Born and bred in Zurich, Play Hunter is an artist, author and creative entrepreneur. Studying Fine Arts at Saint Martins College of Art, London, Hunter set up her website Playlust back in 2007. Six years later, what began as just a space for portraits of artist friends, transformed into a hub of artistic discussion across the world. Aesthetica speaks to Hunter about her inspiration, her exhibitions and her first photo book Now & Wow – A Style Hunter’s Book of Photographs.
A: In a quick synopsis, please explain what Playlust is.
PH: It’s pictures, words and rock’n’roll! In essence, Playlust is the answer to the question: art, photography, writing – why choose? I find everything very exciting. I like the idea of filling the daily blank screen and share my visuals and texts with a worldwide following. It’s instant and it’s now. The name “Playlust” is a pun on the German term wanderlust. It describes a playful mind and a curious eye ready to explore new things. It’s my form of artistic expression.
A: What do you want your readers to get from the blog?
PH: Strictly speaking, Playlust is not a blog, but a form of artistic expression, realtime portfolio and a business model. Some readers come for inspiration, others want to read the interviews, others like the pictures of boys. I’m just happy they have a reason to land here. Playlust is what my readers want it to be. Hopefully, it will cause a reaction, regardless of whether it is good or bad.
A: What are your top tips for a successful blog?
PH: There are gazillions of banal blogs around. There’s almost as many aspiring artists, photographers, fashion designers around – you name it. The trick is you have to stand out from the crowd and you have to be passionate about what you do. You’ve got to be prepared to take risks and not be afraid of failure. Set a trend, don’t jump on the bandwagon. But that’s not enough, you’ve got to be relevant too. At least to your audience.
A: What was it that drew you to fashion in your photography work?
PH: Oh I don’t even know how to operate a flash machine, I don’t want to offend any fashion photographer out there. And in all honesty, I don’t find contemporary fashion photography terribly exciting. I just like to catch people whose looks or personal styles I find fascinating. They usually move in fashion and art. Yes, I’m drawn to the excess of beauty and glamour of fashion, but I always look for the cracks in surface, the imperfection, the unguarded moment. For example, supermodels running for their cab after a catwalk show, fully made-up and elaborately coiffed, but in their own clothes. There are no posey-posey pics there, but funny faces aplenty. Of course, they still look perfect, but they act human. It’s this precise moment I’m after – when fiction and harsh reality intersect.
A: You refer to yourself as a photographer, artist and author- did one come before the others? Or do they all merge into one?
PH: I actually studied Fine Arts at Saint Martins College, so technically speaking, artist comes first. Still, it has taken me years to call myself an artist without blushing. “Artist” always felt so grand and pretentious a term. I still don’t like it, but, like author it’s the least constricting one. So yes, they all merge into one. But I really hope someone comes up with a better word for the internet age generation of artists and creative entrepreneurs.
A: Do you find the city of Zurich inspiring?
PH: Zurich is very compact, but at the same time it’s very international. We have some of the world’s leading art galleries, and this being Switzerland, people have money to spend. It’s a curious but good mix. My two all time Zurich favourites are the lake – I love swimming – and the airport. It’s the open door of the golden cage. You can escape to London, Paris or some nice Mediterranean beach in under two hours.
A: You have presented exhibitions and produced your own book, Now & Wow – A Style Hunter’s Book of Photographs, what is it that catches your eye and draws you to take a photo?
PH: I hunt for now&wow moments. Everyone and everything has their now&wow moment. Even a stone or a bare concrete wall. Now&wow means exception to the rule, the routine, one’s expectations- like a brief moment of total photo happiness. When I see it, I catch it.
A: Do you have any upcoming plans to further expand the Playlust empire!?
PH: First we take Manhattan then we fly to Mars.
A: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?
PH: I’ve been to many places, but sadly, I’ve never been to New York.
Visit Playlust to be in with a chance of winning tickets to Art Basel.
Image courtesy of Play Hunter.