Interview: The Ominous, Photographic Stories of Artist, Jan Pypers

The best storytelling uses mystery to it’s advantage. And the best storytellers, rather than simply tell the story, write in a way that visually shows the story, painting the scene in the reader’s imagination. In the following photographic artworks, Belgium artist Jan Pypers captures dark moments at an exact time and place in an unknown, but realistic story and uses cinematic effects, like building miniature sets, to control the elements of an ominous stage.

The artworks are so peculiar and perfectly executed, we had to speak to the artist behind the lens and imaginary curtain to meet the person responsible. Below is our interview with artist, Jan Pypers.

Interview with artist, Jan Pypers

Q: Your photographs are like beautiful scenes from a sometimes ominous movie. Which movie would you add the below image as a scene to further the mood or further complicate the plot?

A: No particular movie, but I’ve always been more inspired by film than by photography. I like directors who can create a real atmosphere next to a story: Spielberg, Wes Anderson, Lynch, Christopher Nolan, …

Q: Do most of your images take place in a creative set? It’s hard to tell because they are so crisp, yet detailed.

A: Not all of them. I make scale models of different sizes but also lifelike decors. I also use forced perspective a lot to combine miniature objects with real landscapes.

Q: Where would you love to go for a creative photography shoot that you haven’t been yet?

A: Everywhere in the world there are beautiful, enchanting places, but they also often provide cliché images. Many good pictures can be made around the corner. In addition, all landscapes and settings in my photos are not fully existing. I always try to create something new.

Q: If there was a movie set you could have joined to take photographs, what movie set?

A: The first Star Wars movie from the 70’s. Everything had to be invented.

Q: What inspires you to create an image or set? Is there a catalyst/inspiration that starts your creative process?

A: I usually start from an existing memory, mostly from my youth, something I saw or experienced and then try to give that reality a slight twist because, throughout the years we color our own memories. That way I transform a memory or a feeling in an image. As a child for example I once was face to face with an enormous wild deer in a forest. At that moment, I really felt a connection. I felt scared but the moment was also very beautiful.

Q: Your sets are self-made? It seems like a lot of extra work although it lends to a more controlled atmosphere and image. What is it about making sets that you enjoy? Is it all about the end image?

A: I create everything myself but sometimes I really hate making sets. My limited room, financial possibilities and skills mostly don’t match with my unlimited ideas. It’s always a hassle. Can’t tell how many work I’ve thrown away.

Q: Have you been more drawn to cinematic production as inspiration or still photography?

A: Cinema for sure.