Radin Badrnia's (@radin_badrnia) journey into digital art and Mextures happened quite unexpectedly and quite fortunately. It's easy to recognize his polished black and white images which drip with contrast. emotions left unspoken and a lingering sense of haunted memories. We found his words to be as complex and intentional as the imagery he creates when we sat down to chat with him about all things photography. Discover more about Radin, his music, his art, and his love of both literature and Mextures!
My name is Radin Badrnia, a 30-year-old Kurdish from Mahabad, West Azarbaijan, Iran. I've earned a Master of Arts in English Literature and I am also a musician and we (my brother Siamak and I) have a band named Pramatma which creates music in the Dark Ambient genre.
About three years ago when we wanted to release our first album, No Exit, I decided to create special cover art for the first time in my life. So I started to learn the basics of photography and editing. Then I discovered Mextures. That's it! Yes! This is all I needed to create special cover art for our music! Then I uploaded this cover art to one of the best curated photography websites, 1X.
I had doubts about my first creation. Is it good or not? Is it true or not? Then my first photo and cover art that I had created (and used Mextures in the final steps) was published and chosen by highly professional curators! I noticed that only 5% of all of the photos uploaded to 1X are published. This has led me to go on creating. I'll go on because, as well known photographer Ansel Adams points out: “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
One thing that I can not live without it is the light. Why am I saying that? I answer this question with a critical point of view by Gilles Deleuze ( French Philosopher):
"Bodies, subjects or points of view are produced through the connection of intensities: the eye meets with light and in this attraction the eye becomes an organ of vision and the light waves become visible. The world we know through relations - the world our eye sees, our ear hears, our mind imagines and our body feels - is the actualization of flows of difference. Light waves become visible when attracted by the eye, but the differences of light waves have other potentials - to be actualized as felt heat, just as sound waves can be visible for a bat who 'sees' through sonar. It is not that there are related points - eye and world - which then meet through affect."
So, with this perspective and of all the crucial factors in photography, nothing is more important than light. Without light (whether natural or artificial) there is no photograph! The central tenants of photography - ISO, shutter speed and aperture - are all focused around controlling the amount of light that enters the camera.
HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?
Social media websites are a great platform for expressing one’s thoughts and opinions. Every news outlet worth its salt has an account on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Like it or not, social media is here to stay. Maybe not as we know it today, but it will continue to be a part of the human existence for many years to come. So it works for me because I can express myself so easily and sell my prints and music to those who want to have it. We can’t afford to unleash our presence on social, it’s as essential as any other thing in our life.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU TRY TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH YOUR WORK?
Yes! Please let me explain my answer firstly by a very good and relevant quotation from Jacques Derrida in his book Without Alibi:
"No event without experience (and this is basically what ‘experience’ means), without experience, conscious or unconscious, human or not, of what happens to the living. It is difficult, however, to conceive of a living being to whom or through whom something happens without an affection getting inscribed in a sensible, aesthetic manner right on somebody or some organic matter. Why organic? Because there is no thinking of the event, it seems, without some sensitivity, without an aesthetic affect and some presumption of living organicity."
So, within this perspective, I am not an exception. I think with visual language, there's something that we can express much better than written language. When we are working from deep sources of imagination or deep emotion, deep memory, there is a kind of resonance that is perhaps stronger and also is often really universal. I have a series of images entitled Faceless'which has been awarded with an Honorable Mention in the 2016 ND awards contest in fine art Conceptual category. This was my description for the Faceless series:
The face is a living presence; it is expression. . . . The face speaks. (Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority, Emmanuel Levinas)
How do you identify yourself? And what is the most important part of your identity? Is it your sex, your race or ethnicity, your sexual orientation, your class status, your nationality, your religious affiliation, your age, your political beliefs? Is there one part of your identity that stands out from the rest, or does your identity change depending on who you’re with, what you’re involved in, where you are in your life?
In Permanent Void is another series of mine that is much more deep, personal and dark for me and it will be best described by a quote from another great writer:
“I want to leave, to go somewhere where I should be really in my place, where I would fit in . . . but my place is nowhere; I am unwanted.” (Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea)
HOW DO YOU GENERALLY APPROACH YOUR EDITING PROCESS FROM START TO FINISH?
It depends on the image but I mainly use Lightroom and more recently Photoshop. I am also using Union to create edits and then for the final step I always use Mextures to create more depth and specific tones for my images.
HOW SPECIFICALLY DO YOU USE MEXTURES IN THAT PROCESS?
As I mentioned, at first I normally begin in Lightroom by adjusting white balance, exposure, contrast, etc. After that, I bring everything to Mextures. Mextures is almost always the last step in my process - much like mastering a song as I do with my music to finalize the song. It really depends on the image and my idea. I start really simple by adding filters and adjustments; to touch up the image and add a specific character. I really love the textures from Radiance, Vintage Gradients and Atmospheric). Sometimes I use one of the black and white formulas and HP5 is my favorite.
FOR YOU, WHAT IS IT ABOUT MEXTURES THAT MAKES IT A VITAL PIECE OF YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
Endless possibilities, unique character and depth. Mextures gave it all to me and that's why I really love Mextures.
PICK TWO OF YOUR FAVORITE PIECES THAT YOU'VE CREATED: WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEM THAT MAKES THEM STAND OUT AS YOUR FAVORITES?
I would choose 'Lost' and 'In Permanent Void'. They have been published on the 1X gallery by curators and have recently achieved the highest popularity( 80%) there. The story behind both of them is very specific and personal to me and Mextures helped me so much in the process of editing. All you see is my pain and traumatic events that I experienced from my childhood until now and I can tell the story by two quotes again.
This is for 'Lost' :
"Incontinent the void. The zenith. Evening again. When not night it will be evening. Death again of deathless day. On one hand embers. On the other ashes. Day without end won and lost. Unseen." (Samuel Beckett, Ill seen Ill said)
This is for 'In Permanent Void' as I mentioned before:
"I want to leave, to go somewhere where I should be really in my place, where I would fit in . . . but my place is nowhere; I am unwanted." (Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea)
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE?
There is no greater feeling of freedom. Getting lost in the moment while creating art is liberating beyond anything else I have experienced. We can find incredible meaning in life by pursuing creative expression. It can be just what we need to conquer internal negativity and conflicts and experience personal growth.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MOST INSPIRED YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY?
IF YOU COULD STEAL CREDIT FOR ONE INSTAGRAM FEED, WHOSE WOULD IT BE?
Peter Lindberg (@therealpeterlindberg). Known for his memorable cinematic images, Peter Lindbergh is recognized as one of the most influential contemporary photographers and I really love his works. In a 2008 interview with art historian Charlotte Cotton, he explained that using black and white photography was really important to creating the supermodel: “Every time I tried to shoot them in colour, because their beauty was close to perfection, it ended up looking like a bad cosmetics advert. With black and white, you can really see who they are. It toned down the commercial interpretation that colour gives. What’s so striking about black and white is how it really helps a sense of reality to come through.”
You can find much more of Radin’s work here!