This year has been full of great photography, from manipulated images of nature to invisible celebrity portraits, and we've talked to the artists responsible to get answers to some burning questions. For example, do you know which photographer Whoopi Goldberg refused to work with? Or which one created an inspired Wonderland series that evokes childlike innocence? Whether you're a collector, a fan, or an aspiring photographer yourself, these interview highlights should remind you of the great talent out there and maybe inspire you to make some art yourself. After all, after revisiting this group of interviews, you just might have a nice list of tips and tricks from all your favorite names.
Photo Credit Kirsty Mitchell
Tyler Shields: Doesn't matter who I work with, it only matters the work I do. People have been telling me NO since I started doing this and maybe that will stop one day, maybe it won't. It really doesn't affect me either way if someone hates it and they want to kill me because I set a bag on fire, that's on them not me. I have to push myself and if a few people get mad along the way that's just occupational hazard.
Nikolaj Lund: Photograph what you love! You can see it in your photos if you do not have a connection with your subject. And also, it is important to have a niche, something that sets you apart from the rest.
[Kristy] Mitchell goes to great lengths to achieve the look and scene she envisions for each photo, scouting out the perfect locale. Some scenes required a twelve-month wait to capture the blooming seasonal flowers that are then around only for a two-week period. The characters are make-believe, although the location's natural scenery is not. Moreover, the strong use of color in the Wonderland series was one of the most important factors as Mitchell states, "it (color) can transport our mood and emotions to a better place and this was my intention."
Gustavo Lacerda: I chose the posing portrait in studio, upgrading the production process (costumes, hair/makeup and backgrounds), for the albinos to feel appreciated and valued. The idea was to put them clearly in the forefront, a new situation for those who have always been an outsider. This focus has caused them discomfort in the beginning, a certain strangeness to most of those portrayed but, at the same time, [they felt] pride too. The great challenge there - the essence of the work - is to be able to register this mixture of feelings with fidelity.
Captivating people are always nice to look at; even that evil witch was gorgeous. [Greg] Lotus poetically explains the beauty he sees in people portrayed in these images; “My woman is sophisticated and impeccably chic. My man is equally sophisticated but in a manly way. My nature is always graphic. That’s what makes them all uniquely beautiful to me.”
I’m a big believer that you can do anything you set your mind to. For me, I decided that creating images was what I wanted to do for a living - so I took the steps necessary to making that happen. Before that shift, I had decided that being a field biologist was what I wanted to do, so I did that for a few years, working with native Australian wildlife all across the arid Australian outback. For me photography is as much a lifestyle as it is a pursuit - It has taken me all across the world and has allowed me to meet some amazing people. I feel very lucky to be able to do what I do.
Chris Buck: I think what this is supposed to be doing is calling into question what makes a portrait, to some extent, and redefining it or I don’t know, trying to push the boundary of what can be a portrait. Because initially I conceived it that the person would actually not be in the shot, […] that it would be somewhere I just shot someone maybe, and then they leave the room and it’s almost like their aura is still there and I shoot it within five minutes of them leaving the room. Then I realized it was actually less interesting. There was something nice about it, and exciting, about them actually being in the shot. And also it kind of makes it more valid, […] obviously on some level the whole thing is a bit silly but if you can say, “Yeah, Jon Hamm is actually in the shot,” it does change the way you perceive the picture.
You might get the idea of fashion being a cold, cold world, full of sharp-tongued editors, (think The Devil Meets Prada) multitasking designers, and stone-faced models, but the people in the industry are what [Anne] Menke is drawn to. “People are the most important and interesting thing in my photography— they’re the inspiration of all I do,” she said, noting that it’s especially important for her to build rapports with the models she shoots. “I always make contact with my subjects,” she told me, even those she shoots in her free time. “I’ve talked to all the people I’ve shot and asked them if I could photograph what they were doing or if they would pose for me.”
"I was always, even as a little ten-year-old kid, playing with my parents camera, orchestrating people to reflect my vision, rather than reality,” [Amber] Gray says when asked of her photographic beginnings. “I would dress my sister and her friends up, paint their faces, and have them jump off the hood of my mom's car. It was a very warped music video shoot playing in my head.”
Erik Johansson: In a way I see my work as problem solving, I want to challenge myself to merge two or more worlds and create a realistic transition between them. To make it look realistic, that is the challenge to me. Although I get inspired by surrealist art, I want to go my own way. I'm not really interested in what has been created in history and how my work looks compared to that. I'd rather look into the future and realize as many ideas as possible during the limited time I'm here.
Dejan Sokolovski: For me post-production is everything. Without it my work would be nowhere… It sets my whole style and refines the image so much more than it is as a original. I haven't gone to any courses or learnt from someone, it's all experimenting and doing what my eye likes. With having used Photoshop in the past for graphic designs, etc. I at least had a base to start out from.
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