What does a superhero do after a long day of saving their city from criminal clowns and ruthless gangs of outlaws? They call it a day, enjoy a glass of cognac in a stylish hotel bar, smoke cigars, maybe even read the newspaper. They deserve a little leisure after a rough day full of challenges and merciless fights - even heroes need some rest and relaxation. At least that’s the story Sebastian Magnani’s photographs depict - a superhero without superpowers who overcomes his opponents through sheer will and ingenuity. He may sometimes need a break, but his brooding demeanor and elegance always remain. Magnani skillfully captures the aura of the mysterious vigilante and places it within the context of our everyday reality, thus colliding two worlds with surprising and inspirational results.
In Magnani’s photos, heroic figures become relatable characters. The artist doesn't portray his subjects in civilian clothes – instead, he depicts them in costume. Through this approach, Magnani portrays a charming and unique hero who behaves very differently from what you might expect.
Sebastian Magnani developed an interest in photography while completing an apprenticeship in media design. In 2011, after 5 years of creative work at an advertising agency, he decided to turn his passion into his profession. Since then, he has worked as a photographer in Zurich and has implemented various artistic projects. The works shown here were inspired by a conversation he once had about which superheroes are the coolest.
born in the canton of Valais in Switzerland
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Working as a photo artist since 2011
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Lives and Works in Zürich
Picasso once said, "You don't make art, you find it". Where do you find your art?
Personally, I believe art emerges from the accumulation of experiences and impressions, which are subconsciously stored. After a chemical reaction - felt like the big bang out of pure nothingness - an idea suddenly emerges and manifests itself in the form of life or a work of art.
From concept to creation: How do you approach your work?
I always start with a sketch. Then I search the internet for the best possible location and explore the site in person, at which point I determine the best time of day to photograph it. Afterwards, I contact the respective team and organize additional elements if necessary. In the meantime, I book one of my models – sometimes even myself or my girlfriend. Then we shoot on location, and I choose the perfect image from the hundreds of photographs we take. The image is then retouched in London before some final fine-tuning and experimenting with mood and color.
What’s your favorite book?
I like variety and diversity. In the past, I read every book by Hermann Hesse, but lately I’ve been enjoying the simplicity of Robert Seethaler’s works.
Which artist would you like to have coffee with and what would you talk about?
There are so many interesting artists: Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Kaws, David La Chapelle. Having watched Jeff Koons' masterclass and seeing Damien Hirst talks about his work extensively on Instagram, I would love to exchange a few words with David La Chapelle - to share in his experiences, feel his energy, listen to his perspective and just spend quality time together.
How did you develop an interest in art?
I have always felt the need to be completely independent. I used to work as a freelance photographer, but now, as an artist, I no longer depend on clients looking quick jobs. I can take the time needed to create my best possible work - not a week or a month, but as long as it takes. I can take everything into my own hands: the when, where, and the how. For me, it is a near-perfect life. The satisfaction is much greater because I rarely have to compromise; every work is 100% me. I seek to create things that will last for years, decades, and hopefully centuries, even in our fast-paced society. Every person who has one of my images on their wall is a part of me and I am a part of them. In my opinion, having this support from my fellow human beings is the greatest gift in the world.
Who in your life influences you the most?
Definitely my girlfriend, since I spend most of my time with her and I always ask her for advice, and my friends with whom I meet every now and then to exchange ideas.
If you had a time machine, where would you go?
I’m a huge Matrix and Blade Runner 2049 fan, so I would be interested to see what the world looks like in the future, whether and how it has evolved or regressed.
What is your greatest passion, aside from art?
I love entertainment like movies and music. In summer I go hiking in the mountains as much as possible. I recently got my first motorcycle - I love to ride it around, unwind and enjoy just being offline, stepping on the gas, cruising around bends and exploring Switzerland by bike.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have a list of over 50 new ideas for a series of photographs and would love to shoot them across the world – ideally with an accompanying book. However, I am still planning and determining how and with whom I could best accomplish this. While I have many other project ideas, superheroes are my current focus - I’m looking for a way to combine these subjects with time travel.