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Enter Spyros Rennt's Unfiltered, NSFW World in Another Excess

Spyros

“No sleep. Bus. Club. Another club. Another club.” It’s a mantra that Lady Gaga famously espoused seven years ago when describing her schedule, yet it’s also the perfect descriptor for a casual weekend out in a party-heavy city like Berlin or New York.

It’s within this hedonistic cycle of parties, afterparties, and nights that turn to day and back to night again where Spyros Rennt found inspiration for his latest photo book, Another Excess. From the very first photograph in January 2017 to the book’s publication earlier this year, the Greek photographer brought his camera into bedrooms and on to dirty dance floors to capture the community of queers that have become his world. In the process, he traveled from his home base of Berlin to everywhere from Paris and New York to Greece and Tbilisi.

Related | 16 Intimate Portraits From Bedrooms, Beaches & Dirty Dance Floors

In that time-bending journey through weekend-long parties and skinny dipping sessions in lakes and oceans, Another Excess formed into an unfiltered glimpse into his ecstatic, joyful, and undeniably odd world.

Ahead of Rennt’s solo gallery debut on Thursday at Berlin’s M.I/mi1glissé event space where he’ll show some of the images from Another Excess, we caught up with the artist to talk Yello's inspiring 1983 album, volcanic craters, and why "maybe everyone has threesomes now."

Billy and Nicolas in Katsouni.

OUT: What was the first photograph you took for the book?

Spyros Rennt: The oldest photo in the book only dates back to January 2017. It's a photo of someone close to me taken in the New York subway. I had bought a new camera before that NY trip and the majority of the photos in the book ended up being taken with that camera — not that I knew back then that I was going to make a book! It wasn't until the spring of 2018 that I decided to start working on it. 

How did that turn into the idea to create an entire book out of these photos?

I made the book because I had a good amount of photos that were able to tell a story when put together. A part of these photos were explicit, so sharing them online wasn't that easy, at least not on Instagram, which is the main platform I use to communicate my work.

Moreover, I am a huge fan of photography books and collect them myself. It made sense for me to make my own. It's a wonderful experience, collecting so many private [and] personal memories in a book. You don't know who will end up buying it. I've shipped my book to places like Norway, China, and Kazakhstan. It has been a very rewarding process and worth all the work I put into it.

The photos are from Berlin, New York, Paris, and Greece. What was your favorite city to shoot in?

There are also a few photos taken in London and Tbilisi! Since the book is very personal, each city stands for certain memories. The most photos in the book were taken in Berlin, as this has been my home for the last seven years. I come from Greece, which provided for some really exotic places to shoot in, like a volcanic crater and the bluest skies. New York is a city that I love to visit because the people are so fascinating. Tbilisi, London, and Paris are places where dear friends of mine live in and I am happy to return to. 

I think an interesting thing about the book is how you cannot always tell where a photo was taken. This says a lot about the similar ways gay and queer youth — which is the demographic most portrayed in the book — all over the world lives their lives. How different are dancefloors in Berlin than the ones in New York? There are tourists that come to Berlin for the first time but they already know which parties to go to because they've been following them on Instagram. As the second foreword text in my book by Riki Syed mentions, "Maybe everyone has threesomes now, everyone goes to clubs where they get covered in luminous paint, everyone wears punk inspired leggings."

Mikey Woodbridge.

Tell me about the name, Another Excess. What does it mean in the context of the book?

The name is an homage to the classic Yello album, You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess. I don't want to say that the title refers to a very Berlin type of life because you can have this lifestyle in other cities as well, but Berlin does make it easier to live this life, mostly because you meet a lot of like-minded people here. 

The title refers to that feeling of euphoria during or after a long weekend of hedonism, when you know that you had a small peak, but know that you will repeat it in a week or a month's time. You're going to do it all over again, and it's again going to be great. The book doesn't examine just the peak moments, but also a lot of the relationships that were formed during this excessive background, which is what makes it soft and very personal at times. 

What was your reasoning behind doing a digital release of 148 outtakes and unreleased images?

I presented my book at a gallery in Berlin at the end of September and I have my solo show at the same space mid-November. My gallerist and I wanted to somehow connect these 2 physical events and I proposed this online happening where anyone interested could receive a folder of 148 images (the exact number of images I have in the book) which serve as outtakes, or let's say B-sides of the book. Photos that could have been a part of the book but didn't make the final cut.

Menergy heads (red light).

Do you feel that it’s a solution to the “digital age” disconnect between traditional photo books and social media? 

The main reason for doing this is because I believe in the idea of sharing images online. A lot of people wouldn't know me if it weren't for Instagram. I came out with a book which is a physical product with an actual cost. What if someone likes my images but can't afford or doesn't want to buy the book because they don't collect books or they just prefer to look at photos on a screen? I wanted to create an extra option — plus it was playful and interactive. Everyone interested would just have to write me an email and they'd get an email back from me with a WeTransfer link with the extra images. I found it cute!

What do you hope the photos in the book represent to viewers? 

The themes that the book explores, through my own experiences and perspective, are openness, intimacy, queer contemporary realities, [and] a celebration of the body — with a focus on the male form. It captures a range of emotions from tender to raw. There is no melancholy in the book. It's about ecstatic, joyful, sensual and authentic moments. There is "excess" in the title, after all!

 

 

Spyros Rennt's Another Excess exhibition is on display at Berlin's M.I/mi1glissé Gallery from November 15th through November 18th.

You can purchase the Another Excess photo book here

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