Cedric Christopher Merkli
Swiss photographer Cedric Merkli likes pushing the envelope. His provocative photography heightens both the senses and the mind. Dabbling in multimedia, Merkli is both a photographer and videographer. He graduated from the Zurich School of F + F Design and Media with a degree in art and media. The F+F stands for “form and farbre” which translates from German to shape and color. These aspects do not go unnoticed in Merkli’s work. He captures emotion filled moments by paying close attention to the lighting, positioning and intent. His photography has been published as well as exhibited throughout Switzerland, his home country. Merkli’s photography hits you uneasy, raw and daring. See his full portfolio here.
How did you start your career as a photographer and videographer?
During my childhood I was no big fan of school. For my finals I tried in vain to get my teachers to agree to let me do a small photo exhibition as my finishing project.
So, I organized my own personal project and the beginning of my career outside of school. Even though I only had a few photos in my portfolio, I searched for a gallery that would show my pictures by explaining my situation. I soon got lucky and spent the rest of my mandatory months at school taking photos. I took pictures of life outside, pictures of odds and ends, and later on photos of people.
A year later fashion photographer Adriano Biondo, the dad of an old school friend of mine, got interested in my work and offered me the job of being his assistant for a while.
The passion for the moving picture, or video, came to me about two years ago. Since then it belongs to my every day life like photography. Focusing on fashion and portraits.
When you’re shooting, what elements do you look for to achieve the “perfect” shot?
It depends on what the production is about.
A friendly and motivated atmosphere is a must. It builds up trust between all people at the set and makes it possible to getting the shot we’re looking for. Depending on the size of the production, we sometimes work at my place instead of a studio. There is one room that I use as an office / studio / living room / workplace. Especially for “New Faces” I prefer to work in the warmth of an apartment than in an uninviting studio.
To capture a certain situation or atmosphere I feel this needs to be felt where and when the shooting takes place. For example, when I have to shoot a party scene I will contact my friends that own a bar and we’ll go shooting there (socialising is one important point in photography). You get to know every kind of human being and will be able to make better decisions when you have to choose the perfect model for any kind of work.
Generally, I prefer to work with the easiest assets I can get my hands on. If the picture needs something like a Retro-look for instance, then I will use my Yashica instead of digitally altering the picture afterwards to look older.
Your photography is striking, whether it is a simple portrait or a more elaborate concept. What emotions do you wish to evoke with your photography?
In my work, the face, the character and aesthetic are the main focus point. In the moment of photography I search for the picture of the uncontrolled body, the detached object, the authentic aesthetic of the natural facial expression.
There is nothing better in photography than showing how things were.
Image-based the focus lies on the realistic, authentic documentation of the emotion in the moment of the creation.
I found a lot of your work to be very bold and often seductive. How would you describe your aesthetic?
Natural aesthetic in its raw beauty.
The Blind Paradise collection has a very different feeling than most of your other work. Can you tell us about your inspiration behind it?
The Blind Paradise collection was a project for a group exhibition in the Corner College in Zurich. The title of the exhibition “Under the influence” is about natural every day, as well as unnatural, manipulations.
The project deals with people who have been born blind or lost their eyesight during their growing up. My work examines the virtual image of paradise that blind people have, who cannot be directly influenced by visual effects or have virtually no visual recollection of their surroundings.
The imagination to go through life without eyesight was something unimaginably strange for me. I wanted to devote myself to this topic, as I could combine my passion of creating and installing a different way of presentation of my work with the basic idea of this project.
Your photography mostly revolves around human subjects as opposed to objects or scenery. What makes working with a live subject more appealing to you?
The uniqueness of a personality is the motivation for the portrait. Only using gesture and aesthetic of the facial expression and the posture of the body to create the perfect picture is the main goal and the fun of it all. With the body of a person I have an enormous freedom when it comes to the design of the picture. Fashion photography on the other hand allows for a combination of human, nature, architecture and nearly every other photographic category and even so the human body, in particular the fashion is the centre of it all.
If you weren’t working in this field, what other passions would you pursue?
The visual perception is essential for me and is therefore the daily playground of the photographer. The area of my expertise is widely strewn and always brings me into new fields and scenes that are only waiting to be captured. My work exists, in addition to the bureaucratic side, mainly out of seeing. Working with the photo or video camera is only the final documentation of “the seen”.
Will you be involved in any upcoming exhibitions or events?
Currently I’m working on different national and international personal projects.Therefore, it is not possible to exhibit before the end of 2013.