Saturday, 27 October 2012

Luca Massaccesi

currently Cambridge, UK

What intrigues you most about the interaction between landscapes or surroundings and people?

I always loved peaceful places where nothing is “polluted” by the human touch. Also, I really hope that photographing this ‘freedom’ can explain my personal desire for freedom. Pursuing photography I discovered that you can’t understand any place if you don’t have a look at all the things, people or whatever that makes this place alive, as well. What I am trying to do is to present and explain all these mixed compositions that I find.

What do you want to catch in this context and how do you go about doing it most of the times?

I try to catch that moment, that one feeling, which seems to explain everything and with which things appear to be easier and simpler. I think that images have the power to explain a bit of what you’re feeling inside. I don’t really reach this goal every time, and perhaps I never reach it.

What was the collaboration with your brother about?

It’s an artistic collaboration, which began many years ago. My brother is my twin brother and even though we piss each other off most of the times, we still have a strangely strong bond. Our collaboration started with our Brand D’ANDY: we were involved in designing t-shirts and clothes after high school.  Later we changed our focus and now we use this brand just for photography works - especially wedding photography. Maybe I should explain my passion for the arts and the importance of collaboration with my brother a little bit more: I had always been interested in taking pictures and in video making. When I was little, I had been shooting pictures with an old Minolta. It was when I was 18, that I got my first digital camera and that I re-discovered my old enthusiasm for photography thanks to my brother. It's a passion that moves me to document this amazing world and makes me feel very comfortable.

What do you enjoy most about working with your brother?

It means that I can work together with a graduate student for art direction and photography at the ISIA (Italy) and at ECAL of Lausanne every day. In this context all assistance has come to be a new experience for me to improve myself. I like to work in this ‘fancy’ job, but more than that, I like that I continuously learn something new. I honestly have to say: I’m very lucky to be in this position. And just at the side, I think they do an amazing job and they really deserve the attention that they’re starting to get. And I really am not just saying this to support my brother.

You recently moved back to the UK?

After a year far from the UK I got back here at the beginning of October. This time I am in Cambridge to pursue a project parallel to my university studies. It’s not a coincidence, because I always choose my destination with paying particular attention to my interests in photography. For around 6 months I will use my day off from work to develop some new projects and to finish others that I had started in 2011.

What are your working on currently?

I never work on one single project, because I don’t like to be static and to lock my mind with a specific point of view.  Last summer I started a huge project about isolation and rural life and I want to concentrate on some ancient villages in my country. The project is still on fire and I guess it will a major interest of mine for a long time. I’ll let you know about it in the future. Here in the UK I’m finishing some works that I had started in  2011. They are about video making, so I’m ‘sailing out’ to learn more about the for me yet ‘undiscovered lands’ of short movies. I’m at the second stage of the series “with you”, which you can see on my YouTube channel. And besides such bigger projects, I try to do some good blogging everyday.

Have you had moments where you regretted or doubted your choice of having picked up the profession of a photographer?

I have never had moments of doubt about picking up this road, because in my opinion, I have never really ‘pursued’ it seriously as a profession. Yes, sometimes I have had regrets, but they were not about photography, but rather about other choices I made in my life. To me, photography and visual arts are just my personal way to show the world what I see. I don’t consider myself a photographer, I take some good pictures sometimes.

How many language do you speak?

Well, Italian is my mother tongue. When I’m satisfied with my English, I’ll might start to learn another language.

How many important is for you to interact and exchange with other artists?

I wouldn’t say it’s important, I would argue that it’s essential. Exchange is necessary: reading, watching and chatting about everybody with everybody. It’s the only way to discover something new. It’s vital for my work, because I take pictures not just because I fancy doing that, but because I really like to discover new things and ideas. And it doesn’t matter if the people or artists you exchange with or talk about are popular or not.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years, on a Saturday afternoon?

I really don’t know. Thinking about the future is not so easy, especially not in this period. But well, winter is approaching, so hopefully I’ll be spending my Saturday afternoon 5 years from now on a ski track taking pictures of my son while teaching him skiing very well at the same time!

Documenting and exchanging about it. Take a look at his work!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Huy Le

Melbourne, Australia

What or who led you to photography?

My father - before he had my siblings and me, he undertook some photography classes and would use my mum as his 'model' for his portraiture projects. It was only when I started high school that I found some boxes filled with slides and negatives from these shoots: photographs of my mother, the various parks/streets in the area they lived in, etc. ... It made me sad to think what could have happened had he pursued being a photographer. It’s a shame, because I feel like he sort of had to give up on it once he started a family. In a strange way, I want to keep his passion alive through my own photography.
With that said, I had always liked taking photos as a kid (with a electronic compact camera) but it reached a point where I was annoyed with having prints with the date burnt onto the image. So I asked my dad to teach me how to use his Nikon EM SLR and I haven't looked back since. It was a combination of both that cultivated my love for photography to this day: my dad’s influence and my love for making artwork or film posters on Photoshop during high school.

A lot of your pictures were taken on trips with friends. Does your photographic work simultaneously function as a way to document these?

Nostalgia - for better or worse - is one of the driving influences in my life and I feel taking photographs has been an effective way for me to not only document what’s going on in my life, but also to relive these moments in a strange way. I’ve always felt more comfortable shooting when I was out and about and not restricted to a confined space such as a studio. Cartier-Bresson’s concept of the ‘decisive moment’ is something I’ve always strived to achieve in my work and it’s the reason why I’ve always felt best when I was taking shots of my friends with gorgeous scenery as the backdrop.

What are your trips about?

To be honest, had you asked me this a few months back I wouldn’t have a clue on how to answer this question. This might come as a shock to those who know how much time I spend at a computer, but I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors and always liked going on road trips to check out nice parks and what not. It was only when we started going camping and more people started coming along that I realised what a great way it was to reconnect with old friends and to do something different from the messy drink-ups we usually have. Many of us had this feeling that 2012 would be a big year and it truly amazes me how much I've experienced and accomplished within the time-span of 9 months. Camping with friends, seeing new sights - it's really about making new memories to cherish in the future, I believe.

So nature is a big theme in your work. What fascinates you about the outdoors?

I like to think it's a combination of both elements that are everlasting and ephemeral at the same time. There's a sense of wonder when you travel through a forest with trees that are over 1000 years old, you begin to realise how much our lives can be minuscule compared to what nature has gone through over all those years. There's a Japanese term called 'mono no aware' which basically describes an awareness of all things impermanent and a gentle sadness at their passing. The changing colours of the autumn leaves, the beauty in seeing the cherry blossoms in bloom before they disappear - it's the beauty in knowing that not everything lasts forever. It's something that profoundly changed the way I saw the world and what feeds into my own photographic works, as well.
Furthermore, one of the things I look forward to on our trips is seeing the sun rise during the morning; sitting on top of a cliff with a cup of tea, music playing in the background - depending on how excited we are - and just seeing the colours of the sky change as the scenery around us becomes illuminated by the sun. Words simply cannot describe the whole experience. Simple experiences like watching the sun rise is something not many people get to experience or truly appreciate, although it's an event that occurs everyday. Clich├ęd as it may sound, sometimes you have to leave the comfort of your own home to truly appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

If you were to name a muse or particular source of inspiration, who or what would it be?

In terms of a muse(s), I’d say my friends. We're all camwhores at heart, well most of us anyway, and it's a laugh when you see some people subconsciously start posing when they know a camera is around. It definitely applies to my mate Neil who has got to be one of the most photogenic guys I know, yet he also happens to be one of the most funniest and clueless guys at the same time. Generally I also like taking photos of my home life; my little brother used to be my model when he was a kid, but nowadays it's either my mum or the kids she babysits. Children in general are great photographic subjects; have a browse through Instagram and you'll see that some of the most heartfelt images are the ones that mother's have taken of their kids. Still, some of my favourite photographers tend to have girlfriends as their muses and I feel sometimes these intimate connections you have with others can result in some of the most emotive and beautiful photographs. Maybe one day that'll apply for me, too, I'm hopeful!
Do you make music playlists for your road trips? If so, who did you listen to on your latest adventure

I take pride in creating playlists for the road trips we go on, because let’s face it, driving can be a bore, so it’s good to have something to pump you up. One of the greatest joys I’ve experienced is seeing the excitement when my friends hear a song they haven’t heard in years and hearing the memories associated with it. The music we listened to growing up plays a great deal in shaping who we are and I can’t thank my parents enough for raising me on good old 80’s classics during my younger years.
            In terms of the last ‘planned’ road trip, which was our stargazing trip down the Great Ocean Road, my friend made a mix which had a combination of hip-hop, dance and 80’s power ballads. One songs that I hadn’t heard in a long time was Leo Sayer’s ‘More Than I Can Say’ which was a karaoke favourite of ours back when we were kids. But besides my mixes, I usually just tune into Smooth FM 91.5, which has got to be one of the best radio stations in Australia. Generally it plays everything that would appear on the Raye's Outdoors Mix (which I'm currently working on). There’s nothing better than singing along to cheesy love songs with your mate(s) whilst cruising around late at night!

What do you enjoy most about camping? Are there any downsides?

For one, I think that the feeling of being disconnected from technology and being able to reconnect with nature is something I feel very strongly about. A few days in the wilderness and I feel great not surfing on the Internet, but then again, if my Internet gets cut off for a day then I go crazy. It’s kind of sad when you realise how dependent we are on technology. I believe  that you sometimes have to escape it all in order to really appreciate the finer things in life.
            With that being said, there are many downsides when it comes to camping. Sleeping on rocky ground has got to be the worst, even if you have a mat underneath. The weather in Melbourne is pretty ridiculous, so camping in the rain was not exactly the most pleasant of experiences. Running out of water, overpriced groceries, the list goes on! But the way I like to look at it is simple: it’s all a story to tell regardless of whether it’s good or bad. Because sometimes the epic fails we experience during our trips are some of the funniest stories to share with others afterwards.

You live in Melbourne. What would you advice a visitor staying one day to see in the city?

First off, avoid all touristy areas: Melbourne Central, Federation Square, etc. to name a few. Explore the alleyways and backstreets. Melbourne is renowned for having some great restaurants and stores but you have to go out and really look for these places. My checklist: have a picnic at Carlton Gardens, buy a few magazines from Magnation and have some 'after work' drinks at some fancy bar/restaurant. And this is just the CBD, there are so many other awesome places to check out in suburbs such as Brunswick, South Yarra and Yarraville, as well.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully I’ll be doing something productive with my life! Honestly, I would like to see myself growing as a photographer and maybe working in the print industry. To be featured on Kinfolk magazine is a dream of mine, too.

Take a chance, make a trip, don't forget your camera. Take a look at his work!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Chelsee Ivan

Toronto, Canada

When you lose your inspiration, what is it that draws you back to photography most of the times?

Usually it comes back when my life shifts in a good direction.

Do you ever go searching for inspiration on purpose?

Definitely, my favourite way of going about it is by taking long drives late at night, where thinking is forced.

Do you actually like to talk about your work? Or about the works of others for that matter?

Honestly, no.

Is there a book you'd like to design the cover art for?

VC Andrews' The Flowers in the Attic trilogy.

What do you like most about the city you live in?

I've been in Toronto for six months, and I still haven't decided.

If you ever had to move, what would most probably be the reason for this change?

New opportunities.

Do you ever feel like you consciously have to make time for photography during everyday life?

Seventy five per cent of the time it happens easily. But when it's the rest of the time – yes, I do.

Lightness. Take a look at her work!

You might also want to check out her exchange of photographs with Matthew Tammaro here.