The anonymous photographer talks typography, nude models, and a travelling global exhibit
For the last 5 years, Sans Serif (AKA @sansserifit on Instagram) has been making the real seem surreal with his human letter photography. The anonymous artist who has been touring “Once Upon a Type” all over the world is showing his work for the first time in Tel Aviv. As he prepares for his solo exhibit this weekend, he explains the origins of the project, what it takes to get these amazing shots and what he plans to do in zero-gravity
How did @sansserifit start?
As a graphic designer who loves typography, I've been collecting old signs letters for many years: metal, wood, neon glass and plastic, from the 40's to the 80's, saved from recycling or bought at flea markets in Tokyo, Brazil, London, Portugal, Argentina, Tel Aviv and all over the world. One day, while moving the letters around the house, I started to notice the connection between them and my body. How they hung or lay became a new structure, creating a new hybrid of choreography and typography. The first photo session with a dancer from Berlin was published online in photography galleries, and I instantly started receiving messages from dancers who liked the concept and who asked to be part of the "project" (which wasn't one at that point). 5 years later, more than 90 sessions with people from over 25 countries and I’m still discovering new ways to fuse the body and the letters.
How has the project evolved over the last 5 years?
The professional dance and movement people that I work with each wish to push their limits and create something that no one has done before. I’m in constant search of new locations, movement skills (rope, pole, yoga, acrobatics, contortionists), letters, and image editing techniques.
What are the wildest photo shoot experiences you have had?
Shooting inside a jet engine at 5am, watching a trapeze acrobat flying above me while holding a huge letter, working in the coldest, wettest or hottest days and being a nude model myself. Not exactly in that order.
How did this world tour of your art happen?
A year ago I was contacted by a photography gallery in Rotterdam to create my first solo exhibition there. The gallery is part of a global art partnership called "Curator Love" which invited me to take part in an international photography exhibition together with artists from Mexico, Morocco, USA and South Korea. It started in Rotterdam and Tel Aviv, and will be traveling to Los Angeles, Mexico City, London and Hong Kong.
What are your favorite fonts?
As my artist name suggest, 'Sans Serif', which means clean fonts with no decoration.
What is your dream letter to photograph someone with? From anywhere, from any sign or anything in the world...
My next goal is to work underwater. After that I guess that shooting one of NASA's 1975 worm logo letters at zero gravity in space would be awesome.
“Once Upon a Type” May 25-30. Gloss Gallery, 14 Levontin St, Tel Aviv