“If you want to rise up, to hear your own voice of greatness, go to the heights,” writes photographer Andrew Jordan, and that is exactly what he does to capture the perfect shot.
To create his scenes, Jordan works in creative partnership with his wife, Irina, a fashion designer who often appears as a model in his photographs. The two scout breathtaking natural locations—dizzying cliffs, sublime skies, and still, reflective waters—to capture the boundless beauty of our world. Referring to their work as “dramatic fashion in nature,” their photographs are designed to “create a beautiful […] fictional story in unique natural scenery.”
Jordan lives off the coast of the Black Sea and has access to lulling sand dunes and thrashing seascapes, mountains and dense forests. No location is outside the realm of possibility for the adventurous artist as he camps and climbs to capture poppies in bloom and fields of golden rapeseed. “When these golden fields appeared on the horizon under a perfect blue April sky, it was […] screaming, heart palpitations, wild ecstasy,” he writes of this experience.
The inspiration for his photographs stems from awe-inspiring landscapes, stories—real and otherwise—and historical paintings. “Mary in Poppies,” for example, is Jordan’s interpretation of Claude Monet’s “The Poppy Field near Argenteuil,” while “The Maid of Orleans” is inspired by the near-mythical Joan of Arc.
Jordan is enamored with establishing a story for his images. Accessories and color schemes, carefully planned with Irina, become plot devices that align with the overarching narrative. Although the styling is meticulous, Jordan leans into nature’s spontaneity, relinquishing some control to capture an exquisite display.
In Today's Q+Art Interview…
Andrew Jordan discusses the beauty that inspires his work, shooting on location with his wife, Irina, and how the two use costume and drama to interact with the natural world.
Which books, art-related or otherwise, belong on every artist’s shelf?
Andrew Jordan: Books, I love them, they are my passion. I collect books on art, rare second-hand books, biographies of artists, gift albums on the most famous museums in the world. I think that it would be useful and very entertaining for every creative person to have several volumes of the Masterpieces of World Art collection.
Which cultural concepts, themes, or philosophies inform your work?
AJ: My creativity has its sources of love for the beauty of life, for female images, the richness of colors, the harmony of lines, the play of light and the expressiveness of emotions.
What role does fashion play in your work? How do you decide on costuming?
AJ: Style is integrity. That is, it is the goal and criterion for the quality of your shooting. Bad shooting cannot be trendy and fashionable. My wife and I (let me remind you, we work in a creative duo) believe that everything that excites us creatively is fashionable. For each shooting, an image, accessories, costume, color scheme, entourage and scenery, mood and storyline are invented, and this is all fashion, this is all our passion for self-expression.
How do you stage your scenes? What sort of planning goes into their creation?
AJ: Sometimes the location itself found for future shooting gives rise to a plot (for example, snowy fields on a high-mountain glacier in August or an abandoned nuclear power plant or an old underground fortress), and sometimes the concept and semantic description of future photography comes first, that is, the answer to the question “about what” and not "where." Now I have at least five ideas for very relevant photography on the topic of a person’s digital identity, the world of cryptocurrency, the oil future of mankind. I have an approximate mood board of images and a shooting location (I have my own photo studio), but there is not enough budget to implement these ideas. Therefore, the basis of all creative plans is finance. If you have a budget, then everything else goes very easily and with a buzz!
What do you dislike about the art world? How would you change it if you could?
AJ: It seems to me that society does not really need art and does not see it as the basis of its life and development. Art has very little to do with the main criterion of success—material wealth. Art is needed only by those who are turned on it and who cannot imagine life outside of creative work. Therefore, the art world is quite artificial. But for crazy people like me, it is the most real.
How does your geographical location affect your work and/or success?
AJ: My creative method is to implement, as it were, "studio" fashion—shooting in the most picturesque natural locations, achieving a "wow effect" precisely by contrasting the complexity of the images and the pretentiousness of the costumes of the model with that natural naturalness and some roughness that is present in the mountains, on the rocky sea coast, in a mountain gorge, in a dense forest.
I live in an amazingly beautiful geographic region that provides an excellent opportunity to shoot on the sea, in the mountains, in the snow, in the sand dunes, in ancient fortresses, and among the ruined industrial facilities. Here I have complete freedom and maximum potential. With success in this place, the situation is more complicated, and I cannot provide myself with even an average level of income with my earnings, so I want to present my work to an international audience.
What's your biggest barrier to being an artist?
AJ: It is difficult to realize your creative ideas when there is nothing to live on.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?
AJ: The best advice is that you need to choose a business you like and do it with all your might. There is no bad advice for me (as well as bad weather).
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. All photos published with permission of the artist.
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