The following features a selection of pictures from Spyros Rennt's new book Lust Surrender. To introduce you to this fascinating photographer, Martin chatted with him about studying computer engineering, Spyros's hometown Berlin, and, of course, photography.
Spyros Rennt started out studying electrical and computer engineering. Now, he is a photographer based in Berlin and already released his second book. ‘I just took a different path to get where I’m now’, Spyros says. He feels very disconnected from his former studies and work: ‘I myself forget that I’m an engineer,’ he admits laughing.
While studying engineering, Spyros wasn’t aware of his artistic side – was not ‘thinking like an artist’, as he puts it. Originally from Athens, Greece, Spyros’s ‘artistic awakening’, as he calls it, didn’t happen until he moved to Berlin. There, he was doing jobs that weren’t fulfilling. Working as a web developer, he had already drifted away from engineering slightly. ‘I was searching inside myself for what I could do. Gradually, I found my way to art and photography. This doesn’t really happen overnight – you need to get comfortable with it.’
A couple of years before Spyros got into photography, he had started to pay more attention to other photographers, going to exhibitions and buying books. ‘Instagram was also a good platform to come across the work of both established photographers as well as random, more unknown, and contemporary photographers.’
In 2015, Spyros started taking pictures himself, using his iPhone camera, and posted the photos on Instagram. He moved on to a point and shoot film camera after a while. ‘The thing with photography is that it’s accessible to everybody – you only need a camera.’
Spyros’s work centres around love, friendship, intimacy, and queer spaces. His photos are unfiltered and highly sensual – he documents human relationships at their most vulnerable.
After a short transition period of asking himself, ‘Am I doing this?’, Spyros says that ‘one thing led to another. I didn’t move to Berlin with the intention of becoming an artist. It just happened while living here, it just made sense to me. So far, it’s been pretty rewarding.’
Last year, he self-published his book Lust Surrender. According to Spyros, he really appreciates a good photography book. ‘I always say that my real photography exists in my books. Of course, people can look at my photography on Instagram or in the interviews that I do, but I get to tell a fuller story in a book.’
Recalling the production process of Lust Surrender, Spyros says, after all pictures were done, finalising the book took about 3 months. ‘There always is the overwhelming part when I print out all of my photos that could go into the book. Then I have like 500 pictures lying around on the floor in my house, and I slowly go through them.’ However, Spyros thinks that making a book is fun, and he really enjoys the selection process. ‘Every book is a bit like giving birth’, he says.
Lust Surrender is Spyros’s second book after having published Another Excess in 2018. ‘Actually, it’s crazy that I already made a book back then. I had only been doing photography properly for one and a half years.’ To him, Lust Surrender is ‘more mature and more refined. But I also like the enthusiasm that I had while working on Another Excess.’
When he makes something new, Spyros says, his goal is always to do better than last time. ‘I believe this happened with Lust Surrender – my eye is more trained now, and I try to explore different themes. You just grow as an artist.’