Bela Borsodi doesn't want to capture anything you've ever seen before.
For Bela Borsodi, a photographer known for injecting craftiness into his fashion and still-life work, the field in which he gained prominence was not necessarily his first choice. "I never woke up one morning and said, 'I want to be a photographer,'" he told the Cut. "Still, up to today, it’s just circumstance that it was photography." But considering that his grandfather was, according to Borsodi, the man who brought color film into Austria in the fifties, it appears photography was in his blood.
The Austrian native spent his childhood and early adulthood reared by artist parents who fostered creativity. In college, he initially dabbled in graphic design (at first to separate himself from his parents' generation of artists), majored in fine arts, and realized in his twenties that photography would be viable career. But it wasn’t until he moved to Switzerland in 1999 with the sole purpose of learning how to shoot still life that he commanded the fashion world's attention. Ever since, he's been merging reality with fantasy within the framework of a single photo, merging cartoons, acclaimed works of art, erotic anime, and sexual fantasies (or nightmares) along with models and luxe goods. He also literally builds his sets by hand, using foam boards, wood, strings, balloons, printers, Sharpie pens, and sometimes his whole apartment, so as to take a figment of his imagination and immortalize it in a photo."Photography’s all about cheating," he said to the Cut. "You invent things, even if you claim that they’re real, realistic, that there’s a real experience with it, but in the end, it’s a photograph. It’s the documentation, the proof of an actual experience." The Cut sat down with Borsodi to talk about his creative process and delve deeper into his layered understanding of the medium. Click through the slideshow for Borsodi's own commentary on a selection of his works, including one photo that sparked feminist rage.