Photographer Nadav Kander has been the highest ranking creative in Lürzer's Archive for over a decade, with 105 campaigns published to date. He talks about the best creative work on the scene and how America reacted to his 'Obama's People' project.
Image: Nadav in Aral Sea (right), photographed by Felicity McCabe
What are you working on at the moment?
I have been working with the New York Times on a portfolio, which will be out in early March I think. I'm also getting ready for a show of my life-sized nudes - a series of nudes of men and women which try to ignore the common perceptions of beauty.
What do you think is the best piece of creative work around at the moment?
I'm pretty sure I'm going to be inspired by the Lucien Freud exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery - that is going to be amazing. I like the film "Drive".
I also like Terence Malick's "The Tree of Life". I was very heartened to see film moving away from a way of storytelling that I think has not changed in a long time and seeing that film - it was so much to do with the subconscious and dark side of one's personality and I enjoyed seeing a film about sensory and feeling. It was made in a similar way that I like to approach my stills.
What festivals will you make sure you attend this year?
I will be judging photography for D&AD Awards this year. The kind of festivals I go to are more photographic, like Paris Photo.
Name a piece of criticism you've received.
I think one of the projects I did which seemed to polarise people was "Obama's People", which I did for the New York Times special inauguration issue. I shot 52 portraits of Barack Obama's top advisers, aides and members of his incoming administration. People who understood art got the references, but there was a large section of the American public who was quite negative. There were a lot of blogs and criticism.
As John Hegarty said - bad press is also good press, but I did take it to heart. My work is so incredibly knitted and sewn into my life so I take it really seriously. I'm generally lucky enough for most of my work to be really admired and spoken well of. In the same breath, "Obama's People" was seen incredibly widely. [Read more in the New York Times Special Inauguration Issue]
What projects do you like to be involved in?
I would say I do so many different genres of work. There are lots of different types of advertising I would like to do. I would love to do things that involve collaboration with the possibility of a great outcome - collaboration with both agency and client.
Who would you want to play you in a film?
I think Vincent Gallo or Bill Murray.
Who do you admire most in your industry?
I admire great art directors and writers who with so much heart and positivity go after their ideas and in trying to get them through are so often being thwarted. I admire the persistence and hoops they have to jump through.
There needs to be less fearfulness from clients and more trust in good creators doing good work. There is less of a need for the lowest common denominator to understand every ad and be part of every ad. Advertising in magazines would altogether be of a far higher standard if creatives were just trusted more.
Who is your dream collaboration?
The reason I love commercial work is because it is collaboration. It is something I really enjoy. A lot of people think I'm doing my own art projects all the time, but I love doing editorial and advertising work on all sorts of budgets.
What skills do you look for in up and coming talent?
I think people that do their work well and consistently, echoing their own aesthetic. And a positive attitude.
What was the last song you listened to?
It was "Sugar on the Tongue" by Talking Heads.
Nadav Kander first appeared in Lürzer's Archive Vol. 5/1986. See his past work here.
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