PW-Magazine premieres young photographer and film-maker Luca Fuchs’ first narrative short film ‘Davids Hand’. We talked to the director about his conceptual Leitmotif, his creative process and upcoming projects.
Vienna-based, German artist Luca Fuchs is a maniac workaholic when it comes to his love for photography and film-making. His photographic œuvre contains shootings for magazines such as Intersection, Paper Mag, Vice U.S. or High Snobiety, wherefore he produced a series with Yung Hurn. In 2015, during a stay in Berlin, Luca assisted and collaborated with photography and film icon Matt Lambert.
Back in Vienna he constantly shapes his own style and artistic identity while staging his predominately male models in his fashion, portrait and lifestyle photography series.
Focussing on topics like youth and subculture, his works cross the line between harsh (un)realities and dreamy, dark-coloured, surrealistic scenes. His first ever narrative movie ‘Davids Hand’ similarly follows this aesthetic.
The short film pictures Alexander, a handsome boy in his early 20ies, who seemingly groundless becomes absorbed in a violent frenzy. From then on, the portrait of a disturbed young man reveals itself to us. Falling from one daydream into the next, the borders of the real and his psychotic view of the world start to collide and lead us into an ecstatic absurdity.
What is the linking element in your work?
I’m generally interested in creating atmosphere driven scenarios, where inner and outer worlds submerge. For my photographic work, I often think about some kind of storyline first. This process allows me to create a space within which I start to work intuitively. Photographing people, to me, has a very natural side to it, where you just start to flow with your eye and the energy of people and situations.
My filming process differs, as it requires a state of doing deeper research within myself. By writing down my dreams and fragmentary pictures I try to conquer the affections of my mind. It all looks very snippy to me at first but by connecting my own thoughts over a certain period, I start to paint a bigger picture, which leads to my characters and the world they live in. Right now, I circle around the topics of narcissism, trauma and youth.
Watching your work, you see a lot of young and attractive models. What does youth and beauty mean to you? Could you define specific criteria on how you cast?
I don’t think beauty would be the right term for what I’m searching for. There has to be a moment within a face or character with whom I can identify myself with. I need to be interested in including him or her in my own world. Being young myself, there are many issues around youth that concern me and evidently, they influence my work. Right now, I find myself within a place, where my work wanders on a thin line between being extremely staged and still including some authentic moments.
You are shooting with both, professional actors / models and amateurs – what is more interesting to you?
It really depends. You can build a relationship with someone as soon as you turn on your camera and you can end it as soon the shoots done. But I definitely prefer working with someone I already created a bond with before. Most of the time, these people are friends or street cast. It’s nice to build these kind of creative energies with people, where both of you take something out of it. Especially the absurd scenarios, which appear during shootings, are perfect for breaking the ice and building long lasting memories. To me, they’re more worth than a single picture.
David Hands is your first narrative short movie, with quite a big crew and cast behind it. How did that work out for you?
Since we had almost no budget, we had to get a team that was enthusiastic about the project. In the beginning, you really need to convince people to spend their time and energy on this. In our case, this resulted in a very vivid participation of almost everyone involved when it came to the creative process. Before filming I reached a certain point where I felt like “Fuck, how should I do this on my own?”, but after reaching out and getting to know new people, you feel very happy. It kind of proves you, you’re capable of doing this and, in this case, it felt like a big relief. I enjoyed it very much.
The story, with all its surrealistic, sometimes operatic scenes and actions of the protagonist leave the viewer in the dark. Can you give us more insights into Alexander’s mind and situation?
Alex is someone who has a very clear idea about himself and how the world around him works. His disaster is reality. As we all, he lives within a world he cannot fully control. With a narcissistic mind-set in which he sees himself as the master manipulator, every little piece around him that doesn’t act and react in a way he wants it to, feels like trauma.
In his black/white view he feels the urge to always turn things into one side or another. If he feels he can’t win the world, which really is like a big stage to him, by impressing and ruling it – he claims its attention by going down in it. Altogether, he’s very childlike to me.
You always seem to be involved in many projects, already thinking about new things – what are you working on right now and what can we expect in the near future?
Right now, I’m in preproduction of another narrative short film. It will be an essayist story about guilt. Located somewhere between dark jazz and teenage romance…
Also, I’m speaking to people about directing a music video soon. I’ve always been interested in the creative freedom of this medium. Starting out with one idea, which can be a simple movement and transforming it into a stream of ecstasy.
Photos by Luca Fuchs
Text by Phil Koch
Edited by Lisa Kadiera