Into the dark side with Johnny Abbate photography. Have a look at his nudes and read our exclusive interview with him.
Where are you from?
I come from a city where everything is death, parties, hebetude, exhibitions, cemeteries and poignancy. The air of this place is bitter, humid, salty, cruel and helpless and on top of that there’s the dogged, black, barbaric melancholy that eats me and consumes me every time it rains and snows.
What is your website/instagram name?
My Instagram name is johnnyabbate. My website is johnabb.com. But I think the Internet won’t last for long.
Could you tell us a bit about your background? How you interested to make photography?
It was the 1999. I was about to open my car but a kid stole the keys from my hand and ran away. I immediately ran after him and finally after some minutes I was able to stop him and to get my keys back.. and I yelled at him… I was really angry… I yelled something like: “What the hell you think you’re doin’!?”. He answered: “Burning churches and alien tanks against the sky, the world is collapsing but I don’t mind, the body is a cage and kids like to get high, I’m in charge of an army of ants and tonight we’re going to die”… and then he disappeared. My pictures are an attempt to recreate that strange episode.
Do you like to take selfies?
No, but I do it anyway because every time I look at my selfies I hope I’m going to look like the boy in the picture, but then I see my reflection in the mirror and it’s not the same person. What’s that? That’s a skeleton covered in meat and skin, a skull in the head, a wet pulsating brain, unable to love and suffocated by unbalanced neurotransmitters. Who’s that person? What’s in there? He’s always kind with all the neighboors but his smile is creepy and he works all nights in his garage. What’s going on there? Shall we call the police?
How you find the models for your nude shoots?
They find me. Blue boys recognize their blueness into my blueness, like two dogs, and they ask me to join my project. It usually happens in clubs and on social networks. I’m not that kind of combat photographer always looking for models and taking a picture of a new boy every day. I need my time and I’m even quite shy if I have to approach strangers, especially in a club. Luckily I have a list of boys to photograph that will last for the next 5 years and probably they won’t be boys anymore but busy adults, maybe some of them will be already dead in ten years, who knows, it already happened, life is strange.
If you working on an erotic project with someone stranger what do you do to make him feel comfortable?
I ask him some questions.. just to break the ice…something like: “If our body is made up of 60% water, then why do we suffer?”, “Do you take yourself seriously on Sundays?” or “Does your heart shine from the sorrow?”
What is more fun for you, an outdoor or an indoor shooting?
When indoor and outdoor collides, a big explosion occurs and energy is released. That’s more fun for me.
Your photos are most in dark colours, but not sad, so what makes you use dark tones what is normally a connection with sadness?
In my photos something apocalyptic is always about to happen and sadness is irredeemably in the details.
Is there any big upcoming project in this year?
Yes, two. Three weeks ago I had an exciting offer from an art foundation from the other side of the world. I will write it on my website when I will be there. I’m superstitious. Meanwhile I accepted to be in charge of a big army of ants but we need a particular type of keys to start the engine of our starship.