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Fantasy, dreamlike shots, a bit of fashion and loads of flowers are what mainly characterize her work. Meet Jordan Tiberio, an American photographer whose passion for looking through a lens started during her teenage years. Also heavily influenced by the weird since an early age – as she confesses, she grew up admiring Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Mary Poppins and has had an admiration for all things odd ever since–, her pictures are loaded with a magical vibe that is uncanny but at the same time irradiate good vibes.
Hi Jordan, could you introduce yourself? 
My name is Jordan Tiberio and I’m a twenty-four-year-old photographer living in Brooklyn (New York). I grew up in Rochester (New York), the birthplace of Kodak, so photography was probably floating around in the water up there. I’ve shot for Teen Vogue, Nanette Lepore, Samsung Mobile, and have had work featured on The Huffington Post, i-D, Dazed & Confused, and Refinery29, to name a few. Oh, and I once spent four months as a photography assistant for the television show Saturday Night Live.
Tell us how and when did you decide to be a photographer. Who or what pushed you to got into it?
I picked up photography when I was still in high school, around the age of fifteen, so ten years ago now. No one pushed me into it but myself, although I suppose that my love-at-first-sight moment with Flickr inspired me to use the medium as an artistic art form. I stumbled upon the site before I even had my own camera, and saw the works of kids my age – or younger – around the country and the world making amazing images, and I wanted to do the same.
You have studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, right? Could you please talk about your years within this college? What have your studies taught you about photography, art and life?
I attended the Fashion Institute from 2011 to 2015 and graduated with a BFA in Photography. Moving to New York City at the age of eighteen from a small suburban community was definitely a cultural shock, and learning how to make work amongst concrete instead of sprawling fields and forests was a challenge for me. After my first few months here, though, I became a lot more aware of my surroundings and about how to make work in the city that didn’t look like it was here at all. I highly value my four years at Fashion Institute of Technology, and took advantage of everything avenue within the university that I could. While broad, my studies taught me that it does not matter where you go to study said art medium, but more about yourself as a person and your willingness to learn and grow as an artist. You can make the most of truly any situation you’re put in.

Have you been inspired by any creative movement or mentor?
The Dada and Surrealism movements have always been very inspiring to me. I’ve had a few mentors throughout my time with photography, and they have kept me grounded and fresh, while always trying to push my work out to as many people as they can. I’m always inspired by light and its interaction with objects, music and films, nature, people and their interactions with others, love, and my daily drive to constantly become a better version of myself.
According to you, what makes your photography style unique? Is there anything, a technique or a hallmark you use that makes you feel different from others?
I like to call my work the odd in the ordinary. I think my high school art teacher or a journalist at my hometown newspaper penned that, so that style has been with me since I started. A tinge of whimsy can be found in almost all of my work. I’m constantly trying to make images that are a bit strange, which triggers the viewer to pause and question what is exactly going on. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by movies like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, and the character Pippi Longstocking, so it’s safe to say the weird has always been in me.
By the way, what elements are you looking for when composing photographs?
Colour, mainly. I think I have quite a good eye for it, and always have so much fun pairing really bold colours together. I like it to be a subject in my photographs, just as the person, place, or object that I’m capturing.
Your project entitled Liquid Mirrors is just astounding. Could you give us more details about how you ran this work? How did you play with mylar to shoot the reflections of your subjects? How have you reached such a surreal result without using photoshop?
Thank you! Liquid Mirrors is definitely one of my favourite series to date, and I have never considered it finished. I was gifted my first piece of mylar in 2013 by a mentor at my college, tacked it to the wall in my dorm room, and then the obsession started. It took awhile for me to figure out my lighting, but once I nailed it down, I began producing images like a factory. The magic of mylar naturally creates these painterly images that I could never achieve in Photoshop (nor would I ever try!)

Could you speak about Bougainvillea Girls, one of your latest works, and explain us the general idea behind it? What do these plants/flowers bring to your photographs? And what is the role of the models there?
Bougainvillea Girls was the most spur of the moment body of work I’ve ever made. I was in Los Angeles for work, and the neighbourhood where I was staying had the most incredible bougainvillea bushes I had ever seen. I felt hypnotized by the flowers. I quickly called up three friends and had them come over to romp around the neighbourhood with me for a few hours. I wanted to portray that same feeling of entrancement that I experienced. Personally, having a huge love for nature, especially florals, I wanted to have these girls connected to the plants, like they had some sort of mysterious attachment to the bougainvillea.

Let’s now talk about your project named Lacuna, which is one of your earliest. How would you describe the intimacy through your work? How did you manage to play with human bodies and opacity? And what does it stand for? 
Lacuna was shot back in 2013-2014, and is entirely made inside the Hasselblad camera on black and white 120mm film. I achieved the fading effect by utilizing a unique double exposure technique I learned from an old photography textbook from the 1970s. At the time I was going through a pretty difficult heartbreak, and was trying to find a way to visually channel these new emotions, and that was when I stumbled upon the method and the images flooded into my mind. I wanted the images to represent the unfilled space (lacuna, by definition) that comes along with the absence of a past lover, while simultaneously representing the moments our imagination conjures of our old partners with their new lovers.

Also, I’ve seen on your website that you’ve shot lookbooks for some brands. When did you start photographing fashion and why? What draws your interest to that topic?
I’ve been photographing ‘fashion’ since I first began making photographs at the age of fifteen, but the fashion were clothes from my friend’s closets, my own, or thrift stores. Initially I thought I wanted to be a fashion photographer, but have flip flopped that idea many times over the year as I have a deep love for fine art work. After graduating I definitely fell into shooting a lot of lookbooks to help pay the bills, but also because I believe in the brands I have had the opportunity to work with and they allow me to be quite creative. I personally love clothes, so when I’m approached by a designer whose clothes I would wear, I’m much more eager to collaborate with him or her.
Your photographs are very liked on Instagram. How is it to be such recognized for your passion? And do you think social media have played an important role for your notoriety as a creative?
I try not to put too much emphasis on my works worth and the amount of likes that I get on Instagram, but it is wonderful to have so many eyes following it. I have never tried hard to gain a following on there, but have had the help of a few viral photos or articles about my work, which have helped get my name out there. I would hope that the number of people following me doesn’t make or break me as an artist, though! No matter what that number is, I’ll still make the work I love and post what I want the world to see, and if people choose to unfollow because of it, or if they enjoy it and stick around to see what I post next, that’s fine by me.
What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects that you would like to share with us?
I’ve been working on a really big personal project for the past year and a half, so I am aiming to finish that up and find a platform to release it on – hopefully a solo show. You’ll just have to stick around and see.

Erwan Filidori

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