Goran Turnsek

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Goran Turnšek presents daily movements as performance, challenging boarders between performance art and photography. He is often using performance only to be photographed.  The time as well as the relationship between the body and the space in which it is located are key elements. His portraits are recreation of former identities most of the time showing the inability to create somebody’s identity. 

Goran has won dance prizes and was shortlisted by various photography awards such as Unseen Dummy Award and Selection of Dutch photography. His work has been published in the British Journal of Photography, Volkskrant magazine, Fotodigi and Photocaptionist, among others.

Goran’s work is currently being exhibited at the Fotoacademie Amsterdam as the Expositie in Huis and he’s recently been nominated as a contender for the 2019 Portrait Award at LensCulture.

In his photography he used sequences, diptychs and loose photographs he finds essential to tell his story. He often plays with obscurity and this refers to both the anonymity of the person and the anonymity of the source of the subject. Topics to be found in his work are identity, preservation en impermanence.  His photography publications, photo books, videos, expositions and performance are an integral part of his work.

Slovenian photographer; performance; conceptual photography; performance before the camera;

His photography is focused on the art of architecture, typically emphasising building lines and geometric shapes and occasionally including human elements for scale.

Goran speaks to GPNL

How would you describe the kind of photography that you do?

Portrait photographer, I graduated from the Photo Academy that was in the direction of portraiture. Before that I did dance, so I put myself in front of the camera which was an interesting because I could feel the photography more. Before the photo was a flat image for me which I didn’t feel that much, but once I put myself there, I see there’s a stage in front of the camera. Also later I learned there are more photographers that are doing that. That’s kind of a performance that I integrate from my past.

How do you incoporate emotion or a sense of motion in your photography?

The way I place myself, I use body language, posture, holding my hands like this, it gives a certain emotion that I want to express. Sometimes I’m aware of them, sometimes I’m searching for unconscious emotions, things that we hold in our body, or thing that things I’m holding myself to express or let go. It’s a new word that I use now – Charged bodies, our bodies store a lot of memories from before that we hold in, or you can express through your body.

What do you enjoy most about photography?

Photography gives me the freedom to capture something that doesn’t last long.  That’s the most facinating part about photography because as a dancer, it’s very ephemeral, it lasts an evening but with photography we can hold on to something. We can capture the motion, capture the memory, you can store it and share it.

What do you find the hardest thing to do in your work?

Making this network around myself, you need a studio, maybe an assistant, some others to help you to get out, but I’ve realise I can throw everything away and just take my camera and go to the house where my grandmother used to live and just put things together and make things my own.

Nowadays, they say an artist, you have to be a manager, it’s a company that you’re running. It’s a business kind of approach, which is always a challenge (laughs..).

How do you go about choosing a subject matter for your photography?

The subject developed I use developed slowly through my academy years, The subject is my body and my family stories. They’re so imprinted in my body, in my mind that I have to get them out.

Sometimes I go to exhibitions to bounce off, but then I come to make them more personal. There was an exhibition where I used the main topic of dance, the other one was more personal of acting and identities of my family. These are the 2 baselines that I use.  

In your personal life, what kind of photography do you enjoy the most?

At home, I’ll make portrait photos just to practice. I’ll also follow my son for his football to capture the movement, more as a hobby. It’s still fun, I like the technique. I’m not so much interested in the beauty the camera can produce, like some people really like the standard beauty, is that a word? Like beautiful flowers or sunsets, some people like that but I also try to see how close to a subject that you don’t know. You first approach them and talking to them and then to ask if you can make a photo of them. Some you ask, some you don’t.

Who are some of you favourite photographers past or present?

One of the biggest inspirations is Cindy Sherman. She recreates personalities and the photographer I indentify the most with. I like Francis Bacon, sometimes I also do Tryptics, Maybridge who also uses sequences.Anton Corbijn, he made a video for dipeche mode, he’s challenged the way you can present the musicians. I can do that much more for the dance world. The way they do dance photography is quite rigid, there’s much more we can do with it.

What cameras and lighting gear did you start with and what are you currently using?

Canon 5D Mark II, first I was fixed with the 50mm lens, more documentary but for the latest project I use a Panasonic Lumix Lx-5 for selfies.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest project?

I started it last year, the house where I was born was being sold, so I wanted to make a project about my grandmother. The story about the things she used to do, the things she left behind, what she used to wear. So I wear her clothes, which is a totally new experience for me? I always cry when I think about her, it’s very emotional for me, I had a very strong connection with her. I wasn’t sure whether or not I should play her or if I should use my mum or some other family member but then I realised I can express her more how I feel her. 

Me wearing my grandmother’s black blouse while holding two wine glasses on a silver tray

So eventually the project was more about femininity. What is feminine and how men are afraid to show femininity in general. We have at the moment a very strong feminist movement but actually it’s more women who want to be masculine, femininity is still percieves as less than being male. It’s also about cross-dressing and the freedom that I have playing her while being here. I don’t think if I was in Slovenia, I would go as far. Plus, I had an opportunity to explore my relationship with my mother.

What advice can you offer budding photographers?

Don’t be afraid to open up and show yourself and who you are.


Find out more about Goran and his work on http://gturn.net