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I was born in Buffalo, New York on the snowiest day of 1988 to Holly & Larry – a restaurant manager and a train repairman.
My earliest memories were of the cultural ephemera that now plays a central theme in my fascination with the world – old Italian men sitting on plastic stools outside the corner cafe playing checkers; abandoned factories that used to harbor the workforce of the city (yet still buzzing with energy); small, front-lawn gardens immaculately manicured with scissors on Sunday mornings, sitting adjacent to vacant lots filled with yesterdays trash and the occasional syringe.
By age 5 we packed up and moved to a Pleasantville-like setting – a historic village filled with polite people, smiling children, a modest backyard and a swelling flood of trees.
I was a difficult child, always feeling slightly out of place, so I spent the next 12 years testing my parents patience and questioning every single convention that authority could throw at me. We didn’t have an art program so I spent most of my time speaking out of turn or quietly watching from the corner, taking notes on little things that seemed human and could validate that I was, in fact, in the same room as the heat-seeping bodies around me.
After that I went to an over-priced art school in Boston and took the train at 5am to New York almost daily, where I freelanced as a graphic designer/video editor/whatever-media-you’d-be-willing-to-pay-me-for. I always had trouble sitting still, and found a way to keep in constant motion, so by 18 had started traveling to Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand a few times a year, shooting whatever assignments would pay for the ticket to get out of the mundane.
I ended up photographing for a few record labels, and even convinced a few people to fund some short films. I started directing music videos and the occasional commercial spot, taking on more social documentary work and private commissions to fill every moment of free time. Since 2010 I’ve lived between New York and Bali, Indonesia, balancing two different worlds; inspecting them in constant comparison to each other, to create a spark, whenever needed. I feel at my best always being half in one world, half in another. The camera as a tool allows me to make sense of these otherwise disparate realities. A human thread runs through every moment, as meditations on life in times of subversion, trial, and disaster become answers to the everyday, only magnified by lens or circumstance.

www.cargocollective.com/mlawrence
@mrmlawrence (twitter)

When and how did you become interested in Photography?

I figured out the concept of a “frame” while looking through train windows on a trip around the US. I think I was 16.

What gear do you mainly shoot with?

Whatever fits the subject/whatever I can find! Disposable cameras, cell phones, an old Olympus Pen E, the beautiful Ms. Holga, a pair of Hassellblad 500cm’s, a Konica 35mm from a garage sale. Occasionally I get fancy and use a digi Nikon. I’ve been playing with a Tachinara a bit lately. A lot of b/w. Mostly available light. Always primes.

What is your #1 source of inspiration?

There are far too many! Our world is over-saturated with all kinds of imagery, all kinds of sensory experiences. They can all translate to a photograph, a film…. it just depends on how you metabolize them.
But I would say, my #1 trigger, how I get in the zone – is music.

Many times photographers find themselves with a full schedule of paying gigs, ending up with little time for doing the work they truly love. Do you struggle with finding time for your personal work?

I make sure that it all feels like personal work. It has to be or I wouldn’t do a good job.

What is your all time favorite genre to shoot (portraiture, conceptual, documentary, commercial, etc..)?

I suppose everything that I shoot is a form of portraiture. I’m interested in interactions with people, and the camera as a secondary tool. My work spans across documentary, editorial, and commercial mediums, though I admittedly try to use all of them as a way to frame my view on the world, to get an idea out there.

Do you have any upcoming shows or events you want our readers to know about?

Right now I’m shooting this short film/music video in Bali, for Emil & Friends, a band in Brooklyn. Years of images crammed into a pretty surreal 7 minutes. I suppose it’s a very personal piece. The guys at Cantora have been very supportive – they seem to really treat artists with respect.
We’ve worked together over the past few years on a number of projects, and I’m always excited by what comes out of it. I think we really push each other to do our best work.
I also just found out that I have a show going up next spring in Australia – portraits I did with SurfAid International in the aftermath of the 2010 Mentawai Tsunami. There’s also talks on the table about a monograph being released here in Indonesia – for an ongoing project that I’ve been shooting across Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and Bali over the last few years. Not sure about dates yet – when I have more information I’ll put it up on my website.

What is the one thing you feel makes your style or your work unique?

I really try to spend time with my subjects. I make every attempt to understand them, to have them open up, to trust me. To show me the scars, the insecurities – I show them mine too.

if you could photograph anyone, (past/present/future), who would it be and why?

I’d love to have a beer with Vincent Gallo, and talk about missed field goals.

what’s your dream photo field trip?

There isn’t a place in the world that I wouldn’t go, or haven’t thought of going….. but right now, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to take a good 6 months to walk across Mongolia, traveling with nomads – West to East.

what’s your post production process?

Very limited. I find that computers don’t last long in my bag (or in the tropical climate here). I try to keep it simple. Film answers most of that for you. If it’s digital, I do a bit of tweaking in Aperture 3 – mostly curves, a bit of toning.

if you had unlimited resources to purchase any type of camera, what would it be and why?

I have to say that I’ve considered selling a kidney to get my hands on a Polaroid 20×24. I’d also be willing to donate some blood for a Leica M9 and Zeiss primes.

who are your favorite photographers and why?

Martin Schoeller – his manipulation of the camera as an apparatus.
Irving Penn – his light.
Nan Goldin – her subjects.
I also think Mikael Kennedy is doing some outstanding work at the moment.

what has been the shining moment of your career thus far?

I don’t ever think that I’ve really had that moment yet. I hope it’s around the corner.

do you have any tips/tricks or advice for amateur photo nerds who are looking to shoot full time or students who are just starting out?

Force yourself to be totally uncomfortable; at that point, the only way to transcend fear is to press the shutter.

what’s the soundtrack to your life and/or your favorite music to listen to while editing?

I have a lot of friends in many an unheard of band. I listen to a lot of their music.
A few from today, definitely worth checking out:
Velvet Davenport
Bibio
Guards
Lately I’ve been revisiting the soundtracks of old Satyajit Ray films.

what’s your favorite hang?

I find small pieces of home all over the globe, but tend to be attracted to the dive bars (and subsequent late-night/early morning diners) where the eccentric and misunderstood convene. A few notables :: Croke Park–>Mul’s (Whitey’s) in South Boston; The Bar Bill—>Charlie’s Diner in East Aurora, NY; a few little wooden pubs in Shibuya—> all night Yakitori in Kubikicho.

best chow (meal/snack) to get you ready for a shoot?

Big, greasy diner breakfasts and black coffee run in my blood. It’s the perfect way to start every day (or end some long nights).

will you share with us one of your favorite shots?

It’s from a few years back. My father looked at me, and told me he was proud of me. It was right before he went out at 9p to go work in the -15F cold. If I’ve ever had a “big break”, that felt like it.

your favorite photo by another photographer?

I collect bits of visual inspiration across different mediums every day – I keep them in binders or scattered across my computer. It all influences me; I’m continually amazed by the great work out there. Today I was looking at some of Ryan Pfluger’s work – this image jumped out at me. It captures the subject in such a delicate moment. It’s a true interaction.

has your passion for photography changed at all since turning “pro”?

Absolutely not. I still work to support a hobby/addiction – I just get to shoot more film now.

do you have a favorite / lucky item of clothing, outfit or uniform that you like to wear when shooting an important assignment or project?

I always carry a few small items from my family with me – small reminders of (at times) a distant place.

are you a photography nerd or a camera gangsta?

I’d say I’m a person who is interested in people, and happens to own a camera. Gangsta I guess?

what’s your sign?

Sagittarius

who would you like to see interviewed by photopolus next?

my friend Mitch Weiss, up in Boston. Stunning portraitist. Attention to lighting and detail (as well as his shooting method) remind me of Karsh.




©MichaelLawrence

If you are a photographer and would like to be featured as a future/potential Art Star on our blog, email us!
at info@photopolus.com or ange@angefitzgerald.com
subject: Art Star
please include a link to your website and examples of your work

____

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Alex Welsh is a documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. His interest in photography lies in its ability to examine longstanding systemic problems in society and establish a dialogue with audiences to confront those issues. His clients include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Fader, Businessweek, Nike, FYLP Media and The Oakland Tribune.

alexwelshphoto.com

When and how did you become interested in Photography?

I became interested in photojournalism when I went to see Sebastio Salgado speak at Berkley about his work on Famine in the Sahel. At the time I was a History major in college, but I was drawn to photojournalism as a way to be on the front line of the world’s contemporary social issues

What gear do you mainly shoot with?

I really only shoot with a Canon 5d, I used to shoot some film but have lost interest in doing so. Don’t hate.

What is your #1 source of inspiration?

I don’t really have a number one source of inspiration, there are so many great documentary photographers whose work I love, but also my family and friends, hip hop, my bike, public radio, people I meet through my work, movies, anything really.

Many times photographers find themselves with a full schedule of paying gigs, ending up with little time for doing the work they truly love. Do you struggle with finding time for your personal work?

No.

What is your all time favorite genre to shoot?

Documentary.

What is the one thing you feel makes your style or your work unique?

I don’t really know if I have a unique style, and in terms of the work itself I’m not really sure what makes it unique yet, I think that is something I am constantly trying to figure out. The struggle with documentary work is to tell a new story within the framework of a story that has already been told a million ways.

if you could photograph anyone, (past/present/future), who would it be and why?

My mom used to sing opera, I would love to go back in time and photograph her in her 20’s when was singing. Although I think she sees it as another lifetime, hearing her stories about when she was my age is deeply inspiring in a way nothing else can be.

what’s your dream photo field trip?

I just had a really good one visiting San Francisco for a month. Can’t be beat.

what’s your post production process?

Not much, just put them on my computer and do some light toning. Boom baby.

if you had unlimited resources to purchase any type of camera, what would it be and why?

One that I could live in rent free forever.

who are your favorite photographers and why?

I go through phases, right now I love Peter Van Agtmael, Malick Sidibe, Eli Reed and Justin Maxon.

what has been the shining moment of your career thus far?

I don’t really have one shining moment, I cared about my work in Hunters Point very much, it changed my life in many ways, so I would say that has been my favorite so far.

do you have any tips/tricks or advice for amateur photo nerds who are looking to shoot full time or students who are just starting out?

I think the best advice I received was that great photography isn’t really about photography at all.

what’s the soundtrack to your life and/or your favorite music to listen to while editing?

I listen to a lot of rap and hip-hop. There. I said it.

what’s your favorite hang (when shooting or not)?

Working or not working, a dance party.

best chow (meal/snack) to get you ready for a shoot? or best way to celebrate a brilliant capture?

I’m a fan of eating while I take pictures.

will you share with us one of your favorite shots?

This is one of my favorite shots because it was just a really great dance party. It was in the Westpoint projects at the reception of a young man who was killed. Some of the kids were playing music out of the car, a song came on, and spontaneously everyone started dancing. I remember being really happy when I took the picture.

Hunters Point, 'We Out Here'

your favorite photo by another photographer?

I love this photo by Christian Hansen, I think its fantastically dreamlike and surreal, and I think Christian is one of the only contemporary photographers who has the ability to communicate in this way.

©ChristianHansen

has your passion for photography changed at all since turning “pro”?

I don’t think its really changed, I think my approach has become more realistic. I also don’t know if I would consider myself a ‘pro’

do you have a favorite / lucky item of clothing, outfit or uniform that you like to wear when shooting an important assignment or project?

I have a lucky camera strap, if I lost my camera, I would be more bummed on losing the strap.

are you a photography nerd or a camera gangsta?

I can’t psychoanalyze myself that deeply.

what’s your sign?

Leo

who would you like to see interviewed by photopolus next?

Bryan Derballa

A child watches as the playground at the Alice Griffith 'Double Rock' projects burns to the ground after being set on fire. Although it his highly suspected that the arson was done by young residents of the projects, police never discovered the culprit. Double Rock is slated for redevelopment in 2011, and residents must stay in 'good standing' with the housing authority and the developer Lennar to be eligible for a unit in the new development.Hunters Point is the last predominantly African-American neighborhood in San Francisco. Out of all major cities in the United States, San Francisco is currently experiencing the fastest out-migration of African-Americans; who currently make up only 6 percent of the population compared to 14 percent in the past several decades. With the Mayor and the Housing Authority fast-tracking the 'revitalization' of the southeastern neighborhood of the city, the remaining poor living in the public housing sprawls on the bay may see a community they have lived in for the past 60 years become too expensive for them to stay in.At the heart of gentrification, Hunters Point is plagued with many of the same issues as poor black communities all over the United States. This project not only examines issues such as violence, poverty, and criminalization, but also the strength, perseverance, and hope of the youth in the neighborhood.


Speedy, a young man from the Oakdale projects, admires his chain in the afternoon light while sitting in a van with his friends on Navy Road. In 2007, the city of San Francisco created its first ever gang injunction against the 'Oakdale Mob,' listing over 20 young men allegedly involved in gang activity on the block. Today, most of the kids on the block, like Speedy, are under the age of 18, many of who don't live there anymore but come to see their friends.



©AlexWelsh

If you are a photographer and would like to be featured as a future/potential Art Star on our blog, email us!
info@photopolus.com or ange@angefitzgerald.com, subject: Art Star.
*please include your website and examples of your work
____

I grew up on a small farm in upstate NY. Nothing huge, but we had sheep when I was young. And grew lots of yummy things. I think it instilled my obsession with nature, and my comfort with non-human beings in non-human environments. Ironically I’m now based in Brooklyn, which I’m trying to use as a base in between projects that take me out somewhere. I began my photo studies in New York in a fine arts program, finished them with a journalism degree in Florida, and am now trying to figure out where I fit in and what exactly it is that I want to do.

http://celiatalbottobin.com
http://thelovelylens.com
http://www.pangeaphoto.com

When and how did you become interested in Photography?

I honestly don’t remember. I had this romantic idea of a photographer’s life from a pretty young age, I’d say around 11. I was obsessed with National Geographic. I imagined that there could be no better job than being paid to do the kinds of things they do (I still sort of feel that way). I began taking pictures seriously in high school, but my practice hasn’t been consistent throughout the whole time since then. There were years when I set it aside. But there was always an awareness of photography growing up. My dad (who’s now a writer) studied it in school, and my mom (who’s an education professor) also studied art. So I guess it was a visually inclined home from the beginning.

What gear do you mainly shoot with?

I’m either using a 5DMII (on which I’m trying to practice video skills), the Nikon F2 I’ve had since high school, or a Holga.

What is your #1 source of inspiration?

I’m not sure, but I definitely don’t have just one. There are so many forms that originate from very different places and affect different parts of my brain I think. Being outdoors is always inspiration for me, preferably in the woods. The books I read. Flipping through National Geographic still gets my juices going, especially the more science-related stories these days. Photographer friends of mine, as well as great photographers who I wish were my friends.

Many times photographers find themselves with a full schedule of paying gigs, ending up with little time for doing the work they truly love. Do you struggle with finding time for your personal work?

Yes. It’s disappointing. Part of that is simply my environment. I’m sort of in this pattern right now where I live in NYC for a while, primarily shooting assignments and gigs that pay, then save enough to go off for a while on my own. It’s not a great pattern, certainly not my ideal. It’s not that I find NYC uninspiring to shoot in, it just triggers a different momentum within me, one that tends to focus more on business. But I’d like to be able to tap into a more creative faucet within myself here. This city fuels the creativity of so many people.

What is your all time favorite genre to shoot (portraiture, conceptual, documentary, commercial, etc..)?

I think most work isn’t so easily defined. A lot of photography floats in a more obscure space. I think this has always been true, but I also believe that institutionally-speaking, the photo community seems to be even more comfortable today with not needing to label photography in such a way. I will say that my documentary way of thinking through projects seems to be gaining strength. That doesn’t mean that the images themselves aren’t going to be ambiguous or conceptual or self-expressive, but those aren’t traits that I’m consciously striving for. If they manifest themselves that way, that’s great. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m actually not as in love with the medium of photography as I am with communicating and storytelling. I realize that’s an odd statement for a photographer to make, but I’m more attached to the idea of conveying information than to the still camera. If I couldn’t communicate through photography, I could be happy finding another vehicle to do it through. All photography is communicating something, in some form, so maybe using the word “communication” in regards to what I’m aiming for is redundant. But it’s the still image as a vehicle for transmitting info and emotion that attracts me. There are subjects in life that are important to me. And though I believe it’s arrogant and egocentric to think that what’s important to oneself is important to others in the world, I can’t help but feel that way about some things. Maybe I should just scratch all this rambling and stop kidding myself and accept the term “documentarian.”

Do you have any upcoming shows or events you want our readers to know about?

Not at the moment. I’m hoping to hear about a possible artist-in-residence position at Syracuse University soon though.

What is the one thing you feel makes your style or your work unique?

I’m not sure. I definitely have plenty of cynical days when I feel like “it’s all been done before” and nothing I do seems unique. But my photos and projects tend to evolve very organically. So hopefully that comes through. I don’t analyze or over-think my photos much, I sort of float along with my visceral reactions. And I’ve come to feel pretty comfortable with allowing myself to be within my photographs, as opposed to outside, looking in. Because I like to shoot things that I feel personally connected to, I let my sub-conscience project itself. I don’t believe objectivity is possible anyway, no matter who you are….

if you could photograph anyone, (past/present/future), who would it be and why?

My great-grandmother. I know a lot of people chose their grandparents, but they’re inevitably going to be fascinating, aren’t they? Photographing anything that far back in history would be interesting. I think nostalgia is called upon a lot in photography, and there’s a reason for that. My great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland when she was seventeen. The photos in my head of her life, especially in Ireland, are stunning. I have only vague memories of her and her Irish soda bread from when I was very little.

what’s your dream photo field trip?

There’s too many. But anything that involved someone paying me to immerse myself in a luscious environment would be a dream. I worked in Ecuador for a year when I wasn’t focusing or thinking about photography. I wouldn’t change that one bit, but I would like to take my camera and revisit where I lived.

what’s your post production process?

Sift through takes and hope there’s something decent. It certainly feels more hands on when it’s film- handling negatives and scanning. I’m currently working at the International Center of Photography, just once a week, so I can have access their facilities.

if you had unlimited resources to purchase any type of camera, what would it be and why?

Hmm….well I’m trying save for a Mamiya (7). So I guess that says something…

who are your favorite photographers and why?

That’s hard. Different people have different places in my heart for different reasons. For example, Sebastiao Salgado was the first exhibit I remember seeing in person. And he pretty much solidified my desire to follow this path. But was around 14 then, so a lot’s changed. Nowadays, I often find myself going back to Carolyn Drake‘s work. There’s just something very magical about the way she sees things. Her images have so much texture and always seem to be glowing somehow. And people’s environments and landscapes get just as much attention in her work as the people themselves. That’s a soft spot of mine.

what has been the shining moment of your career thus far? (or, describe your “big break”)

Do “big breaks” happen like that? I don’t know, I’m still waiting for that. But I made it into a gallery exhibition in Brooklyn this past fall, that was a nice feeling of accomplishment. It was a weird sensation seeing so many people putting their noses right up to my images. And having people buy them was even stranger. But very neat.

do you have any tips/tricks or advice for amateur photo nerds who are looking to shoot full time or students who are just starting out?

Try to nourish your vision and commit to standing behind it. It’s hard when you’re beginning and you’re not quite sure where you want your work to go. But once you sort of settle into yourself, I think it’s important to stand behind it. That doesn’t mean not evolving or changing or trying something new. But editors and peers will always be advising in different ways and suggesting different things, and they’ll often contradict one another. Obviously you can’t act on all the advice, so you have to absorb critiques on a non-literal level. Then tune in to try and figure out how you see yourself.

what’s the soundtrack to your life and/or your favorite music to listen to while editing?

More often than not, I’m listening to podcasts and audio books. And if I’m working at the computer, my playlist is often Debussey and Chopin and Bach. And as if this could possibly get any dorkier, I listen to a lot of jazz. There’s no replacement for Billie Holliday. I sound like a 75-year-old. Let’s see if I can name something modern….Iron and Wine. And recent fixations with Yellow Ostrich and Tune-Yards.

what’s your favorite hang (when shooting or not)?

My kitchen, Or hiking around the area where I grew up.

best chow (meal/snack) to get you ready for a shoot? or best way to celebrate a brilliant capture?

If I’m celebrating an achievement, I let myself cook a meal to my heart’s delight without feeling guilty about how much time I’m putting into it (and not into work). Does that count? I’m obsessed with cooking.

will you share with us one of your favorite shots?

This image isn’t a favorite, I’m not sure I have one. But it’s an example of a project that was personal, started organically around the area I grew up in, and I let myself sink into instinctively.

your favorite photo by another photographer?

I’m choosing this Sanguinetti image mostly because I just cited it as inspiration in another interview and I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately. My dad owns a print of this that my mom gave him. So I spent high school looking at it, studying it. It’s one of the most expressive portraits I can think of. It feels like a fantastical drama, or like something out of a magical realism novel. The entirety of this series is told in this one photo. And even though the ideal behind photography is that one photo can “tell it all,” I think that in reality that rarely happens.
http://alessandrasanguinetti.com/
The Adventures of Guille and Belinda……image #3

The necklace, 1999, Alessandra Sanguinetti

has your passion for photography changed at all since turning “pro”?

I’m sure it’s evolved in more ways than I’m aware. Mostly I think it’s changed in some of the ways I’ve mentioned here already: becoming comfortable with being vulnerable to what I’m shooting, comfortable with subjectivity, and more detached from the visual medium itself while focusing more on its communication value.

do you have a favorite / lucky item of clothing, outfit or uniform that you like to wear when shooting an important assignment or project?

Na. The most consistent thing I can say about what I wear is that I always have enough layers, if not too many. I always prepare for the coldest temperatures imaginable and usually end up sweating.

are you a photography nerd or a camera gangsta?

I can badly fake gangsta if I need to. But I think it’s safe to say in all things in life I’m a big nerd.

what’s your sign?

Taurus

who would you like to see interviewed by photopolus next?

Tim Hussin, he’s doing some cool stuff right now.




©CeliaTalbotTobin

If you are a photographer and would like to be featured as a future/potential Art Star on our blog, email us!
info@photopolus.com or ange@angefitzgerald.com, subject: Art Star.
*please include your website and examples of your work
____

Joseph Holmes’ photos have been exhibited in dozens of solo and group shows across the country and are featured in the international survey, Photography Now: One Hundred Portfolios. Joe was one of four photographers in the national print campaign, Stunning Nikon, in 2005 and 2006. As part of Berlin Meets New York, twenty-eight photos from his series, joe’s nyc, were displayed on multimedia screens in Berlin subway trains. For more than four years, his daily photographs of New York City have been syndicated in Charlie Suisman’s Manhattan User’s Guide. Joe’s short stories have appeared in the literary journals Phantasmagoria, The North Atlantic Review, and Pikeville Review. He lives and works in Brooklyn.

portfolio: http://portfolio.streetnine.com
20×200: http://bit.ly/20x200joe

When and how did you become interested in Photography?

When I was twelve years old or so, my father sold his Leica and bought a Miranda Sensorex SLR with a built-in light meter, a simpler camera that my sister and I could use. Ever since then, I’ve loved taking pictures — and developing and printing them.

What gear do you mainly shoot with?

I use a Nikon D700 digital SLR, most often with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D and the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. That’s my desert island kit.

What is your #1 source of inspiration?

New York City. #2 would be my sixteen-year-old daughter Sophia, who constantly impresses me with her artistic soul.

Many times photographers find themselves with a full schedule of paying gigs, ending up with little time for doing the work they truly love. Do you struggle with finding time for your personal work?

My personal work always comes first, because it’s the personal work that makes up my career, selling prints through my galleries and through Jen Bekman’s 20×200 project. I’ve been very lucky that the things I love to shoot for myself have resonated with so many people.

What is your all time favorite genre to shoot (portraiture, conceptual, documentary, commercial, etc..)?

I love shooting New York City, though what I come home with isn’t strictly street photography or cityscapes or any other genre I can pin down. Maybe the genre is just photos of New York City. Can that be a genre? But I’m also having a wonderful time exploring portrait photography. Portraits are rich on so many levels, and I love the social challenges of photographing a stranger.

Do you have any upcoming shows or events you want our readers to know about?

Not at the moment, I’m still recovering and taking a bit of a break from a busy winter. My solo show, “The Urban Wilderness,” was at the Jen Bekman Gallery, 6 Spring Spring Street, through last January 23. http://www.jenbekman.com/

What is the one thing you feel makes your style or your work unique?

That’s something I can’t answer. I’m always fooling around with new ideas and new ways to see things and new things to shoot, but I have to trust those around me when they say that all my work has some kind of consistency of vision. I believe them, but I’m too close to the work to see it myself. Instead, every new idea I shoot tends to feel radically different, like I’m starting from scratch.

if you could photograph anyone, (past/present/future), who would it be and why?

I wish I could go back just a few years to shoot my father before he died. Now that I’m exploring portraiture, I would have enjoyed trying to find a way to capture him.

what’s your dream photo field trip?

My dream field trip is actually just a short walk out my front door. The trip I love best is walking into Prospect Park here in Brooklyn right after a fresh snowfall, arriving before dawn so I can capture the first people hiking through the new snow in that early winter light.

what’s your post production process?

I take images first into Apple Aperture for cataloging and key wording, then I open the selects in DxO tools which corrects for lens flaws like distortion and chromatic aberration. Finally, I finish with some basic corrections in Photoshop — contrast, exposure, etc. It all takes only a few minutes. The end of that process is an image I label a Master Source, which I archive. From that master, I can then re size and sharpen for the Web, for printing, publication, or whatever final destination.

if you had unlimited resources to purchase any type of camera, what would it be and why?

I think I’d enjoy shooting 8×10. (at the time of this interview) I just finished a project, NYC Xmas Tree Vendors – http://bit.ly/nycxmas – that would have been really fun with an 8×10. And it’s less a matter of expense than time. My work days are already filled with not just taking pictures but the whole business of photography. Leaning a whole new format would be a serious investment of time. On a more practical level, some day I’d like to move up to Nikon’s D3s, which is very similar to my D700 but bumped up to that next level of gorgeousness. It might be the most perfect camera out there for how and what I shoot. Until Nikon’s next camera, anyway.

who are your favorite photographers and why?

Lee Friedlander has been the most difficult photographer for me to wrap my mind around, right from the start. It’s not like he breaks the rules, it’s as if he’s never heard of them, as if he were born without them. His choices of framing and subject are wildly unexpected. He makes me work so hard for every image I see, and then once I finally absorb what he’s doing, I can’t get it out of my mind. He’s my favorite because I can’t explain him, I can’t imitate him, and I can’t get enough of him.

what has been the shining moment of your career thus far? (or, describe your “big break”)

My solo show at the Bekman Gallery this past December and January was certainly the shining moment. I really loved having the Urban Wilderness images printed, framed and hanging — three of the prints were 30×40″. It just felt really great to stand in the middle of the gallery surrounded by the work. And the opening was such fun — people from all walks of my life came in, and I had the time of my life.

do you have any tips/tricks or advice for amateur photo nerds who are looking to shoot full time or students who are just starting out?

Trust your gut. When you find a project that really excites you, that feels like it’s working and makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning and start shooting, run with it. Don’t ask opinions, don’t show it around, don’t second guess yourself and worry that you’re headed down a dead end street — just shoot the hell out of it until you run out of steam, until you know you’re finished. And only then start showing it around. Worst case: it was an important learning experience. Best case: it really is brilliant.

what’s the soundtrack to your life and/or your favorite music to listen to while editing?

I listen to Marnie Stern, New Pornographers, Regina Spektor, Ratatat, XTC… but I can’t listen to music while I edit. It seems to distract the part of my brain that makes good photo decisions.

what’s your favorite hang (when shooting or not)?

The East Village is where I love to shoot, though I don’t know if that’s really a hang or just me walking with a camera. I do all my real hanging at home.

best chow (meal/snack) to get you ready for a shoot? or best way to celebrate a brilliant capture?

Breakfast! For some reason, I really love getting up early and out the door. The light is great, the city is still waking up, everybody’s got lots of energy. So the best chow is a bowl of Cap’n Crunch and a double espresso.

will you share with us one of your favorite shots?

I’m very fickle about my own photos, and I have no desire to be objective. I’m always in love with whatever I’m shooting right now and tired of the work that’s finished and done. That said, I still love this photo I shot a year and a half ago. It not only works for me in many ways, but it represents that Gift from the Photo Gods that I treasure. Sometimes the woman in the yellow dress steps into your frame, and all you can do is press the shutter release and thank the photo gods. In that order.

your favorite photo by another photographer?

It’s always changing, but today’s favorite image is this shot by Alec Soth. This portrait really demonstrates Soth’s brilliance: it feels both posed and candid, mysterious and simple, revealing and withholding. It’s almost uncomfortably intimate. And like all of Soth’s work, it’s gorgeously shot. Soth has a huge number of portraits that are damned near perfect. I’m always inspired by his work.

©AlecSoth

has your passion for photography changed at all since turning “pro”?

Not at all. My passion for photography took off when I first shot digital. That totally opened things up for me. I’ve never looked back.

do you have a favorite / lucky item of clothing, outfit or uniform that you like to wear when shooting an important assignment or project?

I love shooting in my leather jacket. It’s not especially lucky, it just looks really good on me.

are you a photography nerd or a camera gangsta?

Mostly a nerd — or maybe I’m a camera hippie. I love the gear and the techniques, but I believe strongly in working from my gut, not over analyzing what I’ve shot or what I’m going to shoot next. For that reason, while I like to talk cameras and lenses, I don’t like to talk about the photos and what they mean.

what’s your sign? (we’re conducting a poll)

Actually, I was born without a sign. Strange but true.

who would you like to see interviewed by photopolus next?

Mark Alor Powell has been shooting sublime work for such a long time now, I’d love to hear more from him.





©JosephHolmes

If you are a photographer and would like to be featured as a future/potential Art Star on our blog, email us!
at info@photopolus.com or ange@angefitzgerald.com
subject: Art Star
please include a link to your website and examples of your work

____

Brooklyn based freelance photographer Danny Ghitis (1982) was born in Cali, Columbia and emigrated to the U.S. at a young age. After graduating in 2006 with a journalism degree from the University of Florida, he worked at the South Florida Sun Sentinel and St. Petersburg Times newspapers. He launched a freelance career in 2008. Danny’s work is rooted in the pursuit of his own elusive cultural identity and the desire to find common ground with others. His stories seek to reveal truths about the human condition, focusing in areas where cultural collisions interfere with progress. He believes that challenging social norms with satirical imagery can spark the curiosity needed for open dialogue in the average person. And that everyone, in turn, is capable of contributing to societal advancement.
dannyghitis.com

when and how did you become interested in photography?

I think I’ve always been interested in photography, or at least I’ve always had a visual inclination. It took about 21 years of life to come to terms with that though. My first major in college was architecture which really opened my eyes to studying form and space, but what I liked most about it was rendering my models in photographs, playing with light in space, etc. Picked up a camera with a purpose for the first time around my junior year of college.

what gear do you mainly shoot with?

Canon 5D

what is your #1 source of inspiration?

my personal identity crisis

many times photographers find themselves with a full schedule of paying gigs, ending up with little time for doing the work they truly love. Do you struggle with finding time for your personal work?

Yes, in the sense that my daily environment doesn’t inspire me to shoot personal work…I’m not much of a casual shooter. I need a mission first, then I go out and immerse myself in it. If I had a fuller schedule of paying gigs I think it would help me to pursue the personal work (financially speaking).

what is your all time favorite genre to shoot (portraiture, conceptual, documentary, commercial, etc..)?

I’m not a fan of these kinds of labels. I like the medium of photography for what it allows me to express personally.

Do you have any upcoming shows or events you want our readers to know about?

Fingers crossed!

what is the one thing you feel makes your style or your work unique?

There’s only one of me, so what I present or represent will inevitably be unique. The same goes for any artist out there as long as they’re being true to themselves and not copying trends.

if you could photograph anyone, (past/present/future), who would it be and why?

My great great grandparents in Poland and Romania. I’d like to know what they were like and how they lived. It’s a great mystery to me having grown up in the US what life in the “old country” must have been like. Especially because that way of life (Jewish Eastern Europe) was pretty much wiped out.

what’s your dream photo field trip?

Horseback immersion in Patagonia

what’s your post production process?

Tight editing in Photo Mechanic and minimal Photoshop.

if you had unlimited resources to purchase any type of camera, what would it be and why?

I’d really like to have unlimited film to shoot on a Mamiya 7. I love the format balanced with maneuverability. Digital is great, but still doesn’t match the aesthetic quality of film.

who are your favorite photographers and why?

Hard to say because there are so many greats I admire. One of my early loves is Michael Ackerman‘s book End Time City, which I discovered while shooting in Varanasi, India. Though his style is much different from my own, it is something I can really connect to viscerally. His images are so raw and avoid cliche. I respect the ability to capture something uniquely that has been photographed many times in the past. Also, Carolyn Drake and Chris Morris are brilliant.

what has been the shining moment of your career thus far?

I think my last project in Poland felt right. Hopefully I can continue producing work that I feel good about and can make a living from.

do you have any tips/tricks or advice for amateur photo nerds who are looking to shoot full time or students who are just starting out?

Find a project that matters to you and shoot the hell out of it for a long time. If you’re interested in the subject matter don’t listen to anyone who says it’s not a good idea. In fact, don’t even show it to more than a few trusted people (if necessary) until it’s well along.

what’s the soundtrack to your life and/or your favorite music to listen to while editing?

I’m pretty flexible, and prefer to allow the environment to dictate the music. I’ve got a few stations on Pandora I like though- Billy Holiday, 90s rock (REM, Counting Crows), my roommates’ constant flow of new indie music, bluegrass, the list goes on…

what’s your favorite hang (when shooting or not)?

There’s a little dive bar nearby in Brooklyn where my friends from the Goddamn Cobras like to grab a beer.

best chow (meal/snack) to get you ready for a shoot? or best way to celebrate a brilliant capture?

My girlfriend Celia Tobin is the most ridiculous cook I know, so anything she’s making!

will you share with us one of your favorite shots? why is this your fave?

I feel like this one does a good job with the odd humor and contradictions I try to convey.

your favorite photo by another photographer?

I usually don’t think of favorites in terms of one single image, so I just searched through Carolyn Drake‘s pictures and picked out one. It’s more about her overall body of work and ability to constantly balance on such a delicate mood that makes me go bananas.

©CarolynDrake

has your passion for photography changed at all since turning “pro”?

It waxes and wanes, always evolving, changing, sometimes I drool over it and sometimes I think its totally pointless.

do you have a favorite / lucky item of clothing, outfit or uniform that you like to wear when shooting an important assignment or project?

I like to use a camera.

are you a photography nerd or a camera gangsta?

Depends on the context 🙂

what’s your sign? (we’re conducting a poll)

Cancer. But I don’t believe in that horoscope mumbo jumbo.

who would you like to see interviewed by photopolus next?

Celia Talbot Tobin




©DannyGhitis

If you are a photographer and would like to be featured as a future/potential Art Star on our blog, email us!
info@photopolus.com or ange@angefitzgerald.com, subject: Art Star.
*please include your website and examples of your work
____

Born and raised in Kansas, Cortney Andrews received her BFA in Photography & New Media from the Kansas City Art Institute and her MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has exhibited in New York, Providence, Kansas City and throughout the US, and is a contributor to Bitch magazine. Her work explores female sexuality and desire through photography, film, and video installation. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
www.cortneyandrews.com

When and how did you become interested in Photography?

Before I went to art school, I took a summer photo class at the university in my hometown, and I immediately became obsessed with the process. From the beginning, I was constructing narratives and scenes using my female friends as the subjects. I began experimenting with themes of identity, eroticism, and pain–it came very natural to me. The camera allowed me to play out all the things that I felt, but wasn’t able to express.

What gear do you mainly shoot with?

All of my work is shot on film with a Hasselblad.

What is your #1 source of inspiration?

Emotions, and how they are reflected on the body. I am specifically interested in the conflicts inherent to desire and identity.

Many times photographers find themselves with a full schedule of paying gigs, ending up with little time for doing the work they truly love. Do you struggle with finding time for your personal work?

I find that there is never enough time to make work. A large part of my process is failure, and there has to be time for that in order to explore, push boundaries, transgress, and change direction. I am constantly re-shooting things that didn’t come out as I had imagined, so this always puts me behind schedule. Having a job, photo related or not, always limits the time you can spend on personal projects, but this is a reality that all emerging artists have to struggle with.

Do you have any upcoming shows or events you want our readers to know about?

I was recently in an exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City entitled Thinking Photography: Five Decades at the Kansas City Art Institute, which was shown through January 2, 2011. My work will also be featured in an essay by Maria Elena Buszek titled “ Eros and Thanatos: Surrealism, psychoanalysis, and contemporary feminist art,” which is in the catalog accompanying the forthcoming exhibition In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

What is the one thing you feel makes your style or your work unique?

My work is very intimate. Through the camera, I am interested in revealing parts of myself that would otherwise remain hidden. By performing scenarios that give visibility to the conflicts of desire and identity as I experience them, the viewer must question her or his own boundaries of self and other, real and fantasy.

if you could photograph anyone, (past/present/future), who would it be and why?

Pina Bausch. She was a dancer and choreographer, and a brilliant provocatrice. Although she was incredibly thin and fragile looking, she still had a very intimidating and intense presence. I like this contradiction. I would also love to photograph Beatrice Dalle….and the list goes on.

what’s your dream photo field trip?

I am generally the central subject performing in my work, but often there are friends and lovers who perform with me. With no time or cost constraints, I would love to have a small group of my friends travel with me throughout rural areas of France, Spain and Italy while scouting for locations. Upon finding a great location, we would set up there for a week while I choreograph the scenes and shoot, then we would move on to the next place.

what’s your post production process?

I scan all of my contact sheets and choose the best images before going to the lab to do high resolution scans. I do all the color correction and retouching, and return to the lab where I have digital c-prints made.

if you had unlimited resources to purchase any type of camera, what would it be and why?

I would probably buy a Canon 1D Mark IV Digital SLR. I don’t shoot digital for my photographs, but I shoot video, and this camera has the ability to shoot 24 fps HD (the same frame rate as film). I’m not a big tech geek with cameras, I love shooting film and I will continue to for as long as the market allows, but having a nice digital SLR, with HD video recording, is always convenient because I can instantly preview what I will shoot on film.

who are your favorite shooters and why?

I love Claude Cahun, Hans Bellmer, and Francesca Woodman because their images are transgressive, emotional, erotic, provocative, and haunting. They each subversively confront the social construction of gender and sexuality from a very personal perspective.

what has been the shining moment of your career thus far? (or, describe your “big break”)

I wouldn’t really say I’ve had a “big break” in my career. I am reminded of a great quote that I read recently from Jeffrey Eugenides, author of Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides. When asked about success, he replied: “Success doesn’t happen to you. It happens out in the world somewhere…Success is a kind of numbness, an analgesic. It feels like nothing. Failure, envy, these things have a far keener, physiological effect…Because the baser emotions are more fiery, and success, if anything, a temporary shelter from them.”

who would you like to see interviewed by photopol.us next?

Talia Chetrit




©CortneyAndrews

If you are a photographer and would like to be featured as a future/potential Art Star on our blog, email us!
info@photopolus.com or ange@angefitzgerald.com, subject: Art Star.
*please include your website and examples of your work

____

Ross Mantle is a freelance photographer. His work often focuses on the quirks of American life and the unique relationship between person and place. He is a native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of Ohio University. He is currently living in Brooklyn, NY.
http://www.rossmantle.com

When and how did you become interested in Photography?

I was a teenager and started to take my camera with me when my friends and I would ride our BMX bikes and it grew from there.

What gear do you mainly shoot with?

Canon, Hasselblad and a Holga

What is your #1 source of inspiration?

Traveling and wandering

Many times photographers find themselves with a full schedule of paying gigs, ending up with little time for doing the work they truly love. Do you struggle with finding time for your personal work?

Yea, it’s always a struggle to find the time and energy to put in to personal work. It’s a balance I’m always working on, between paying bills and working on personal projects.

What is your all time favorite genre to shoot (portraiture, conceptual, commercial, etc..)?

I’ve always enjoyed portraiture. I’m also drawn to long form documentary work, exploring what it can be and the different directions it can go.

Do you have any upcoming shows or events you want our readers to know about?

Jim Korpi and I just wrapped up a show in Ohio called Confluence, of our work from the Monongahela and Ohio River Valleys. It’ll be going elsewhere early next year, but I don’t have dates yet.

What is the one thing you feel makes your style or your work unique?

I’m not sure, I’ll leave it up to other people to take what they want to from my work.

if you could photograph anyone, (past/present/future), who would it be and why?

I don’t have anyone specific in mind, but I’ve been wanting to make a portrait of someone with an eye patch.

what’s your dream photo field trip?

The trip where I drive around the country and make pictures while stopping at all the roadside attractions.

what’s your post production process?

Try to get the most detail out of the raw file or negative, correct the color if I need to and then add contrast and get it looking good, keeping the saturation down and the detail in the deep shadows.

if you had unlimited resources to purchase any type of camera, what would it be and why?

I’m alright with what I have now.

who are your favorite shooters and why?

I’m inspired by some of my friends’ work more than anyone, for the honesty in their work. Jim Korpi and Peter McCollough always inspire me. I also look at August Sander, Alec Soth, Danny Lyon, and lately Joel Sternfeld. The list could keep going.

what has been the shining moment of your career thus far? (or, describe your “big break”)

My mom gets excited when she sees my work in print and that’s always nice.

who would you like to see interviewed by photopol.us next?

Peter Hoffman

what’s your favorite music to listen to while editing?

The Band, The Kinks, Okkervil River, The Felice Brothers

what’s your favorite hang (when shooting or not)?

Tony’s, in Athens, Ohio is always a good time, and any bonfire or roof spot.

best meal to get you ready for a shoot or celebrate a brilliant capture?

Beans and Rice, maybe a taco, and a whiskey and beer afterward.

will you share with us one of your favorite shots?

your favorite photo by another photographer?


Native Americans, Steubenville, Ohio — Jim Korpi

has your passion for photography changed at all since turning “pro”?

No, nothing’s changed, except maybe that I’m more excited about photographing now than ever.

do you have a favorite / lucky item of clothing, outfit or uniform that you like to wear when shooting an important assignment or project?

Shooting or not, I always wear my Pittsburgh Pirates or a black and gold beanie if it’s cold.

what’s your sign? (we’re conducting a poll)

I’m not sure. My birthday falls on an in between day around the end of summer. I forget which sign it falls under.




©RossMantle

If you are a photographer and would like to be featured as a future/potential Art Star on our blog, email us!
info@photopolus.com or ange@angefitzgerald.com, subject: Art Star.
*please include your website and examples of your work
____


We love this slide show piece by Ling Ang for Ying Ang‘s segment in the recent On View showcase.
Click HERE to watch.

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