For Arcin Sagdic, photography is like toiling in the science lab

His images fuse the perceptible with the imperceptible, fascination and experimentation. With multiple Numéro covers to his name, his unique visual approach has found a home in the pages of fashion magazines. They are fashion images–or aren’t they? For Germany-born Arcin Sagdic, science and philosophy are tools to abstract that very question. They are for intents and purposes. The results are so cool the answer didn’t matter much. Now as he introduces new work we wanted to know about the guy who talked more about the laboratory or photographing convicts still in prison than not. Also, what a pigeon has got to do with it all. Read the interview below.

Can you briefly tell me about yourself?
I was born in Hannover, Germany and grew up in many different places across the country. Currently based between Berlin and London. 
When I was a kid I started writing a diary where I was trying to merge self philosophical life discovery with random scientific theories I watched in documentaries. Pretty much until today I realize that’s a common thread. Nowadays I’m more into a specific kind of popular science which is for me easily referable to the art I do.

What are the modern challenges of being a photographer?
At any point the biggest challenge is only yourself–which I believe was a similar challenge ancient photographers had as well.

When I was a kid I always wanted to work in a laboratory and have a desk with books. What I envisioned back then became reality with my photography. Working with negatives, modifying them with chemicals in the lab and getting inspired by scientific approaches I read.

You mentioned your photographic approach went through a change–how important was this for your craft?
It was less a change as it was more a realization or self honesty that made me reset my portfolio. Consistency is good for a project, but nothing I like to build a whole vision on. When I was a kid I always wanted to work in a laboratory and have a desk with books. What I envisioned back then became reality with my photography. Working with negatives, modifying them with chemicals in the lab and getting inspired by scientific approaches I read.

Is there anything you had to unlearn to improve?
I have constantly been unlearning tiny habits in order to improve my main focus. Artistry obviously is a give and take.

What’s the most truly unrelated thing that has inspired you or left an impression on your work?
The story of a romance between Nikola Tesla and a pigeon. It shows how deep a thought or perception can be–perhaps too deep for others to be able to grasp.

Can fashion shoots be as personal as, say, personal work?
I think every single photograph is personal already – you see something through your own cognition and eyes in a specific way that you try to capture. This all sounds very personal to me. If you mean if there can be an artistic impact in fashion photography? 
Yes, totally. We can see it everywhere people are moaning for content and depth which has changed the industry so rapidly within only a few years. I think we all have a very interesting decade ahead of us.

I think we all have a very interesting decade ahead of us.

Your favourite kind of subject or person? Any examples?
Werner Heisenberg was one of the pioneers merging two contrasting subjects (physics and philosophy) to one clear outcome. There are so many people that inspire me.

Speaking of ones that you’ve taken, or would want to take: What makes a great photograph to you?
Content which can be personal, society related or what ever motivates you to go out and capture this moment.

Can you give me an elevator pitch for your fantasy project?
Perceiving a photograph’s rawness and approaching to the photograph’s nature without artificial impacts except the chemical ones then modify it again and again until you see what you want to see.

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