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Wolfgang Tillmans Opens up About Photography, Racism and Growing up Gay

The creative also expands on HIV awareness and his work approach.

Tate Turner prize winner and notable photographer who shot Frank Ocean (Blond album cover), Wolfgang Tillmans sat down with SHOWstudio’s Lou Stoppard and shared his experiences living in London and Berlin, art and photography, and his involvement in raising HIV awareness. The interview also included some questions submitted by peers of whom included Kate Moss. Read some of the excerpts below and watch the full interview above. You can also read the full interview here.

On the predominantly white Tate exhibition:

“I am aware that I’m not an outsider. On the other hand, I grew up being gay so that always gives you a different perspective and I’m also a white male so I never had institutional racism or disadvantage that was put upon me. I have seen the world with a different eye. I have always been aware of other people’s struggles and that not everything looks the same from different angles.”

On photography:

“Not every photograph is a comfortable one and I find photography embarrassing because you’re revealing your interests. To overcome that embarrassment you have to feel a certain sense of urgency like you need this picture and you want to talk about it and that is important. I always approached my work from what is missing,” says Tillmans.

Question from friend Kate Moss — “What does freedom mean to you?”

“The fact I can live in freedom is the result of other people putting their arses on the line doing embarrassing and challenging things.”

On HIV awareness:

“I found out I myself am HIV positive but I have never made that active subject in my work. People are so scared of AIDs that everything in the world foreshadows this.”

SHOWstudio also interviewed Kanye West and Nicola Formichetti.

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