Home » Blog » Interview With Dark Art Photographer And Digital Artist Roberto Segate (NSFW) 17 pics - 8 min read
Interview With Dark Art Photographer And Digital Artist Roberto Segate (NSFW) 17 pics

Interview With Dark Art Photographer And Digital Artist Roberto Segate (NSFW) 17 pics

By Penelope Purple | Interviews| 3rd December 2019, 15:35 | 14 loves | 13 comments | 8 min read


For this week's featured PurplePort member we are celebrating Roberto Segate, a photographer and dark art creator from Swansea, UK. We found his dark, emotive work very compelling and we'd love to share it with all of you. Stray off the beaten track a little in our interview below.

Tell us a little about your background Roberto, who are you and where are you from?

I'm Roberto Segate, I'm a photographer and digital artist with an interest in anything dark, melancholy and mysterious. For as long as I can remember I was a slightly 'different' kid, you know, I was the tall quiet kid at school hanging around by himself with a few other... 'interesting' kids, preferring the library or the computer room to drama or games. I was raised in rural west Wales where there was little outlet for the leftfield or obscure; it was a quiet childhood, most would say idyllic, I didn't have much to do except collecting odd stuff I found while wandering the countryside, things like old tools, bits of newspapers, books and dead animals. Then, when I was about 10 or 12, my Dad gave me a book called 'The Children's Friend' and I was drawn to its illustrations. One was of two kids at the seaside - the title was "do look at this strange thing I have found". Although one kid was holding up a starfish I would image something entirely different; weirder and darker, making up my own narrative to these charming nineteenth-century vignettes. Anyway, I suppose red flags could be seen even back then Smile.

I was always into books; old books. Another my Dad bought (for himself) and which I got hold of sometime in my teens was  'The Misfortunes of Virtue' (I think it's also called 'Justine') by Marquis de Sade. Needless to say, this book REALLY opened my eyes and no doubt influenced my outlook to creating images in the following years.

What led to you having a career in photography? Do you remember the first experience that made you want to explore life behind a camera?

A career in photography was not for me; my interests were, and still are, in image-making; creating something which echoed those nebulous and fragmented images in my mind. This, of course, is not as simple as it sounds and it is that need to convey my thoughts which drives me.

But it was when I was about 15 that my Dad gave me his old camera and showed me the basics of creating an image; you know, darkroom, chemicals, negatives and all that. It was magic and a whole realm of possibilities slowly opened up to me - an epiphany!

It was a photograph of a dead bird which made me think more about how a photograph can convey meaning or narrative and I remember how a wave of sadness engulfed me. It wasn't a very good photograph but it still conveyed melancholy so strongly.

Interestingly photography, or at least, dark photography really didn't register until I started a degree course. When I was younger my Dad taught me how to take photographs and print them in a darkroom, but it wasn't until I began learning more about *how* I could use photography to tell stories that I discovered that I could channel my thoughts through this medium.

You have a very individual style, what inspires you to make the photos that you do?

Inspiration is everywhere but I think it was paintings which inspired me the greatest, particularly in the early days, most notably artists like Hieronymus Bosch and Francisco Goya caught my eye because of their very dark allegories. 

I was very interested in early forms of photography too; work by the pictorialists and artists like Alfred Stieglitz, Irma Haselberger and Robert Demachy. Their work felt otherworldly to me; in many cases the images are soft and grainy, timeless and indistinct leaving more to the imagination.

I was fascinated by the notion that cameras and film technology was continuously being improved; the images sharper, more defined while I always wanted the opposite. This, even more so with digital technology where everything is perfect.

So the whole ethos behind my work is imperfection, vagueness and mystery and I'm constantly trying to use these attributes to create images.

What's the best thing about doing the work that you do?

That's easy, it's being able to create something which conveys a mood or a meaning. And although I make images for myself it's also rewarding when others engage with the work. It's working with other like-minded models who throw themselves enthusiastically into a project, adding their own ideas or bringing their own props and ultimately ending up with something of worth. This is the best thing.

What do you look for in a model, and how would you select one for one of your photoshoots?

As I alluded to in the previous question it is the collaborative nature of shooting, most notably and the sharing of ideas between model and photographer which bears the greatest rewards, when shooting becomes effortless and it feels like it just happens. Obviously, not all models are suited to my style of work; it can be very messy, uncomfortable and sometimes shoots run on for many hours. I look for models who have an interest in dark imagery, who clearly think differently, are not afraid of hanging around in derelict buildings, are happy(ish) to work in the cold and wet, can create interesting poses and are not worried about getting messy. That's not to much to ask is it?! Surprisingly I get messages regularly from models who would like to model for me and create some dark imagery, sometimes to help diversify their portfolios or for personal reasons. Many models have told me that by engaging in something radically different has been a catharsis.

How has PurplePort helped you?

PurplePort has been instrumental in my work over the years and even though my dark imagery has limited appeal I do have a hardcore following for which I appreciate. But it's more than PurplePort being a platform to find models, it is the friendships which develop through working together that makes the whole process greater than the sum of its parts. PurplePort has been the only model/photographer platform I've used; it has the greatest number of models based near me, or at least with easy routes to get here. I have tried other platforms with very limited, virtually nonexistent results.



Do you have any funny stories from any of your photoshoots?

Shoots are always fun! I tend not to take things too seriously while shooting and it does sometimes feel like meeting up with pals to take a few photos; it's all very relaxed and there's plenty of chatting and laughing, mainly at my expense! There are a few funny stories but two which stick in my mind are the one with the derelict house in the very early hours of the morning with a starling; we thought that there was someone else in the building, that was slightly scary!! And the one when setting up a nighttime shoot (again) with three models holding burning torches in the woods and wearing masks. I ended up with my foot on fire. That doesn't sound funny but it really was and I seem to have a habit of doing this! Is it a coincidence that the same model was present at both shoots? (You know who you are). There are many, many other times something has happened followed by hilarity Smile



Have you got any projects that are currently in the pipeline that you'd like to discuss?

I'm currently working on a series of images called 'Anime Infestate' which is loosely based on some kind of purgatory with its troubled inhabitants; time ravaged and trapped. This series uses clay to remodel the models face and/or body. It's a very interesting project which relies on the model to add and remove clay from themselves, however they want, to form a new 'person'. Sometimes the model covers their face completely and works blind throughout the shoot! The resulting images are so very interesting, not least because of the fact the model looks completely different, but because of the facial expressions than can be 'manufactured'. This looks to be another long project and will run well into next year.

I have several other projects going on at the same time; my dark zine 'Grim' which I publish every couple of months, some alternative photography using cyanotypes and also some charcoal drawing. I never stop it seems. I remember watching a documentary about a British artist whose name I fail to remember who said that he had a ceaseless drive to create, this is how I feel.

I hope you enjoyed this interview, and thank you very much Rob for taking the time to answer my questions! Don't forget to give this post a love and comment in the comment section below if you did - Do you have any favourite images?

Be sure to check out more of Roberto Segate's incredible work: PurplePort, Facebook, Website

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Comments

Brushbonce said...

You are off the hook dude!!!!! Amazing work so glad PP did this interview.

Love Roberts work.I used to see his work on a regular basis going back a few years, but the group site was closed that he belonged to

vishpateluk said...

Talk about creativity! Love it.

Very interesting to read Roberto's back story. I love that he's always making his vision come to life, that's a credit to his creativity, his photography and editing skills and of course his regular core of talented (if slightly mad?) models.

arh said...

Thank you for this. I like to think I am one of Roberto’s hard core followers and am slightly in two minds as to whether the article exposes the mystery of the man and has humanised him. This recognition is however long in coming and much appreciated by me. The man considers ‘weird’ a compliment and may he always be so. Stay in the shadows and give us time to appreciate your work. When you upload half a dozen images my brain can’t deal with them. Publish the book.

Excellent interview with a really interesting insight into Roberto Segate's creative thoughts

IrisFerret said...

Huge fan of Roberto's work and his compelling, dark narrative style. Really hope to aspire to this standard of work and creativity one day. Thanks for sharing your process Rob!

Absolutely incredible artist. Emotional gritty taboo Beautiful dark art.

Looks very interesting

A fascinating insight into the work of Roberto Segate.

Wow! Thanks for sharing, this is so up my street and I would love to create art like this! I couldn't pick a favourite, but 4th from last is cool it reminds me of an ink blot. Super different and quirky!

YorVikIng said...

Fascinating images that I could spend a lot of time looking at. Thank you!

Great work!