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PORTFOLIO

15.09.2015

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Around 100 years after Jean-Jacques Rousseau expressed his Theory of Natural Human, the German Life Reform movement took the French philosopher’s socio-political metaphor quite literally: “Back to Nature!” was the name of the game, bringing with it alternative types of clothing, eating, and healing, as well as the pleasure of cavorting naked around the countryside. Author Hermann Hesse was probably the best known follower of a leisure activity known as naked climbing. With other names, other motivations and in other countries, the concepts the Life Reform movement stood for are still in fashion today. “Just like in the late 19th early 20th centuries, it’s not only young people who are drawn to nature, escaping from industry, mass consumerism, social networking and responsibilities. While researching this trend, I stumbled across an anonymous quote: ‘Disappointed by society, young people fleeing to the wilderness’, which is a perfect description for the series,” Käss explains, talking about the long-term project for which he has so far travelled to three continents, taking pictures in Africa, America and Europe. His constant companions on his journeys, a Leica R4 and Summicron-R 50mm f/2.

The images show impressive landscapes where naked people lounge around, climb, stride about or simply relax. On each set, the London-based, German photographer’s protagonists are artists, models or colleagues. “I choose the film and positions for my protagonists according to the surroundings and light conditions. My goal is to use contrast to convey the best possible atmosphere. If the protagonists are barely recognisable at times, it’s a welcome side effect aimed at keeping the viewer glued to the picture. However, escape and freedom are always at the forefront of my work.”

Cornelius Käss

After finishing his studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich (Bachelor of Arts & Photography), Käss (*1988) started out assisting international fashion, beauty and celebrity photographers, one of whom was Rankin. Since 2012, London has been at the centre of his work as well as the starting point for his trips. In addition to personal projects, Käss concentrates on fashion, beauty and portrait photography.

www.corneliuskaess.com
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