You draw comics! How does work with your ambitions as a photographer? Are there any meeting points?
Draw comics! That’s maybe a little too flattering. I can barely draw, and the comics aren’t very good. I think there was about a year where I played with them out of an interest in that form of storytelling- one that basically (at least in my case) reduces ideas to the bare minimum of line and shape. So, right now, I don’t think there’s much competition with photography there. If I could draw and draw well, then it might be a different story.
What was your favourite class in college, and has it shaped your interest in or perception of art in general or photography in specific?
Right now, I can only think of a documentary filmmaking class where discussion lead to the fascinating essay by Errol Morris on Roger Fenton’s Crimean war photographs. The essay deals with which of two photographs was taken first and the truths that the possible sequences imply. I think the inseparable blending of fact and fiction within any photo is very interesting. I definitely find myself leaning toward pictures where the possibility of moments being natural or staged isn’t quite distinguishable. I’m also not that keen on what can be done to a photo on the computer - I’d much rather be given an image that was physically recorded/created and then decide what the reality of it is.
What does a normal day in Kevin Tadge’s life look like?
I don’t even know! Anything can happen. Some days I’m editing videos. Some days I’m on the set of a short film or shooting a wedding or just holed up in my apartment writing or scanning photos or helping friends with projects or out wandering around the city. There’s certainly plenty of variety.
And to what percentage is photography part of your future ambitions? Is it sometimes overruled by wishes to pursue other art forms?
Percentage-wise, I’d say it’s something like 40% photography, 50% film, and 10% writing prose. But they all satisfy different ways of thinking. For me, taking pictures is more like a form of meditation. It’s a way of being present and focusing on what’s around me. Whereas film and writing are like daydreaming. They definitely balance each other out and I feel like I need both sides pretty evenly. But I tend to take pictures as a break from the other.
What really happened on that magical weekend in Knoxville, that led to the foundation of 'The Laser Crab Revue'?
Oh, that… But really, you should ask Jesse. He came to me with the idea and I jumped onboard (and he made up that ridiculous intro/backstory). It seems like we both wanted to do more writing outside of movie scripts. That was probably the key factor.
What do you value most about artist collectives?
Acting as a kind of curator with LaserCrab allowed me to see a lot of work people were doing more or less in secret. Sadly, most of it they didn’t want me to put up, but I was happy they felt like I could be an audience for them, and I hope that in some way I was supporting or furthering their creative endeavors. I’m a little regretful it’s become such a static project. The hope was that it would be both a community and an outlet for sharing stuff after graduation, but it’s basically dried up now. Though maybe it’ll turn phoenix and rise from the ashes. I have some new ideas for features, and I know Jesse has a few things bouncing around in his head.
And which personal goals do you wish to fulfill by engaging in such collectives?
I feel like I’ve started to answer this one already. But personally, I think a collective can create a space for more dialogue about projects in progress. Most people I know, myself included, tend to keep everything they’re making under wraps for as long as possible and even after they’ve finished and the creation has been published or screened, there’s a tendency to want to bury the thing or reject it to some extent. But I think a lot can be learned through a serious give and take about a piece, whether it’s writing or photos or a film or whatever. I guess the goal is to share more - to be more open.
What is the worst part of being in an argument with another artist?
I actually think I like arguing… Arguments are tough in a collaborative relationship, because a lot of the time a compromise isn’t the best solution. The middle ground is usually the least interesting. So you’re stuck fighting it out to the end or you end up with something mediocre. I think the hardest part is when you have your name attached and the piece ends up the opposite of what you wanted.
What defines the dynamics of photography for you?
For me a photo is a kind of balancing act. It has to straddle the implicit and the explicit, the familiar and the new. I think it also needs to be aesthetically pleasing without drifting into just being pretty. It needs a certain amount of mystery. I also tend to be more interested in bodies of work or photo books rather than individual shots. I like the possibilities offered by the interplay between pictures and the potential for a larger narrative to emerge. But there’s no exact formula for why a single image or a group of images works. It’s very case by case. All these questions could have huge answers…
Finally, what are your plans for this summer?
I’ve got two short film scripts that I’m thinking about making. It’s been awhile since I’ve shot a film and I’m starting to get an itch. I have this photo project that might be interesting, insane, impossible, or just terrible. I can’t tell yet. But my eye is really on those movies.
Reality, storytelling, fiction. Take a look at his work!
Do you think that artists should try explaining their work less, but rather leave the commentary/interpretation to their audience?
I totally agree with that. I don’t think it is really necessary to explain your work. I like it when people have their own opinions, impressions, and read my photography individually. It can be so different from the artists message, and what he or she wanted to express with the art piece can deviate significantly from the perception of the audience. And I think this is a part of art. Some people can like my work and some people can dislike it.
Is there a picture that sums up your photographic ambitions? Even if only currently?
A few of H. Cartier Bresson, I love his superb composition. Like this one, and this one.
Also, some of Diane Arbus like this or this one. And then the magic portraits of Mr Mc Ginley: onetwo.
Do you see similarities between photographers and movie directors?
Yes, I do. I love cinema. And I think that movies have a very important impact on my photography. Both cinema and photography (and I) love images, so if you like photography you automatically like cinema. In my opinion it doesn’t matter if photography is about static images or if these are in movement. I really like for example film directors who at the same time are photographers, like Larry Clark, Bruce Weber, and cinematographers like Christopher Doyle, Pung-Leung Kwan, and film directors that they do cinema and video clips like Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze…
What is your favorite line from a movie?
This is a difficult question. I have too many… But one of them could be “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. When I was a child, it was one of my favorite movies! It’s magic, isn’t?
What’s most important in a relationship, no matter of what nature?
Sincerity. First with yourself and then you can be sincere with your friend, your partner or your sister.
And what is better: being left or leaving?
Both cases hurt. If you leave someone, it is because something is not working in your relationship. And it is not easy to do it if you really love.
Best advice ever given to you?
From my grandmother when I started with photography: “Believe in what you love.”
Is there an artist you consider extremely gorgeous as a person himself or herself?
What was your first camera and where did you get it from?
My first camera was a creepy Kodak compact camera, my parents bought me for my 14th birthday. I started taking pictures in order to express my feelings with self-portraits. It was a very bad camera, but it was really helpful.
You have been present on a number of online sites and communities: which of these has been or is your favourite? Why?
My favourite is Flickr for sure; there are a lot of inspiring people there. Websites and communities are very important nowadays because they let you know a lot of artists from every country, but I think we have to be careful in using them, because internet and art communities are making us all look equal, without different personalities.
A lot of artists seem to have a larger artist-contact-group online than in their 'real' everyday life. What's your position on this?
Yes it's true, I know a lot of talented artists online, too, and I think this is a good thing because I can talk and be inspired by an artist from another country in a moment, for example. At the same time, inspiration and influences through other artists are helpful, but they're not so important to me personally, because art has to be personal and instinctive to me.
For pictures: what constitutes the aesthetics of the human body for you?
The human body is beautiful and poetic in every part. I like the harmony and feelings people can express with it. I'm fascinated by faces, hair, legs, hands, movements, skin colours, eyes and more. Amazing things and feelings constitute the human body; we can express happiness, sadness, anger and more with it. This is definitely inspiring to me.
And what draws your attention in photography more: forms or feelings attached to a certain image?
I'm fascinated by feelings for sure. Subjects and light are important elements, but I have seen so many pictures with beautiful subjects and gorgeous lighting detached from any feeling. As I try to catch feelings in my pictures in the first place, I don't mind forms and subjects so much.
There seems to be a very vivid scene of young Italian photographers. Regardless of being part of such a 'scene', what would you say is most 'en vogue' in Italy right now?
If I had to say what is most ‘en vogue’ in Italy right now in photography, I definitely would have to say it’s analogue photography. Analogue media is having a new birth in last years and I’m really happy about it, because from my point of view the digital revolution isn't too positive for photography: I can express feelings that I’m not able to express with my digital camera on analogue rolls. Analogue photography is still the future to me.
How do you plan to implement your engagement in art in your future, professional occupation?
I really hope to become an artist and a real photographer in the future, but now I’m just a wannabe trying to do my best. I'm studying architecture by the way; this is another kind of art I really love. I'm planning to attend some photography classes soon, just to learn more about photography skills but I’m sure that photography is mainly about instincts and inspirations. Nobody can teach you how to take amazing photographs.
Who or what has been inspiring the most lately?
Music and books have been inspiring me since I started taking photographs, but people and light inspire me, too. I like faces, hair, bodies, and expressions; people don't have to be beautiful to be amazing, I like details and I’m inspired by all the gorgeous and different people I can meet walking down the street.
"Everything is art", would you agree?
Mhmm, no, to me, art is in our eyes, in our feelings and in our minds. Something only can be art if we are able to see art in it.
What do you think is most important for a good cooperation between photographer and model?
I think that the most important things for a good cooperation between photographer and model (and good results) are mutual trust/confindence and professionalism. I believe that a good relationship and a nice approach to shooting allows to achieve better results as it gives more freedom for artistic expression on both sides. In the art of portraiture conveying emotions means to interpret the feelings of who you are shooting, so I prefer to photograph the reality rather than encourage my subjects to pose a according to a certain image. The reality is more interesting than fiction, and true feelings are more exciting.
Would you say that the model is an artist him-/herself as well?
Absolutely. For models, personal talent and the ability to convey emotions through the body, face and eyes, are more important than ‘just’ beauty.
Over the years I have worked with very capable people who managed to express what I was looking for. Neither were they not professional models, nor did they have an exceptional beauty or extraordinary aesthetic qualities, but precisely this allowed me to have good results.
Is there a place you visited solely because you had seen it on TV, in a movie or in a picture?
Yes, a lot of places! The Vinales Valley (Cuba) or Bagan (Burma), Espiritu Santo Isla (Baja California, MX) and some other. Looking at hundreds of photographs every day, my imagination is drawn to the special places that, at times, become destinations for my next trip!
Do you enjoy travelling alone, or do you prefer having company?
I usually travel with other people, I love to share experiences and feelings. I think that sharing emotions, experiences and feelings is one the most important side of any kind of trip.
What is it that you do first in order to get more acquainted with something foreign?
I love walking through towns that I don't know, with a map, and maybe get lost. It is often a way to get close and go into unknown territories and cultures different from mine. Another strategy I use to go over and to familiarize is to blend in with the locals, through dress and habits, in markets, cafés or other places where I can try to be something of different than myself.
Do you consider yourself more of a cosmopolitan or rather a traveller in different places?
I definitely feel cosmopolitan, but I'd settle to be considered a polite traveller.
Which way do you mostly choose: the simple or difficult one?
The hard way is always the only way in my life. For some years I have regarded this as a curse of my nature, but now I can understand that it is only one way to approach life and the systems that surround us.
Your worst and best memory of taking photographs?
On my way to photograph and design the image is essentially based on research and reproduction of reality, in the aspects that most appeal to me, but always maintaining the highest possible fidelity to realism and life. For this reason, all the moments that bind me to the photo are, more or less rich in emotions.
I do not have a good time related to photography.
I do not have a bad time relating to photography.
I definitely have many moments relating to photography filled with emotions such as love, longing, luck, and joy.
Is patience a virtue?
Yes, definitely. I think that patience is a virtue and a "divine gift", I envy patient people!
Unfortunately, patience is not my natural virtue, but over time and thanks to the people around me, I have learned (and I am learning every day) the importance of this quality and how to administrate it.
The art of bringing colour through expression. Take a look at his work!