In his series “Animals being Human” photographer Darren Holmes explores the dichotomy between instinctual, animal life, and the rationalizing civilized mind, leaving a lot of meaning intentionally left to the viewer’s imagination. With a playful absurdity, Holmes depicts nearly nude and paint-splattered men and women captured in strange positions. The photographer seeks to unravel our innate drives and behaviors from the constructions and constraints of intellect conditioning. For more of his works visit Holmes website www.darrenholmes.com and check out the interview below.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I would go with “seeking instability”…in one’s self I mean. From there you find what you, I, we’re really made of.
Whom do you look up to?
Almost everyone…people who have lived, anyone who has told stories without ornamentation, style. I’m always trying to get away from work that is nice to look at, and admire those who are able to create simple, bold statements.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
I’ve been more inspired by than contributed to, but there are some who have been incredibly generous, aside from private collectors who I won’t name. Every human subject I work with is an inspiration, they believe in the work and pay the highest price, giving their flesh and bodies to the work. Thank you Nathalie, Lydia, Jesse, Mariette, Zaneta…many more.
How did your photographic career start?
I never think of it as a career, more of a way of interpreting. I started when I was a teenager, with my dad’s camera, creating silly dramatic setup shots with my brothers and sister. What made me keep going was this idea that you could create a static visual that might be able to say something beyond the literal-ness of the image.
What was your favourite project and why?
My current work is always what I’m most interested in…my current fixation about animals being human. We are such a duality, with our primal/primate selves, yet this constant attempt to conquer, circumvent, ignore it and pursue this experiment at humanity. We’re all afraid of soil and death and I think we are always trying to outrun our origins.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Do something…anything. Ignore ornamentation and beauty, find the thing that is you and learn about it.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as a photographer?
The only challenge I’ve ever had is myself…struggling through my own ego to get to what’s real, as ugly as it may be. That’s a life thing…which then of course feeds back into how and why I work.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
What can you tell a 21 year old? Nothing…it’s not a bad thing. At 21 you’re supposed to be invincible. I wouldn’t go back with any additional wisdom, I was completely lazy and mentally hedonistic, but when you have limitless time with no boundaries how can you really value it? When resources become constrained, energy…time…only then do things get interesting and we start getting creative.
All images © Darren Holmes