April 16-20, 2016: Rock band, Cage The Elephant, features my photos documenting their music video "Trouble" on their Instagram and other social media. My photo of their pre-Grammy performance was also featured on May 6, 2015.
1. Why and when you decided to become a photographer?
After quitting a plush art director job at an NYC advertising agency in 2009, I wanted to seriously start shooting polaroids during the last years that the original film was still available. All the night party scene photographers were starting to get redundant and shooting the same parties. I wanted to capture something other than what they were capturing, I had to find something I haven't seen before. Through a lot of my music scene friends, I started to know a lot of New York's young Upper Eastside crowd. To me this scene was glamorous and tragic at the same time (just like that show Gossip Girl). Super interesting if I could portray it in the right way. A lot of these folks could also afford all the high fashion clothing during a recession and they also lived in residences that were photo shoots waiting to happen. This is where I developed my a lot of my style, opulence with undercurrents.
2. Why you decided use instant camera? Do you prefere one in particular?
I love to make it difficult. Having a very limited amount of shots and technical capabilities, forces you to respect moments much more and makes you very aware of the situation around you. You tend to rely more on instinct, rather than the piece of equipment you are using. The instant format is crude compared to 35mm film or HD digital by far, but I love this. To me that crudeness makes it tangible and very comfortable for people observe. I love the dreamy but familiar quality of instant photos. Like much abstract and modern art, I want the viewer to feel welcomed by its simplicity and imprecise nature. I use an SX-70 and Spectra for natural daylight and a Fuji Instax Wide for flash nighttime.
3. How do you choose shoot subjects ? From where does your inspiration come from?
I truly get inspired by the psychological element that photography brings to the table. When directing a subject, you always have to be conscious of not over-directing and be listening rather than talking. That is super important. Any superficial projections you have of a person are shattered if you patiently await an honest truth to rise from the surface. I think photographers tend to talk way too much during photo shoots, anyways! For me, taking pictures has always been about documenting that silent essence. Watch the Andy Warhol screen tests.
4. Do you photograph professional models or you choose simply beautiful women?
I work with professional models whenever I have a lookbook or publication I'm shooting for. It's just more convenient that way to find somebody in a limited amount of time who looks good with the clothing. Clients are also usually very specific about what "type" of person they what to represent their brand.
But for my personal work, I try to be patient when searching for beautiful women with a certain confidence and spontaneity. I'm looking to portray a life thats gonna be interesting to shoot for a few years or more. I love shooting women from a spectrum of professions as well, not particularly fashion models. I have featured women who are state press secretaries, producers for news networks, web developers, pastry chefs, boutique owners, musicians and city socialites. I always try to use the actual life as a starting point and then start mixing in a lot of fashion, fine art, and advertising influences. A great shot to me is like a lucid dream, equal parts fantasy and reality. I guess I want the viewer to believe fantastic things happen in real life. And they do!
I love making beautiful images, but visually showing an interesting relationship story develop between artist and subject over the course of time is what I'm trying to achieve in the end. I was heavily inspired by Andrew Wyeth's The Helga Pictures at an early age. A relationship that is purely sustained by making beautiful images in it's own little world.
5. Have you some future photo projects?
Im writing a story now about my work to be released on Impossible Project's online magazine. Check that out soon! Planning another lookbook in NYC and a road trip to the Southern United States to for a few photo shoots. The southern magic hour really does last for hours!
interview with Wildwood on 11.17.16
Wildwood table of contents. My interview, first row, second story