Gabriel Isak | Interview

We had the opportunity to talk with Gabriel Isak about his amazing work and upcoming projects. Read more in our exclusive interview with the artist.

When did you become interested in dreams and psychology?

I gained an interest for dreams and psychology around the same time I faced melancholia about 8 years ago. To me it was a way of gaining better understanding of myself, but also to understand how the human mind works and how to interpret it.

Gabriel Isak - The Illumination in the Dark

‘The Illumination in the Dark’

In your work you present the inner world, yet often in outdoor scenery – in the forest, near the ocean. What is the relationship between the environment, the external world, and the unconscious, internal state you capture in your series?

When I portray the inner world of my characters, I often do so by showing their relationship to the environment they exist in. Whether that is in an indoor environment, ocean environment or a forest environment – it is all about connecting the subject to its surrounding environment, and by combining the two parts together the story is created.

Gabriel Isak - After Life

‘After Life’

The bird seems a recurrent motif, it is also a symbol of nature that usually surrounds the human subjects. Does it guide, protect, interfere with the human characters?

I have used birds as different symbols in my art. For instance in “The Blue Journey” series, it is a symbol of freedom, peace and letting go. However in the series “A Forest Tale” the bird is a symbol for depression and to carry that burden with you.

In “Entities” you create an artificial environment to suggest the unconscious. The series explores different personas, “an abstract representation of one’s self; a reflection of the life within”, as you say. What do you believe lies at the core of self-discovery and understanding the unknown, invisible part inside us?

I believe that if one every discover what lies in the core of self-discovery, then one have come to full understanding of one’s own self. You are then in full control of your own self and have learned to live with your shadow self, as well as your self.

Gabriel Isak - Entities

Gabriel Isak - Entities

Part of the series ‘Entities’

There is a specific chromatic in your photography, with a focus on red – “The Red Line” series, “9 Lives” – and especially blue, present across almost all the series, with a dedicated one – “The Blue Journey”, in addition to the dark-white tones. Do they hold a particular meaning in representing the journey and experiences of the soul?

The blue or monochromatic tones have been used in my work to create a certain mood, a melancholic atmosphere that is tranquil, but that still carries a light in it.

Can you tell us about your recent series “Illusionary Prisms”, which seems quite different in comparison to your previous ones? Please also share some insights regarding current and upcoming projects – will you distance yourself from/continue to explore the surreal, melancholic, serene?

Illusionary Prisms was my first story in which I explored editorial work and incorporated my own style into it. It was also the first time I worked in a collaborative team, which made me grow a lot as an artist. I will continue exploring fashion stories this year, and also create my personal work at the side. But I believe that it is important to challenge yourself as an artist and push your talent to new levels and explore new genres. To me that is the only way I can continue to produce work and grow as an artist, otherwise I get bored very quickly.

Gabriel Isak - Illusionary Prisms

Part of the series ‘Illusionary Prisms’

Guide us a bit through the process behind your photography work.

I first ask myself what I am inspired by at this moment and start to brainstorm stories I want to create. After that I start looking for reference images that are connected to my ideas, and once I start see a pattern between the words and reference images I start to draw out the story through words and sketches. That’s how the pre-production of any shoot start, whether it is fashion or fine art work, and after this is done I start to gather the team together and start the production.

Gabriel Isak - Two moons

‘Two moons’

We’ve talked about your photography projects, but you also have two short films and we understand a third one is currently in progress. Tell us more about your interest in film.

My work in general has been highly influenced by the cinema world. And for the past year I have had an interest in exploring my photography in motion and translate my vision into moving images instead of still images. I have a third short film coming up that is connected to my series “Entities”, which I filmed in the desert earlier this year.

Any upcoming exhibitions and events where we can see your work?

I have a solo exhibition of “The Blue Journey” during the month of September at the Cannery Galleries in San Francisco. It will be moved to Jackson Place in San Francisco and be on view from October to December this year.

Finally, is there something we’ve missed or that you would like to add for our readers?

I don’t think so! Thank you so much for your time and stay curious and inspired!

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All images © Gabriel Isak

View more on his website, on Facebook, FlickrInstagram and Behance.
Also visit his online shop.