Spyros Rennt’s intimate and voyeuristic images archive an excessive queer reality. He flashes his very personal light on brief moments in between Berlin dance floors and bedrooms, on silly fucks, hard dicks, and cold fries.
Hailing from Athens, Greece the self-taught image creator made his way to the German capital in 2011, inspired by the city’s hedonistic lifestyle, brutal architecture and, for a Greek, unusual grey skies. “Of course, Berlin has changed since the first time I visited in 2005 as a young tourist. But it still attracts interesting and open-minded people from all over the world and offers them unique creative opportunities,” Spyros explains in our interview. Coming from a background in engineering, the now 34-year-old seized these opportunities and turned his own passion for photography into a profession.
“Spyros Rennt’s photographs archive a particular hipster queer experience,” reads the preface to his photo book ‘Another Excess, written by Riki Syed, “It’s ecstatic at 3 am and banal the next day.” Still, the relevance of his work is grounded in its indisputable realism. “My photos are a visual diary of my last couple of years depicting my Berlin reality,” Spyros says in our interview, ”It’s about a certain kind of hedonistic lifestyle that’s not just wild parties. It’s full of intimate relationships and tender moments.” The images in “Another Excess” try to capture a feeling of euphoria, that, in Berlin, does not remain singular but can be a repeated experience and a whole attitude towards life.
Instead of forcing a political agenda, the analog-only photographer likes to depict things just the way they are, “As a gay man I have sex with men, and enjoy the male body but live my life as a queer,” Spyros replies, when we probe his visual focus on male bodies, “You can label my photos as gay, queer, youth culture. I document what’s around me. I don’t regulate the percentages.” Instead, his images take interest in catching ephemeral intimacy on film.
“Spyros has that certain way to see a moment, often only a detail, that tells the whole story, “ says personal friend and muse Matthias Panitz, “You can see the intimacy, his relationship to the model, in all of his photos.” Supermarket or nightclub, the young artist always has his camera with him. He portrays friends, lovers, short-term acquaintances, strangers at parties or even his neighbors – like model Nana Kofi.
“I’m actually a very shy person but he is able to make you very comfortable,” the Instagram-charmer explains, “He was willing to share private stuff – relationships, Grindr, fuck boys – which helped me to let down my own walls.” Dancer and erotic performer Valentin Braun agrees: “Spyros is very kind and sensitive, He is observing rather than trying to make things happen, which gives his models the space to act naturally.”
When we ask Spyros himself about his strategy behind the striking intimacy in his photos, he laughs: “You know, you achieve a lot by just being nice.”
Through his raw, candid aesthetic paired with his kind personality, Spyros has made a name of himself that even let him past the guarded thresholds of Berlin clubs despite the cities perpetual no-photo policy. He has photographed infamous parties such as Buttons and Horse Meat Disco and provided the imagery for the kinky party series Buttcocks by SchwuZ, Berlin’s iconic gay club. In the last years his work has gained him over 18 thousand followers on Instagram. But it’s a success that comes with restrictions for a photographer creating queer erotic art.
“I made my name on Instagram but it sucks when you depend on it,” Spyros explains, “It’s a conservative platform and that’s challenging. Can I work with these standards and still create erotic imagery that satisfies my artistic vision? I make the choice to have an account there. So, I choose to play by these rules.”
His photobook “Another Excess” is Spyros’ way to tell his uncensored story in a truly analog way. The book was released on the 26th of September, followed by an exhibition opening on Thursday, 15th of November at gallery M.I/mi1glissé.
And lastly, does excess have a sequel? – Or is there just silence, or another excess after the excess? Spyros laughs: “Haha, yeah, I have enough material for excess 2, and I enjoyed the process of publishing. So, who knows… Just a year ago I never thought this would all be possible. I take it as it comes in life and as does my photography.”
Exhibition: “Another Excess” by Spyros Rennt, Location: M.I/mi1glissé – Auguststr. 10, Berlin Mitte; opening on Thursday 15th Nov.,19-22h until Sunday 18th Nov. (daily from 13h-17h).