Variatio Delectat by Jamari Lior

Jamari Lior is a photographer and visual anthropologist from Germany, interested in staged people photography and ethnographic photography.

My approach to practical photography started when i spent a year studying in India and was asked to model at shows adding some international flair (even though I am actually much to short) and pose for pictures. By the time I considered modeling merely as a new intercultural experience, but being back to Germany I met a photographer at a music festival and found myself again in front of the camera. Even though I enjoyed playing different roles, I soon discovered that I prefer being behind the camera.

Now my main field is teaching photography, be it through several books I wrote, for magazine articles or at workshops or personal coachings. This is why I try to explore different styles and not to focus too much on one particular aesthetic. There is this famous Latin saying "variatio delectat" - "Change makes happy" which pretty much applies to my photography. A side note: I studied Latin for 9 years at School, English only for 5. Today I must say, the other way round would have been more useful.

There are some topics which fascinate me the most: I love the era of the baroque, as it is ambigiously associated with opulence and decadence, with beauty and decay at the same time. Further I like faraway (and often imaginary) places as they tell something about the longings as well as about the differentiations, which constitute cultural groups, e.g. many clients I have like adorned, oriental stylings showing a longing not only for bright colors and intricate patterns opposite to modern day business dresses but sometimes also for a more spiritual society.

When it comes to the arrangements and the posings, i am surely influenced by traditional Indian art, which uses meaningful gestures, colors and accessories to convey certain emotions. This means, that my models are all actors playing their part - i do not try to capture a model's soul (whatever it might be) in a picture, but to let the models stand for certain concepts. Whe i was still a model, the same was true - i never tried to be "myself" and i have strong doubts, that any picture could capture something as complex as a human personality, but was always very interested in playing different roles, and by this exploring different sides of myself or different possibilities one might have.

All photos by Jamari Lior