By: Amanda Sandström Beijer
Photos: Spyros Rennt
The Greek photographer Spyros Rennt captures sensuality, love, friendship and community.
His works are vulnerable and proud, filtered and unfiltered, fun and decadent, sensual and rough. It’s life as he experiences it and when getting lost in his book ’Lust Surrender’, you realize it's also part of you - which may be one of the best part of art.
You mentioned that Instagram isn’t representative of your work. What’s your view on Instagram?
The online garden of good and evil. On one hand, I am grateful because it gave me the chance to communicate my work all over the world, opened doors and connected me to an amazing community of creatives. On the other hand, it triggers my anxiety on a daily basis, leads to unhealthy comparisons while its censorship tightens up as time passes.
Your book ’Lust Surrender’ starts with a poetic foreword by Selin Davasse, who also writes: ”What we celebrate at parties is the explosion of limits”, what’s your perfect party in Berlin described like?
A party where I’m gonna hang out with some of my favorite friends, make some new ones, make out with cute people and listen to great music. Thankfully I’ve had a lot of these in all my years here!
’Lust Surrender’ feels like a rock star’s unfiltered diary, although they are not put together through the terms of a set timeline. It’s dirty but welcoming I would say, what’s your view on inviting people to your world?
I have gotten used to making work that mostly centers around my personal experiences, sometimes giving away intimate moments, it’s some kind of therapy for me. I have to say however that there is a filter to what I shoot and what I end up sharing with the world; there is always a sense of curation in my head, especially when I make a publication. Whenever I share something very personal, there is a certain statement that I want to make. The most personal photo in Lust Surrender is the one with the book’s name: it’s actually an image of me giving a guy head (you probably don’t recognize that if you don’t know what I look like). It’s a very explicit/personal moment but I figured, if I’m shooting all these people in vulnerable situations, it’s only fair if I share myself in a similar state as well.
Where are you from and how come you decided to move to Berlin in the first place?
I grew up in Athens Greece and I moved to Berlin almost 10 years ago, in the June of 2021 because I kept on visiting and having a great time and it just made sense for me at the time. I had no idea I would end up making art. I moved here with an engineering degree. I had little interest in this career and a big thirst to experience things!
In what way has Berlin inspired you when it comes to your art?
I don’t think I would have ended up an artist had I not moved and lived here. Berlin showed me that a different way of life, one where you don’t have to go to the office on Monday at 9 is possible and, with some effort, sustainable. Its affordability definitely helps. Moreover, the city is the perfect magnet for inspiring, interesting characters.
The photos in your book are from many places - big cities, small towns, beaches and clubs - I sense it’s what you’d describe as the beauty of life. How do you feel when looking through your own photos?
Sometimes I am critical to them from an artistic point of view, other times I am pleased and even proud with the final result. Nostalgia is also a feeling, especially in the current difficult period of the covid winter lockdown.
Your photos are vulnerable, but also not. How come all penises you photograph are big for example?
I don’t think I only publish big cocks is Lust Surrender but it’s true that there are some impressive ones in there. Actually, I’ll switch the perspective of the question: not all men are willing to be shot naked. Doesn't it make sense to you that guys with big dicks are actually the ones who are easier and more eager to get photographed?
The photos are lifting togetherness, community and celebrations. How come that’s a big theme? What’s your view on loneliness?
The book presents a specific body of work, which focuses on my identity and experiences as a queer person and the world around me; my photographic interests are more diverse than that and capturing loneliness is actually something that appeals to me. I look for it when I’m out with my camera on the street. One of my favorite images that I have ever made is a very hopperesque depiction of my mother alone in her bedroom (attaching in case you want to include it in the interview)
IF festivals will be on this summer - which ones close to Berlin are you most excited about and what’s the best part about them?
I can’t wait for the next edition of Whole festival - hopefully in the summer of 2021. There’s really nothing quite like it: the sexyness, the scenery, the fantastic music and most of al the overall feeling of community.
What’s your view on creative limits, is there anything you feel limited but curious to do and try within your art expression?
My photography and art are not so much about breaking any rules, I am happy with capturing and presenting the world with my truth - and always try to work together with happily consenting subjects at that.