GQ Italia did an interview with me about my Polaroid work for their web site. If you don’t speak Italian you can still go look at the pictures:
They gave me permission to post the original English version of our Q/A for those of you who would like to read it. Google Translate doesn’t seem to handle Italian very well.
Q. What are your referrals in photography, the master photographers that have influenced your work.
A. I really love Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Stephen Shore, Larry Sultan, and Todd Hido. I don’t model my work after any of them directly, but I admire their passion and creativity. They’re all people who have a very strong, personal style and that’s what I aspire to.
Q. Why Polaroid?
A. There are a few reasons. First the look of the film itself is often very interesting. I’m shooting expired Polaroid film now and it has a very faded, grainy look. It’s really lovely. Also the models enjoy shooting Polaroids and it helps them. When we get a good shot and they see it develop, it gives them confidence.
Some of it is also the novelty and nostalgia of Polaroids. We had a Polaroid camera when I was a child and I used to play with it as a toy. I didn’t have film, I’d just point it at things and pretend I was taking pictures.
Now we’re at the point where the actual Polaroid film is almost gone, they stopped making it years ago. So I’m also using some film from a company called The Impossible Project, that makes new film for some of the Polaroid cameras.
Q. Why girls?
A. I love women and I think that comes out in my work. I was raised mainly by my mother and sister, my dad wasn’t around much. I’ve always felt more comfortable with women because of that. My images celebrate women and their beauty, that’s what I want to do. I have a lot of female fans of my work which makes me very happy.
Q. Why nudes?
A. I shoot some nude and some clothed work. I go through phases where I do more of one than the other. Right now I’m shooting more clothed images, but there usually are also some topless or nude shots in most sessions too.
In my work I really try to capture something about the personality of the subject, and people are sometimes actually more open and intimate when they’re nude. I’ve worked with some models who prefer modeling nude because of that reason, some have actually complained when I asked them to put on clothes.
I think it’s a shame how conservative people here in America are about nudity. I know some models who would love to pose nude but won’t do it because their boyfriend won’t like it, or they’re afraid it will hurt their career. I know a lot of photographers here who shoot art and fashion nudes that are jealous of how open your society is in Italy. They look at Vogue Italia and wish they could do work like that in the US.
Q. Why photography, today?
A. I have a theatre background, I acted and directed plays when I was younger. Working with models is a similar process to working with actors and I really enjoy the collaboration.
The thing I didn’t like about theatre is how temporary it is. You’d work really hard putting a play together, but once it was over there wasn’t much left to remember it by. Photographs are much more permanent. A good archival print can last for many years, and it doesn’t depend on any specific technology to view it. Online images will probably have very long lives too.
I don’t know if anyone will be looking at my images in fifty or one hundred years, but I like the idea that it’s possible.
A. Almost all of them have been models, but recently I’ve started to meet more women through places like Facebook and Instagram who are interested in being photographed by me. I’ve shot with a few and will probably work with more in the future.
It’s very different working with someone new. Some people are naturals but most of them take a while to relax and open up, if they do at all. I usually get more images that I love if the model is someone who is in front of cameras a lot.
A. I started taking photographs in school when I was about seventeen years old. I was a writer on my school newspaper and learned how to take pictures to go with my stories. That’s when I learned to shoot black and white film and use the darkroom. I kept doing photography on and off over the years, but I started up seriously again about five years ago.
At this point photography is a huge part of my identity. It’s changed my life a lot. I meet so many creative people through my work and I’ve made a lot of friends. It’s funny but if I meet someone and they know my work, it’s such a different experience than if I just met them randomly. I feel like people who know my work know me better. I’m not the subject of my images but they still reveal things about me.
A. It’s some of both. I think viewers do like to hear about the process, they like to look behind the curtain. I follow some very talented painters online and I love it when they post pictures of their works in progress, or even other things happening in their lives. I think art should be personal, and as a viewer it’s nice to know something about the artist.
But I also just genuinely enjoy the process of shooting and creating art with the models, so that’s fun to share. I work with some very beautiful, creative women and it’s easy for me to write about them. Some of them have become very close friends.