AmericaDnaFive minutes with Reka Nyari

I’m a New York based fashion photographer and artist. I grew up in Finland and Hungary, and came to NYC to study painting at the age of 17.

Living and working in New York City, Reka Nyari’s practice spans from fashion and fine art photography and videography, to elaborate installation and performance pieces. Oscillating between mischievous eroticism and wistful splendor, her work employs and explores traditional ideals of beauty and gender to portray sexuality from a predominantly female perspective.

Nyari’s images of nude figures are not strictly intended as alluring portraits – while deriving their emotional charge from the familiar motifs of erotic photography, they expand the pictorial vocabulary to the realm of narratives, layering in personal histories and fictitious content. Unapologetically, Nyari embeds luscious and empowered bodies in luminous landscapes or against staged backdrops. Nudity, gesture, gaze, as well as objects become intrinsically linked to the feminine identity.

Born in 1979 in Helsinki, and raised in Finland and Hungary, Nyari came to New York City at the age of seventeen. After studying at The School of Visual Arts, she started modeling and discovered her interest for photography. The cinematography and eccentric narratives of Roman Polanski and David Lynch influence her work as much as the art of Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Miles Aldridge and Cindy Sherman. Her work has been exhibited in numerous galleries in the United States and Europe. She has received awards from prestigious organizations, including first place Winner of International Photography Awards (IPA) 2010, Beauty Pro Category. Her 225 page Monograph titled “Femme Fatale: Female Erotic Photography” is published in 6 languages and sold worldwide. Her commercial client list is extensive and includes Kiki de Montparnasse, Fleur du Mal, RADO Switzerland, AOL, Liz Claiborne, Make Up Forever, DC Comics, Sally Hansen and Ultra Records. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Esquire, Vanity Fair, Tatler, Korean Cosmopolitan, and Vogue. [Official Website]

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Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a New York based fashion photographer and artist. I grew up in Finland and Hungary, and came to NYC to study painting at the age of 17. Since then I traveled around the World as a model,  worked late nights in NYC nightlife, and then unexpectedly found my love for photography. I’ve been shooting full time since 2007.

How did you get interested in photography?

I was an artist painting hyperrealistic paintings, which required me to shoot my subjects for reference…  I  loved it, but always thought that painting was my calling.  Photography seemed so easy and instantly gratifying. Slaving over huge canvasses seemed much more artistic until a friend opened up my eyes and gave me my first photography gig. I’ve been in love with the camera ever since.

Do you artist/photographer inspired your art?

Oh yes! I’m constantly inspired by other artists, photographers, filmmakers, and musicians. Cindy Sherman had a huge influence on getting me started with photography.. Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Richard Avedon are masters that keep inspiring me year by year.

Could you please tell us anything about your technique and creating process?

I often do drawings, research, and moodboards to prepare for my shoots. I currently shoot with Canon 5DMK3 with Canon 85mm f1.2,16-35mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8 lenses. I use Lightroom for archiving and image selection and Adobe Photoshop CS6 for photo editing. I am actually not a  very technical person.. I rely heavily on my feelings and intuition and my connection  with my subjects.

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Describe your ideal photographic situation

Something which makes my heart jump.

How much preparation do you put into taking a photography?

Completely depends on the shoot. Some are purely impulsive, some take weeks or months of prep time. Often more time goes into post production and editing than planning.. but not always.

What’s your useable-to-unusable ratio when you review images from a shoot?

From 1000 images… 500 are usable..  5-10 are good..  and hopefully there’s one freakin’ amazing one in there.

What quick advice do you have for someone who wants to improve his or her photography skills?

Shoot, shoot and shoot. And then edit, edit, edit. Learn retouching. Keep learning. Never stop.

From time to time many photographers find themselves in a creative rut or uninspired to shoot. Does this ever happen to you and if so how do you overcome these phases?

I have never felt uninspired, but more overwhelmed by the workload I have ahead… mainly balancing demanding upcoming shoots with the massive editing and retouching mountain I have piled up. My natural inclination in that case is to sleep late, and have lots of wine… to which I say, do that for a day or two, and then set your alarm for 7am and get to work.

What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?

It has been  busy year.. Besides my fashion clients and editorials, I am working on my next erotic art book, which is taking me all over the US and India. I’m also planning on hosting a art photography workshop in a gorgeous estate in South of Spain in Sept 2014.

To sum it up in my three favorite words: More, more, and more.

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Photo by ©Ryotaro Horiuchi | Japan | Issue#14
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