Jessica Schwarz and Tiago da Silva are the two halves that make up the unique whole that is apricotberlin. Their work blazes with a strangely alien familiarity, visually striking and pleasing to the eye in all the ways you’d expect, but with a tinge of otherness that you can’t quite place without investigating a little bit more into their artistic process. Take cinemagraphs, for example: never heard of them? You will, and trust us when we say, you’ve never seen anything quite like them before.
Apricotberlin launched in July 2015 as a production house for “cinematic, raw and youthful photography and cinemagraphy”, achieving international recognition barely a year into operation and attracting the attention of some of the world’s biggest, most culturally influential brands.
Unsurprisingly, Jess and Tiago are each as interesting and left of field as their apricotberlin creations would suggest. While the Racquet & TAX team are considering stealing the phrase “cliche nightmare”, coined by Tiago, as the name of a rock band, we were genuinely terrified by the worst nightmare Jess has ever had. While the duo behind apricotberlin contend that it takes years for creative people to find their voice, it’s clear they’ve found theirs – and we can’t wait to hear more.
Let’s get weird with the R&T interview…
What’s the weirdest thing you do?
Tiago: I often try to shoot bubblegum onto or into self-selected targets. I never miss…
Jess: I always water my flowers to death – I am a bad person.
Paste a link to the best video on the internet.
What’s the worst nightmare you’ve ever had?
Tiago: Cliche nightmare – I went to school only wearing underwear for 5 days in a row.
Jess: When I was little, my dad used to play this really violent computer game. In my dream, the creatures come out of the screen and kill my entire family.
What IS your worst nightmare?
Tiago: Shitty clients.
Jess: Shitty models.
What were you like in high school?
Tiago: I was bored. A dreamer… and barely there.
Jess: I was an A student, but not a smug!
List one of your favourite quotes:
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain.
List three dream jobs:
Tiago: Director of Photography, archeologist, professional football player.
Jess: Ornithologist, architect, fashion designer.
Tell us about your creative process.
We always start with a concept and location scouting. We want our photos to have a cinematic feel to it, so more often than not we seek inspiration from movies.
What do you do in your free time?
We are movie geeks, so in our free time we like to binge-watch shows on Netflix or go to the movies. We also love to have a good workout.
Last one: what would you say to beginners in your field?
- Buy a prime lens. 35mm , 50mm, or 85mm. None of that zoom crap!
- Go outside. Just shoot. BUT, if you have the money, start with a film camera. This way you start to pre-visualise how you want your photo to look and become much more thoughtful about hitting that shutter button. Because: every exposure = money.
- Youtube and creative live are your best friends. Learn everything about the history and art of photography, Learn how to master Photoshop and Lightroom. We learned all of this on Youtube and Creativelive.
- Try to imitate the work of your favorite photographers. Study their photos. Of course you want to develop your own aesthetic but let’s be real, it takes years for most photographers to develop a unique style.