Meet ULYSSES Saniel, the multifunctional creative from London approaching all the elements with a beautifully pure sense of structure and strong aesthetic in icy blue hues, presenting a solid artwork through pristine clear images where air, skin, stone, and fabric all come together in a perfectly structured dance in the fields of concrete and the urban landscape.
We speak to ULYSSES about the importance of collaboration, inspirations and influences behind his unique style, and his love of London architecture.
Model: Gauitye at WOKE Model Management
Lighting Camera / Assistants: Anna Pluskota and Tracy
Hi ULYSSES, let’s start by speaking about your newest body of work (pictured above), what was the inspiration behind this?
My new body of work is transitioning from one material/environment to another, while keeping my creative DNA in check which is shooting on concrete landscapes. I am experimenting with new ideas towards green nature, the outdoors, while keeping a consistent element to my style.
As a photographer, how does where you live influence your work?
Born and raised in London, you meet diverse people with unique personalities and opinions. I like to observe these behaviours, and environments that I am to create a story behind my work. There’s a balance between urban concrete and modern architecture over here, it’s important to find balance in what you are going to create.
How important is collaboration for you? Can you tell us about your team?
Collaboration is important. My team comes from different disciplines. Such as photo journalism, fashion, and architecture design. Constructive feedback is always important to keep you grounded, which allows room for growth.
Building a good relationship with your team is essential!
(Left) Model: Natalie Urelle at Inter Models BG – Camera Assistant/Lighting Sebastian Garraway
(Right) Model: Solway Howie at Named Models – Camera Assistant/Lighting Sebastian Cardena
What was it like to first realize that you wanted to do photography? Were you surrounded by people who made it easier to pursue photography?
I have always gravitated towards photography since I was young, shooting as a hobby, doing projects for friends, although I started as a Graphic Designer, I like to flow between these two disciplines.
How has your process of working changed over time?
The process has always been simple, depending on the mood, the time of the year I always move with what season we are in, the type of environment/architecture and the diverse unique set of models I work with. Always keep the process simple.
Your colour palette incorporates a lot of icy blue and green hues – what drew you to these colder tones?
Originally my colour palette was. grey, this reflected the type of buildings I would do photoshoots at and mainly the moody London weather aesthetic. The Barbican Centre, Alexandra Estate, and the National Theatres structure are mainly grey – the transition I am making now is finding a balance between nature/greenery and these concrete ‘Brutalist’ / modern structures to complement each other in a harmonious way.
Model: Thalia Blossom at WOKE Model Management
Camera/Lighting assistant: Sebastian Garraway
Architecture is an important theme throughout your work – what do you love most about London architecture?
The architecture emits an odour of rebellion and authority to it, the ‘street attitude’ persona reflects these buildings perfectly especially in Europe, the symmetric lines, and repetitive shapes on the building give my photoshoots a consistent story.
What do you think is the most important factor to consider when shooting on location opposed to in a studio?
Shooting outdoors is more playful in terms of movement and using the natural light and space, this allows me to experiment with different angles and moods – you have a lot more space to play around with, in the concrete, natural playground. Shooting in a studio is quite restricted, but it just depends on the theme of the photoshoot!
What message are you hoping to portray to your audience?
A simple message to ‘Create more’ it’s okay to not always have an end goal in mind, this is the magic in creating a story that lasts. A simple message that speaks volumes – whatever inspires you roll with it…
(Left) Model: Juliet
(Right) Model: Lucas Bonacorso at Named Models
Who would be your dream fashion brand to shoot a campaign for?
Now, I’m into nature outdoor photography, I like the recent simplistic photos of Jil Sanders Fall/Winter shoot. I also like the mix homemade aesthetic technology/lighting from YSL / Alexander Mcqueen/Bottega Venetta
What would be your advice to an emerging generation of photographers?
Without sounding cliché, persistence and patience are key. Just keep shooting, creating observing.
As 2021 comes to an end, what can we expect from your work next year?
New locations, greenery, architecture and some interiors… studio shoots. I am also working on some video projects.
(Left) Model: Thalia Blossom at WOKE Model Management – Camera/Lighting assistant: Sebastian Garraway
(Right) Model: Natalie Urelle at Inter Models BG – Camera Assistant/Lighting Sebastian Garraway
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All images photographed and creatively directed by ULYSSES Saniel