Andres Herren has never been afraid to step outside of his comfort zone. The Swiss photographer is drawn to environments most of his peers would avoid at all costs. The self-taught artist has focused on the gang scene of Los Angeles as one of his main subjects in recent years, fascinated by the parallel society that plays by its own set of rules, speaks a unique language and – perhaps most importantly – is unmistakable in appearance. Ever since 2009, the Zurich native has documented the life of L.A. gangs with an unbiased approach and a clear eye for the essential. In 2012 Herren even managed to portrait the infamous former drug lord “Freeway” Ricky Ross. Both of these projects garnered international attention (Huffington Post, NME Magazine, Spin Magazine).
When Herren is not working in the U.S., he can be found in Switzerland and the rest of Europe, always on the hunt for eccentric subjects. Be it tattoo-covered faces, musicians or pin-up models – Andres Herren is drawn to the unconventional: “Unusual looks tell of an unusual personality. Although the visual aspect is essential in photography, I’m not merely after the superficial. I want my pictures to dig deeper.” This attitude has awarded him the opportunity to work with artists such as Swiss rapper Stress, pin-up model Zoe Scarlett, American rappers The Game and Sick Jacken, as well as actor Danny Trejo.
Herren’s earliest work focused on the inanimate, with automobiles and motorcycles as his main subjects. It wasn’t until a few years later, when the young photographer began shifting his focus to humans: “It was a challenging step for me. All of a sudden, you’re dealing with people that interact with the photographer and the camera. You really have to learn to let your guard down quickly.” Recently, Herren was able to add work for a fashion feature to his already diverse portfolio. While he admits that the fashion world could not be further from the realities of gang culture in L.A., Herren explains that he seeks radical changes in his environment, to keep going and to never fall into the safety of routine.