Sunday, 26 September 2010

Riccardo Nava

Riccardo Nava
Monza, Italy

The work shown on your website is organized under what appear to be logical themes: the pictures quite explicitly refer to the name of the sets they belong to. Is simplicity something you aspire or what concept is behind all this?

I think that simplicity is the best way to show photography that doesn't need to be explained. I'm also working on other projects that aren’t online for now: my site is constantly being updated.

So what are you working on in your current projects?

I've many ideas and plans for the future, but for now it’s all secret...

What we're looking at here belongs to the set "food". What did you want to capture in this project?

The food set is an infinite project, it was born to capture the personalities of dinner tables and their particularities, which form suggestive images. I intended to explore the aesthetics of shapes, colours and other things on the tables.

As we're talking about food, which of the meals was actually the tastiest?

Honestly, I don't remember! The pictures are there to celebrate not the tastes, but really the personalities of the tables.

What kind of photography do you enjoy looking at yourself?

I often look at independent magazines or fanzines, but I don’t have a favourite genre.

Would you say that nowerdays it's necessary for artists to have a website of their work?

Yes, we can't live without the internet.

You live in Italy: is there a cliché about Italians you would like to see corrected? And which one is actually true?

I think it's very poor to classify a country with commonplaces, so the best way is to
appreciate person by person, because everyone is different.

What could be your ultimate goal in photography?

I'm a big fan of independent magazines, so I could imagine to work for one of these.

Straightforward and self-explanatory. Take a look at his work!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Scott W. H. Young

Scott W. H. Young
New York

Can photography be a form of escapism?

Oh certainly. A photograph has the power to take both the viewer and the photographer to places they've never been or never even knew existed.
The photographs that I'm drawn to the most are those that allow me to see a familiar thing in an unfamiliar way. That's something that I'm working on right now with my own photography, finding revelation in the everyday.

How did you come up with your project "from above"?

It began with a particular photograph that showed what was to me a striking perspective of the city sidewalk. I wanted to continue exploring this point of view. I'm still now working out just how many different ways I can take a photograph from above.

Do you prefer to work alone or do you enjoy collaborations or the assistance/company of other artists?

While I enjoy working alone and exploring my ideas in my own ways, I think that collaborations are important for expanding and refining my knowledge and my skill set. I find that sharing ideas with others is a great way to develop my own thoughts and goals.
And I definitely love being in the company of artists. I don't quite consider myself an artist just yet, as I'm still searching for what it is exactly I want to say with my work, but being around and speaking with other artists lets me see how they view the world and how they communicate their own thoughts and ideas. Always fascinating.

If you were to publish a book of your work, what would you name it?

Self and Unself

Your favourite line from a book/movie/song? 

I've recently been listening to "The Dodos." Their song "Winter" is about loss and loneliness. They sing, "My friends they understand me better, but they don't whisper goodnight" and "Your love might be the last time that I try."
I've also been reading Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. A beautiful passage comes in the middle of the third part that speaks to the value of hard work and the importance of connecting to your environment. One of the central characters, who owns a large farm, begins mowing one of his fields by hand. He becomes super focused and determined to complete his task and he soon starts to feel a spiritual connection between his toiling body and the earth beneath him. The passage concludes with, "The scythe seemed to mow itself. Those were happy moments."
And as for movies, I think that Woody Allen's "Love and Death" is just hilarious. I would end up quoting the entire movie if I had to choose a favorite.

What do you cherish most about nature photography (or simply taking pictures outdoors)?

I enjoy nature as a counterpoint to the city. Taking photographs outdoors in New York City, which is one of my favorite activities, allows me to explore and discover how we've altered our natural environment and how we interact with our new urban surroundings. Also I love tall buildings.

Do you ever miss elementary/highschool?

I sometimes miss the friendships of high school and I always miss the carefree spirit of elementary school.

Is there some ingredients that will, with a high probability, guarantee a good picture?

When I take a photo of something that I love, it will always turn out well.

Why do you think photographers often deem traveling so important for themselves and their work?

Traveling presents a wonderful opportunity for experiencing and understanding new people, new environments, new colors, new light. I've found by my own traveling that I've been able to broaden not only my ideas of what photography can be but also my ideas on what human interactions with each other and their environment can be. Yay traveling!

For you, what's the best season for traveling?

The sunny season :)

Light, city, dust, smoke and fresh air. Take a look at his work!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Jazzmine Lorraine Evans

Jazzmine Lorraine Evans
Melbourne, Australia

What is your book "The Adventures of my Camera" about?

A few years ago I started a photography project that involved me taking a picture every two hours from 9am until 9am for a year – it was all shot on film. I wanted to make a book out of all of those images but it was just too big of a project so I decided to narrow it down and scan all of the most interesting images over the past few years and that is how the adventures of my camera came about. It took me a really long time to actually stop procrastinating and get it all together. I finished the book in late July 2010. It is 274 pages of back to back images all shot on film and scanned over a period of months and months (and many cups of tea) and was made by myself.

In what context did this project emerge?

It emerged because of peer pressure, people telling me I should do something with my photography and me feeling guilty for not doing so! Haha.

What concept/thought lies behind the plan of taking pictures every two hours from 9am until 9am for a year?

It started as an initiative to help me to maintain taking pictures. I didn’t want to become one of those people that finished study and lost their passion. As I got more involved it became more of a personal documentation process. For example; I didn’t cut my hair for the year, I had a girlfriend for the majority of the time that I was taking the pictures and as you could imagine she was in quite a few of them and all of a sudden she was gone, no longer in the images. It also documented how routine life really is.

Looking at your project, one presumes that most of the pictures taken were spontaneously: was it so, or did you also incorporate some planned images that you developed along the way?

I would not say they are spontaneous but on the other hand I do not plan out pictures in a way that a fashion photographer may. For me the image I am looking for already exists in my mind and I wait patiently until I feel that image is about to emerge and that is when I take the picture. I don’t ever just take 10 pictures. I usually only ever take one maybe two at a time.

In the "about" section of your portfolio you write that you think of photography as a way of reinventing the past. What do you mean by "reinventing"?

The year project that I undertook really made me realise that all of what happens in life has already been done before, well most of it. Though my images I started to see that the mundane and the exciting were always reflected but maybe in different ways each time. Also I know that when I look at certain images it takes me back to a point in my life, it may be a positive or a negative point. It is a process that helps me reflect on where I am going, how I am going to get there and how I am going to do it differently then the first time around. For me, that is how photography reinvents the past...

And what is scarier: future or the past?

The past is way more scary then the future. I like the unknown.

How did you get involved in photography in the first place?

I have been taking pictures since I was about 8, photography has always been a way for me to document what is going on around me. It started with me documenting my mother and over the years I have continued to do that but instead of my family I mostly take pictures of the people that come in and out of my life.

So you've been involved in photography for quite a long time. Would you say that your work developed continuously or took inspirational leaps from time to time?

I think my photographic style has always been the same in that my images often do appear as spontaneous. What I have realised though is that all the images I take are a reflection of how I felt in that moment or of the people that are in my life at the time. Overtime the people change but I feel that my general vision is always represented. In 20 years I am sure I will not be taking pictures of 25 year olds, I will be taking pictures of the people that are in my life 20 years from now. Looking back on previous images is what inspires me to create more.

Do you have further projects you are planning or working on currently?

I am planning on moving to London next year and am very excited to see some of the images I will take of the crazy adventure called life!

Take a look at her work!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Michael Barolet

Michael Barolet
New York / Washington DC

How does photography fit into your everyday life?

Photography is a huge part of my life.  I carry a camera with me at all times.  Even if I am not physically making photographs, I am looking at photos.  I try to surround myself with it.

Some of your portraits remind of vintage nude portraits - I was thinking of Edwin Bower Hesser for instance - or even paintings from earlier epochs. Have you ever considered these as an inspirational input for your work?

Not really to be honest.  I always found a lot of vintage nudes to be a bit over the top.  As if the model was trying to yell "look at me!!! Im naked!!!"  Many vintage nudes were nudes for the sake of being nudes.  I am just as happy photographing someone with their clothes on as without.  I do however prefer the nude simply because it strips the sitter of anything they can hide behind.  I want the people in my photographs to be one hundred percent themselves.
My biggest influences for my portraits are Emmet Gowin, Sally Mann, Andrea Modica, Edward Weston, and Jock Sturges.

Although you shoot both in colour and black/white, your preference seems to be the last one. Is there a specific reason for this?

Yes and No.  When I started shooting with the 8x10" camera I couldn't afford color sheet film that size.  It was about fifty or sixty dollars for ten sheets.  Then you had to have it processed, which cost about six dollars a sheet.  For that reason I shot black and white and processed it myself.  I do believe though that color can distract the viewer from the photograph.  If you have to much going on in a photo, the viewer can get lost.
I have been shooting a series in color on medium format over the last few years which I show sometimes.  But I am waiting to finish the project before I show it as a whole.  Also, I shot a bit of 8x10" color this summer which I will be showing soon.

When choosing location(s) for a shoot, how do you go about deciding?

I don't.  I currently live in a fairly secluded area in the suburbs of Washington DC.  Most of the area surrounding me is (or was) farmland and woodland with lots of rivers and quarries.  When my friends and models come out to shoot, I just ask them what they want to do.  If they want to swim, we go to a quarry or river.  If they want to hike or explore, we go in the woods.
I actually shoot very little when doing a "shoot".  Most of the time is spent hanging out and spending time with each other.   If I see a potential photo, I have whoever is in the photo freeze and I set up and make an exposure. 

In your series "Finding solitude" one gets the impression of wandering quietly through nature oneself, as opposed to seeing portrayals of models doing so. In this way I felt the pictures were integrating the viewer into its vision to some degree and thus have an inclusive character - was this something you had set out to do?

That series was a fairly difficult project for me to work on.  The project started out as me returning to and photographing areas where I had spent time with my recently deceased brother.  After a while I found myself wandering away from the areas I had come to photograph and that I was taking photos of other areas.  Soon, I ended up going out to shoot every afternoon right before sundown during the summer months.  It was at this time that the humidity was especially thick and the sun would create soft rays through the trees. 
I want the viewer to feel the solitude that I felt while making these photos.  I can only hope that I succeeded.

Nature seems to play a big part in your work. Wherein lies your interest here?

I was raised with nature around me.  It has a big impact on my work and my life.  I always figured that because its already here, I might as well use it to my advantage. 

If you were to radically break with your present body of work and try something completely new and different - what would that be?

I am getting ready to do just that.  In the coming winter months I will be working on a new series of studio photographs.  I will still be shooting on the 8x10" and it will be in black and white, but it will be like nothing I have ever done before, and like nothing anyone else has done before. I really hope to turn some heads with this project.  I have been planning it out for some time now.  Keep an eye on my website and I hope to have a small sampling of the work up by the end of winter.

Do you think that artists need 'sabbatical breaks' for inspirational regeneration?

I do.  It is easy to get overwhelmed if you do something day in and day out for too long.  I don't however, think that you should stop your craft all together.  That's why I like to switch things up and have several different projects going at one time.  If I get tired of one thing, I just work on something else.  I find that by doing this, I am less likely to get lazy or give up on a project all together. 
I still would like to return to my "Finding Solitude" series.  I worked on it for three summers in a row and I needed a break from it.  I do plan picking up where I left off at some point though.

In retrospect, people like to appoint cities as the capitals of certain art periods. If you could choose one city or region for the present days and art, which one would it be?

I believe that the current art capital as well as the cultural capital of the world is New York City.  It's a central hub for so much in the art world. Because of this, I think it sees more different types of art then any other city.  This is of course, my personal opinion.

In you opinion, is photography storytelling to some degree?

I do believe photography can tell a story.  Several photographers whose work I have enjoyed over the years do a great job at telling stories with their photos.  Francesca Woodman, Duane Michals, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard all created work that was funny, satirical and haunting.  I highly recommend all three photographers.

Where do you see yourself in, let's say, 15 years, and where would you like to be?

I must be honest and say I don't know where I will be.  I do know that 15 years ago, the last thing I ever thought I would be was a photographer. 
I can only hope that people will enjoy looking at my work and that I can influence others.  I would like to publish and show my work more widely between now and then.  But if I concentrate too much on what will happen 15 years from now, that would mean that i'm not concentrating on what is going on in my life now.

Body Aesthetics. Take a look at his work!