FACE BEHIND FACES
Photo INGRID HOLM
Photo INGRID HOLM
Photo INGRID HOLM
Photo INGRID HOLM
Photo INGRID HOLM
Photo INGRID HOLM
I write this with warmth, as it is the only way I know how to write about this man.
Three years ago I interviewed Yvan Rodic, better known as Face Hunter. For those who do not follow the lives of the blogger jet-set, Yvan Rodic is a streetstyle-photographer-slash-blogger. He is in-fact one of the most prolific and well-known streetstyle bloggers of his time.
This summer Yvan returned to Oslo once again, this time for the book signing of his second book “A Year in the Life of Face Hunter”. In this three-year period between then and now Yvan Rodic has traveled the world several times over. He has become even warmer and even more himself than ever before. His sharp edges have softened somewhere between those hundreds of airport stops. In his lifetime Yvan Rodic has seen and experienced more countries that most people will ever do. He has travelled so much that he had to cut out some countries from his new book because there were just too many of them.
The symbiosis of our friendship goes like this: I guess some people were meant to live the most extraordinary lives. People like me were meant to watch quietly from the sidelines and write about it.
The following conversation happened three years ago.
A CONVERSATION WITH YVAN RODIC
Oslo, June 2010
Yvan Rodic is sitting in my bed, his computer on his lap, his shirt unbuttoned. Had this been a few months ago I think I would have found this to be one of the strangest situations I have ever been in, but a few months changes things and suddenly this is my reality. I still decide to take a picture of him, with my window as a backdrop just because. I fiddle with the voice recording function on my iPhone. Yvan is handsome. Not in the normal way, but in a very unreal way. He reminds me of a caricature – long spindly legs, a classic button-up shirt, Mick Jagger lips and the brightest blue eyes that I have ever seen, topped with hair that reminds me of a cartoon from the fifties – it just kinds of poofs up over his forehead. I’ve watched him fix his hair a couple of times by now, but I still wonder how he keeps it there.
I’ve been able to follow him around the past few months both in London and in Oslo, and I’ve been able to call him my friend, although I’ve never really felt that I had him more than 40% at any time. His mind was always elsewhere, his eyes were always scanning his surroundings, and his hand was always reaching for his camera or his laptop. As I followed him around and watched him take pictures I used to theorize how he was in other countries, in other situations, followed around by other girls. I’ve asked him if he gets lonely with his job, but he always answers with a matter-of-fact ‘no’. The truth is, I was the one that got lonely when I followed him around, on his endless search for that something.
But back to reality. Here he was, sitting on my bed, ready to be interviewed. He has a cold. He looks a little tired, but apparently he always looks a little tired. I tell him that it gives him character. He laughs his deep laugh. His laugh, like his gaze, is a little bit dark. His jokes, like his humor, are a little bit harsh. He doesn’t waste his words. In fact, It’s easy for a softie like me to distrust him. There’s just something about him that seems impenetrable. I get a little bit nervous, although I have been around him many times before. I look down on my iPhone and press the ‘record’ button.
YVAN RODIC ON FACEHUNTER & YVANRODIC.COM
– Face Hunter is a very specific project that is really about a niche topic – that is the style of sort of specific people. Yvan Rodic, the blog, is more the updated version of my interest in life, because it is more meant to capture all kinds of things that might stimulate my mind. So, ehrm, thats the blogs… so I think that if you try to differentiate, when you spend so much time doing a project like that, there are no proper weekends or holidays or things that you reach a point where you are in a blurry zone between who you are supposed to be for real and that sort of online persona, the character.
YVAN RODIC ON INTIMACY
– I mean, it’s almost instead of having a blog about their life, they (bloggers) try to have a life that is good enough to be blogged about. That’s something you can observe sometimes. It is not always. Intimacy has changed. Before, a diary would be personal, and now intimacy is public intimacy… where people sort of prefer, I mean, it’s like somehow the whole world is more intimate than yourself. (Before) people would be ashamed… I mean before social networks like Myspace and Facebook. This kind of website changed the standard. Where it would become normal or cool to write a personal message to another person but with the possibility to show it to everyone. So thats kind of the big transformation of our society; The concept of intimacy and privacy. And I guess blogging is accompanying this big change. So it’s this sort of strange mix between intimacy and public sharing. I mean it is very intimate, but in a way in which they want to share it with the whole world. So it’s not that someone is trying hard to promote themselves. I think we just went through a major cultural transformation about intimacy and things.
YVAN RODIC ON IDENTITY
– It’s a game between who you are, who you want to be, who you want to show that you are. So of course, you de facto have to become the editor-in-chief of the magazine of your life. You kind of half decide, what you want to show of your life. You decide, do I want to show all kinds of things?
Do I want to show the best? At the beginning you decide what you want to show of your life. And then, if you do that for a while you might get into a confusion between – what is your life? Is your life what you show of it? And then you realize, when you have a lot of followers that people don’t know your life. They just know what you write about your life, so, if you actually change what you show on your blog, it’s almost changing your life… Suddenly you get into this situation, where the copy is the original.
I – So, you’ve talked about how there’s something deeper, more of a human connection when it comes to blogging, then what previously was thought. A lot of people meet you, and they love you or even hate you for what you do. There’s so much love and hate in the blogging community. Do you think you deserve it?
Y – Sorry?
I – Do you think you deserve it?
Y – Sometimes I think that I do, sometimes I think that I don’t. Sometimes I feel it’s a little extreme, how much people care…
I – What about love and sex and affection? You cant get that on the internet.
Y – Yes you can. Of course you can. You can get anything.
I – (laughs) It’s not physical.
Y – No I mean, I don’t say that you’re gonna fuck on the web, but you can find any want that you want. You can find someone to date on Twitter if you want. Then its just about meeting the person physically. There’s that detail. It’s the whole social concept. Socialization is possible for anything that you want.
I – So you really think that it is possible to date someone on Twitter?
Y – As I said, it’s possible to meet someone on Twitter, that you might…
I – (interrupts) it happens all the time, but, don’t you think that a lot of people are lacking in this physical connection?
Y – Lacking? No. I don’t think so.
I – Don’t you think that a lot of people spend so much time on their computers and on the internet that they don’t actually have strong physical relationships anymore?
Y – No, I think that that is only in special cases, but most of the people who… I’ve read studies that the more time that you spend on social networks, the more one feels the importance of a social physical life as well. There are exceptions, like wankers, losers, perverts, who really spend a lot of time on porn and who try to be friends with people that they’ve never met, but it’s a special case. We don’t live such an unhealthy life, as what we would like to think.
I – So Face Hunter has more sex now than he did before Face Hunter
Y – Probably. But before Face Hunter had a girlfriend, so…
I – Then how about that? Relationships… it must be so hard for someone who bases their life on…
Y – Being shallow?
I – Huh? Sorry?
Y – No no, tell me….
I – I….. (pause)
Y – I was joking. Ask me.
I – Post-humanists believe that technology is more of an extension to human experience. So, it kind of widens our existence. Before, we existed, and we could only affect the physical things around us. And through the virtual world now, we are allowed to affect a huge network of people, farther than our physical proximities.
Y – I think that our parents generation, they separate themselves from computers. Our generation, we are completely hybrid.
I – To finish this up I am going to ask you some quasi-philosophical question and I need you to answer them as a blogger.
Y – (laughs) that’s horrible!
I – It’s horrible but I need to do it!
Y – Ok, go ahead.
I – What is the world?
Y – What is the world? It’s the world wide web.
I – What is man?
Y – Man is fashion brand.
I – What is truth?
Y – Truth is… (long pause) getting a lot of comments.
I – What is knowledge?
Y – Many hits.
I – How can we know something?
Y – By following me. No! The more you are connected, the more you know things. So it’s by as much as possible creating connections with all kinds of people.
I – What are we in our actuality?
Y – We are a bunch of douchebags, on the internet, trying to have fun.
I laugh and I stop recording. Yvan pounces on his mobile phone. He had been eyeing it most of the time, probably waiting for meeting confirmations and other important Face Hunter-related things. He stares into his phone, and I catch myself staring into him, trying to find things in him that I didn’t even know that I was even looking for. I want to give him a hug, but I’m a little bit scared to disturb him. In a few hours he will leave to catch another flight, walk up and down other streets, and continue his search. I wonder when I will see him again. I feel a little bit sad, but also a little relieved.
Tekst INGRID HOLM
“A year in the life of Face Hunter” is published by Thames and Hudson and is available in select stores worldwide.