the director, and I have quite strict ideas of what I want and I explain it precisely to my models before the shoot. Thereafter it is a cooperative job. My role is to give the models the perfect circumstances to express themselves freely in order to reveal my ideas perfectly and to combine creativity to something unexpected.
What is the role of nudity in your photography? Do you think that because the naked body still offers a capacity to shock, that it can detract from other photographic qualities?
Even if the majority of my pictures shows nudity, I consider them to be portraits. I’m not really interested in nakedness as an end in itself or as a plain aestheticism or eroticism. A naked body is nothing by itself without the emotionality than you can only discover in somebody’s face.
You can check out more of Jo Schwab’s photography at his website