Art Director: Miles English
Photo Editor: Susie Forman
Photographer:Alexis Berg (running imagery)
Heidi: The race course itself isn’t easy, how did you manage to shoot the athletes?
Alexis: The Barkley is a very unique race. Special to run, special to photograph. Laz, the fascinating organizer, wants to leave a mystery on the experience awaiting competitors outside the camp. What happens out there only concerns the 40 starters. It may sound strange, in the world of images that surround us, but it’s the only sporting event where it’s not allowed to go on the course to take pictures. The exceptions are minimal, barely 1% of the course. This leaves a lot of room for the imagination, and therefore, as photographer, you have to look for a different and creative way to tell the story.
What was some of the challenges you faced with this project? The Barkley takes place at the end of March, the week of the year when it rains the most in this part of Tennessee. The trees don’t yet have leaves and the park itself appears very austere.The light is often rather mediocre. There is a dramaturgy, but we are far from optimal conditions for taking action shots. The race lasts three days and the only way to stay in the mood is to sleep in your car, a few hours when you can. Nothing is very comfortable, but it’s part of the experience.
I know you shoot a lot ultra running, what made this project different?
The Barkley is a mysterious and unusual event. More fascinating than an ordinary race. The Barkley is a bit of a tale, and just being a spectator makes you a character of the story. Like a lot of photographer, I try to make deep pictures. Photos that are not consumed in a second. Photos that require a caption. At the 2017 Barkley, I made a photo that has been published a lot. We see a man lying on the ground, in a fetal position. His wife touches him and seems very affected. Around them, there is a little void and a dozen spectators, whose only feet and legs are visible. This is of course a photo a little aesthetic, that can be read directly. But, she hides a long story. This man’s name is Gary Robbins and he just failed the biggest challenge of his life, in the most cruel way possible, falling for 6 seconds after 60 hours of struggles. And this is just the concise version of the story. As a result of this photo, I made a 20 minute film to tell the full depth of the story.
How much did you the course did you cover and did you have to run at all?
As I said, the Barkley remains a race that can not really be photographed. The highest point is accessible, in less than an hour’s walk. It is strictly forbidden to follow the runners. When I photograph an ultra, I run only downhill, to reach my car faster. I must say that I photograph with two big cameras and quite heavy lenses. You have to make the right choices to get to the right place at the right time. This requires a very precise study of the maps and the passage times.
What draw you to these types of events/ultra running?
I’m not a runner. I started by photographing ultra-running by accident, the chance to follow my brother on a race. It’s pretty strange to run twenty hours in the mountains. This strangeness, this distance that I maintain with this sport, I believe, feeds my photos. My relationship to images is so, they are not a mirror for myself, but rather a window to the outside. I live in Paris, but I never do a picture in Paris. But facing the otherness in front of what I don’t know, photo became my language. That’s how I started to photograph people running.
Did you always plan on doing a book out of this body of work for the magazine?
Yes. The Barkley is a unique race because almost no one can finish it. In 30 years, only 15 people managed to finish the 5 loops. Who are these 15 finishers? Some are a bit famous in the community, some are anonymous full of mysteries. All are legends. Last April, with a friend journalist, we found them all. And we met, interviewed and I photographed each of these men, who live all over the US. It was an exciting journey, because everyone is a pretty incredible person. The book will prove it.
Heidi: The assignment was to photograph this beauty project with a documentary approach, did you find that difficult? Vikas: I agree that the documentary approach is something that lent itself naturally to this story, considering the faces we were photographing weren’t your typical fashion/beauty models. So no, it wasn’t difficult at all.
How did you combine your documentary work with your portraits previously? Were they lit or was it all natural light? I think my documentary aesthetic is something that seeps into almost everything I photograph, whether its an editorial portrait, a fashion story or a commercial campaign, the hope always is to visually blur the lines between the two. When it comes to the lighting, I don’t usually follow a set technique, so some of my portraits are natural light and some artificially lit, depending on what the mood and space calls for. Although, over the years I’ve tried to simplify the technical and lighting part of it as much as possible so that I can concentrate on the person in front of me.
Was it difficult to get that feel in the studio, it’s a different energy. Getting a documentary feel in the studio wasn’t difficult at all, as I just follow my instincts and react to the face in front of me.
Usually before a shoot I always have an elaborate plan of action, which more often than not goes out of the window once I walk onto the set and meet the model, because both the model and the space posses a certain energy that is always important to be receptive to and harness in order to create something that’s greater than the sum of its parts, but on off days when I don’t feel that energy, I always have my initial plan of action as a back up.
What did you enjoy the most about shooting this portrait project? The most enjoyable thing about shooting this project were the models, to begin with, as each one had a unique face and was a unique character which made it extremely exciting, And also, of course, the team itself, everyone working in sync and motivated towards a collective vision, which is one of the most important things you need to create great images and to make shoots effortless.
Heidi: How long did it take for you to find this subject, befriend him and get the story? Scott: There were a couple of starts and stops on this one. I had initially approached a group of runners called The Skid Row Running Club. I described the kind of project I was looking to make and was invited to film. I went out and shot two or three times. I learned that there was a documentary team that was working on a feature length project that followed some of the runners who were training for a marathon. Since I was proposing something much shorter with a very different feel, it was deemed by the group not to be a conflict. The two filmmakers felt otherwise, and after receiving a hostile phone call I backed away.
What happened next? With some help, I ended up finding another group with a very similar mission. It was a program called “Back On My Feet.” Mark (the subject of 6th and San Pedro) was a member of that group. I filmed with the whole group a couple of times, but once Mark split away, I decided to focus in on him. So I shot maybe six days worth of footage that I didn’t end up using.
So once you started over, how many days did you shoot? Maybe six days of shooting spaced out over three trips to LA. I interviewed Mark on the tail end of one trip. I cut the audio together back in Portland. A job brought me back to LA and I managed to find an hour or two to shoot with Mark.Once I put those clips on a timeline with VO, and it that gave me the sense of how much more footage I might need. This meant getting back in the van one more time to drive down and finish it off.Meeting up with Mark wasn’t always easy, he had a lot going on in his life at this time, but we managed to get just enough footage for what I had in mind. What’s in the film is more or less every setup we shot, there’s not too much on the cutting room floor. I would say those six days are sort of equivalent to 2 with a crew.
How many people worked on the film? Ghost Digital is a production company that a friend of mine runs. They have a van equipped with a stabilized head (Shotover F1.) It’s a 3 axis gimbal, inside a 3 axis gimbal. It’s amazing, you can drive down a pothole-filled road and footage is glass smooth, even with a 300mm lens. The telephoto tracking shots of Mark running were all captured with that setup. So on that day, I had a driver and an operator who controls the head remotely. He’s aiming it, zooming and focusing all at once, which is pretty crazy. I was seated behind the operator, with a monitor, and I had a walkie to communicate with Mark, but I think we ended up just yelling out the window for the most part. On the rest of the days it was me and a friend who I’d roped into helping me. I needed someone to help make sure the gear didn’t walk away, and for a few shots I was being pulled in a wagon. On those days I had nothing more than some still lenses, a camera and a tripod and a slider.
That’s it? To the extent that it was produced, I was the producer, also the director, the director of photography, the sound recordist, the editor, the mixer and I did the color grade and the titles. My very talented friend Arjan Miranda composed an original score. Anyone who finishes a personal project will tell you how grateful they are for every name in the credits.
Did you collaborate with a writer or you wrote this? There was no writer on this project, the voiceover is edited down from
an hour-long interview I did with Mark. I worked with a fellow photographer/director Andrew Norton on a few projects a couple of years back, Andrew has a background in radio production, and watching him conduct interviews taught me a lot about the process: What kinds of questions set up answers that you can use, how to listen for tenses and context, how to interview for the edit in the same way that a good DP or director is shooting for the edit. On the post side I learned how to shape an interview into a story arc, and how finesse the details. Adding or subtracting pauses, leaving in some of the quirks that we all have when we speak, but loosing anything extraneous. That said, Mark was very engaging and very emotive in how he told his story. We did the interview in my garage under a little tent made of moving blankets and C-stands. When we finished we were both a little misty.
Why black and white? I suppose metaphorically it’s a story of darkness and light, it just seemed to fit. That’s the joy of a personal project; you don’t have to make the case for anything. You have an instinct, and that’s enough.
Why did you feel it was important to tell this story? Obviously homelessness is a huge issue in this country, but I didn’t set out with any particular agenda. I was really just following my nose. The idea of a homeless running club was unexpected, that got me started. When I met Mark I was interested in hearing what the path was that lead him to where he was at. When I learned about his academic pursuits and career ambitions that added another layer too. I think there’s merit in challenging people’s expectations.
Creative Director: David Curcurito Art Director: Jessica Musumeci Consulting Photo Editor: Nancy Jo Iacoi Photo Editor: Jesse Reiter Photographer:John Huet
Heidi: What type of direction did you give the photographer? Jesse: The story was about how to be a Happier, Healthier golfer, with Tiger as our main example. We need Tiger looking just that: Happy.
Did you have access to Tiger during the shoot? I know John Huet has shot him before, so there was a familiarity. No, we didn’t but because we didn’t have access to him, we needed to capture that out on the course during a tournament. Nancy Jo Iacoi, who has been working on Golf Magazine as a Consulting Photo Editor, suggested we bring in John for this job because of his already strong relationship with Tiger from photographing him for so many years.
What was the biggest challenge with this shoot?
Now photographing a specific expression or mood of a golfer during a tournament is no easy feat. It takes a sharp mind, quite a bit of planning, a good amount of hustle and luck. The direction we gave John was simple: we need a cover worthy image of Tiger smiling and looking happy. Obviously a lot of variables need to align for it to be a successful cover, and John had the same press access as everyone else at the tournament. So it was going to be a challenge to get himself in the correct position and be ready to make the picture IF Tiger smiled.
Tiger is so heavily photographed, how did you want to make this project/cover different?
Most of the time if you see Tiger on the cover of a magazine, he has the standard “tough guy” look. But because of how the feature was being presented and designed, we wanted the opposite of a tough guy. At Golf Magazine, we want people to love and enjoy this game, because at the end of the day it should make you happy. And having John out there to capture that turned out to be the right decision. He crushed it and delivered beautiful images of a happy Tiger that we were not expecting.
Heidi: Tell me about the freckles in your portraits. Simon: As far as the freckles goes… For me, I approach photography and fashion through an anthropological lens. There is a near-infinite variety of genetic variation in human beings, and the more you travel and explore, the more of that infinite variety you will see. Freckles, apart from simply being an aesthetically pleasing and interesting thing to take pictures of, especially on a face, for purely photographic reasons… If you take any arbitrary visual detail of people, let’s say hands, for example, and photograph only that, all around the world, from countless people from the widest cross-section of ethnic origins you can find, you’ll begin to appreciate all the subtle and fine ways in which, for example, Japanese hands are beautiful, or the minute, peculiar, interesting characteristics of Nigerian hands. It’s almost like Pokemon, there is just a staggering, endless, variety, and bearing witness to these patterns in nature play out on human faces with my camera is something that could easily fascinate me for the rest of my life.
Did Vogue send you to Morocco to shoot Tilly?
No, I was in Morocco in December of 2018, and being Moroccan myself, I knew a few folks in the art and photo scene there. The very instant I saw her on social media, I became laser focused on photographing her. Once I learned she was a fellow Moroccan and was in Marrakech at the same time as me, it was a done deal. And it was truly one of the most magical, beautiful, inspiring shoots of my life. To capture such beauty like that, me, as a Moroccan photographer, and her, as a Moroccan model, it was a dream come true.
How are you creating your instagram grid with those overlays, is that an app?
I have a grid I use and put it all together in InDesign. It takes a long, long time, but usually I just smoke some weed, and throw stuff together that I feel blends well and complements each other, and then begin to layer it and play with it interesting ways, thinking about the geometry, the top layer, the bottom layer, the overarching theme, and how it all works together with the previous grids. It can take the better part of a day or many many hours to fully complete it to a degree I feel is satisfactory.
Tell us about your political work. I am most proud of my pieces discussing the systematic disenfranchisement of Third Party politics in America, and my coverage of the RNC for Gawker, which ironically involved me photographing Peter Thiel as he bankrupted the very same Gawker employing me to be there.
Heidi: Your father mentions that Kashmir is India’s open wound, is that what drew you to that area? Avani: I have been traveling to Kashmir with my father during the making of the film. All my life I have seen my fathers images and made sense of the world and our history but Kashmir became my first hand experience. Something I had never had. After the film was completed, I stayed on in Kashmir and over time, Kashmir and the people of Kashmir became very close to my heart. That is why I keep going back (and that is why I am sharing a few images from Kashmir)
You mentioned you had to be a filmmaker and not a daughter during the creation of Your 55 minute documentary Raghu Rai, An Unframed Portrait. When you look at your father’s work, are you viewing as a daughter, as a photographer, do those roles blend for you? The film is about that conflict. Me as a daughter and a photographer, and him as the father or the photographer. During the making of the film I faced many challenges. There were times where id feel that my father wanted to give me all the knowledge in the past 50 years – keeping in mind his likes as well as his dislikes. At the same time he also wanted me to be my own person. There were times that I walked into his space like a daughter and expected answers from a photographer. That never worked. But when I look at his work, which is also the photo history of our times – I view it only as a photographer. That is my responsibility. I learnt to do that over the 7 years I observed my father through my viewfinder. It was a process.
As time has passed can you flow more easily between daughter and artist? The film made me realize many things. our conversations no longer ended in an argument. There is respect between the two of us and dignity in our differences. I can now go back home to my parents and feel like a daughter without as much pressure I would have everytime he came in front of me to pick up my camera and shoot.
Do you remember when you first understood your father’s body of work and the impact of those photos? Tell us about that. Even after making the film I don’t think I have seen his complete body of work. But it’s all a process. Images that are timeless have something new for you to understand every time one views them. The first few photographs that I saw of my father was of the buried child in Bhopal.
Tell us about the ending image to your documentary. That photograph (at the end of the film) was taken a couple of months before I finished filming. It just came to me. It wasn’t planned but when I did take that – I knew how my film was going to end after 6 years of trying to make it. This was taken in the Delhi at the river during winter. The bird in the image is a migratory bird that only comes during that season.
How did you creatively blossom after the making of this film? I felt like I had a clean slate. I had said what I had to about my lineage and I could start all over without being judged. It opened my mind, it cleared a lot of things. I knew better what I liked and disliked, where my father and I were similar and different and we started to respect that. (please watch my film soon J
What kind of gravity comes with being Raghu Rai’s daughter? Is it internal, external? I started to make the film because of this identity crisis. I often fought with my father when I didn’t like something, but I didn’t always know what I did like. It took time and effort as I worked on the film – to get to know myself better. And when I feel I do – I don’t need to prove to anyone anymore. It’s a good feeling.
I made this film because I love my father deeply but I didn’t understand him enough. After I made it – I love him even more and I am happy to be me. Whoever knew me knew me for being his daughter. But after making this film and through the years they acknowledge my work and that is a blessing.
In your debut show: Ground Zero what questions of the heart were you trying to answer? I am still working on the project. I feel like it’s a never ending project. I try to answer questions of stereotypes, the ideas of Kashmir (as the Indian media reports it) and the women and children of a conflict state which is also the most militarized land on earth.
Congratulations on your Getty Reportage inclusion. Is that image from Ground Zero and all done in camera? Thank you! Yes.
What are your thoughts on how being a woman behind the camera opened up different emotions from your subject… do you feel it would have been different if you were a man? There are places where women aren’t allowed and there are places where men aren’t allowed. Being a woman – I was able to walk into the lives of the people I want to connect with – my current project being on women and children. If I were a man I would probably not be able to do that in a Muslim state (Kashmir) especially, at least not so easily. For most of history woman photographers were fewer than men- I don’t like this idea. It is very important to view the world from a woman’s perspective. Men documenting the world can never be a wholesome experience when you haven’t seen a woman’s.
Heidi: Tell us why this project was different for you? Joe: This assignment really combined everything I love about shooting for editorial clients. It was commissioned by the editor and designer Robert Priest so I knew that care would be taken in how the images would be used and that the process would be collaborative every step of the way. I was also excited about the subject matter, despite not being a true follower of sports. I felt that photographing women for a soccer magazine that primarily focuses on global soccer stars who are generally male, this was a nice chance to add to the coverage of one of the most successful teams playing the game today. It dovetailed nicely into conversations about inclusion and representation, which I care about greatly in the context of being someone who contributes to media the way I do.
What did you know about Priest+Grace the legendary design duo prior to this project? I’ve known about Robert Priest for many years, all the way back to when I was a contributor to Conde Nast Portfolio magazine, where he was the design director. I also did assignments for O (The Oprah Magazine) when he was the design director there. I have great respect for and reverence to his legacy as well as his ability to stay on the cutting edge of innovative design. I think if you love working in magazines, you know about Robert.
When a publication like 8by8 is so exquisitely designed what type of responsibility do you feel?
It’s really such a treat to know that the photography is meant to live side by side with amazing type and design elements made by the best designers in the business. I do feel a responsibility for my images to hold up to that great design, so they can be on equal footing and complement one another. My absolute favorite thing about shooting for magazines is seeing how my images pair with strong design, especially on a cover shoot.
Tell us about the gravity of working with such an important group of women that push beyond the normal cover subject? Truthfully, these are the types of shoots I live for. Anyone who is redefining norms, pushing boundaries, challenging expectations, is in my opinion the perfect cover subject. I want to look back on the work I do and feel like I was capturing my subjects at pivotal moments in their lives and careers. I knew the back story of the pressure these women have faced as favorites going into the World Cup. They face a discriminatory pay scale and are scrutinized in ways that I think the male players aren’t. In my eyes they are heroes as well as athletes and I wanted to my images to reflect that.
Most cover shoots come with layers of styling, h/m, how did the lack of these both inspire and intimidate you? It was refreshing. I loved that they were being photographed in their battle armor, it seemed to give them a sense of purpose on the shoot. Robert and I agreed that we would not ask them to pose or interact with a ball, I didn’t want to mine the typical imagery we’ve all seen of athletes in their uniforms performing.
This is your second portrait gallery of powerful women, how are you approaching these projects and what is on your mind leading up to these? I take it very, very seriously and I’m acutely aware that my (male) voice is not the obvious choice to represent all subjects. I’m very excited to see that diversity in photography is being honored and encouraged and I am extremely humbled if I am asked to take on a story like this. I think I may have been called for each of these portfolios as someone who has photographed many people, men and women, who are making an impact in the world. It’s not every day that I am asked to do that and I don’t take it lightly. I know that I have to come through with images that are thoughtful, representative of the story, and can live on as a historic document of the strides being made by women in 2019.
How do you hope women in particular respond to these galleries? In a few words what is your message? I hope all viewers can see that I’m truly looking to make honest and inspiring portraits, not as a male point of view, but as a proxy for anyone who is inspired by leaders and athletes. I especially think about what it might feel like for girls or young women to see these subjects celebrated in the same light as their male counterparts (by a male photographer) and hope that my voice can be lent, at times, to equalize the way in which subjects are photographed. I would hope that many more female photographers can be similarly tasked with documenting male subjects, as opposed to photography being divided into gender specific assigning.
What was the direction from the magazine? Robert initially said he was interested in some of the color direction my work had been taking, so that was a jumping off point for me to experiment with traditional studio lighting as well as some setups with a stronger color voice.
Tell us about the set conversation during the image making? We were extremely rushed for time so there were only a handful of opportunities to talk to the players during the session. But I did get to have a few laughs with some of them, it was early in the year and I think the excitement for what lay ahead for them at the World Cup was palpable.
How do you feel about community within the photo industry?
I hope it comes through that I am a believer in diversity of perspectives in photography and that I actively seek out conversation with other photographers on these matters. It’s not lost on me how isolating a freelance career can be so I make it a point to doing outreach to a group of peers so we can discuss the important changes happening, or that need to happen in our industry.
Heidi: How did this project come about?
Abhishek: I had recently watched the classic ‘Days of heaven‘. Its visual style, colour palette and the beautiful use of the golden hour light, especially for the landscape shots, inspired me to work on this project. It sparked the idea of shooting a fashion story in a setup which has a natural and raw energy.
What was the direction for the work?
My idea was to bring the characters alive in an uneventful, humdrum summer setup and let the characters be a part of the surroundings. With no defined relationship between the characters, I wanted it to have a free-of-ties feel.
Did you pitch this idea or did they ask you to submit?
I submitted them the story for a possible publication.
How much personal work do you do?
I do it as often as I can between the commercial projects.
Why did you choose this location?
For the look and feel I had in mind for the story, I needed a place which has a rural, countryside vibe and natural empty spaces, giving the characters an opportunity to be as close to the nature as possible. I always had it in mind to include elemental landscape shots to emphasize the summer vibe and complement the styling.
Tell us about combining landscape and fashion.
Landscape photography is very close to my heart. One of the things which drew me towards photography was the excitement of capturing a vista to stir the emotions of the viewer. Fashion I believe is a way of expression, emoting through styles. When combined with a landscape, whether it is to complement or juxtapose the fashion element, together it works seamlessly to bring out the intended emotions.
Creative Director: Heidi Volpe Assistant Photo Editor: Jay Modi Photographer: Rohan Hande Prop Stylist: Aditi Dugar Styled by Sage and Saffron Cooked by: Aliakbar Baldiwala and Akshat Agarwal Hand Model: Mythili Zatakia Food Editor: Sonal Ved
Heidi: I know you did some research on old master paintings after we discussed the concept for our OTT food shoot. What did you watch and what did you learn?
Rohan: I found this video lecture by John Walsh, the Director Emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum, L.A. and since these are historical artworks, understanding the narrative and motives by a specialist in Dutch paintings is better than a subjective approach. I learned a lot from Pieter Claesz’s composition and light.
How did that research translate into the final image?
The window light and textures, along with the opulence was replicated. Surrealist elements were also added to push the OTT narrative.
How difficult was the post as we had only one hand model?
It was quite straightforward to be honest. Much like a collage, it was cut and paste. The tricky bit was getting the correct hand gestures during the shoot.
Were you concerned the lights would start to deteriorate the food?
Since we were working with flash and not consistent lighting, I wasn’t worried. Some of the food had to be made “camera friendly” to draw attention and maybe a couple of them were taken back to the kitchen to “redecorate”. However, we weren’t working with any cold items, that could melt.
We knew you were the perfect person for this assignment bc of your expertise in collage/photo illustration, where did you first start experimenting with this technique and why?
Why, thank you! I started looking into this process when I was studying commercial photography. I wasn’t aware of this process until I met students from graphic design and illustration. It was a mix of that and happy accident where the model stood between 2 lights meant to light the background and ended up looking like this (tenacity_3).
Someone might have mentioned “collage” and that was it. This turned into mixed media very quickly. I found collages to be an exciting process to break out and translate my ideas and emotions in more than 1 way. And honestly, it was just a lot of fun trying out new and exciting process:
into the jazz age 1 and 2
You have great range in your work, how do you know when to execute straight forward photography vs the collage? and is all the collage done digitally?
I try not to separate the 2 processes. By nature the collages always come in later. So any photographs made can work with the narrative. Sometimes I have found photographs made 3-4 years ago, so give me a narrative element. However, that’s rare. Most collages are made with photographs I’ve made in the same time period, for example “Japan Waiting”. I do have a lot of digital collages, but not everything is digital. It comes down to which method would be most beneficial for the artwork, for example Drips. I cannot predict how the paint is going to drip and blot.
How has your personal travel influenced your work?
“Japan Waiting” and “Japan Cabs” are the best examples of explore this topic. I’ve been there twice and both times, I’ve come back with a new perspective. “Japan Cabs” happened because of the classic car models, they fully uniformed drivers and the automatic doors. The collages weren’t planned, but once reviewing all the images, it was the only way to tell a story about the taxis in the city. During this year’s visit I saw a lot of people waiting..patiently. Initially shot as a photographic series of I think around 40 images, where the Japanese who wouldn’t cross a red light even if the street was 6 feet wide, “Japan Waiting” in turn because a response to “Japan Cabs”. To me it became a series on patience.
Heidi: Your images were recently in Shifting City, an exhibition that has been adapted in nine cities across the world that are considered ‘arrival cities’. The Red Cat and Other Stories had some of the same images, tell us about the cross over.
Ritesh: Kaiwan Mehta, the curator, gave us a brief related to the Arrived In City. In very simple words: A city where everything is kinda there, for whatever it is you wish to achieve or do; all you have to do is show up. I realized that my work on the city isn’t just looking at that aspect but I have also been chronicling the rapid expansion of the city, both in physical and mental terms. It evoked memories of the time I moved, and the mental jolt I got on seeing the socio-cultural differences. It made me think of all the conversations I have had with people I know that have shifted along with the city.
For curation I did a mammoth archive dive. I pulled out all my iphone images that went into the book, all the rejects that didn’t make it to the book and tossed them around. Over repeated edits and since I am one of those photographers who makes photos everyday, I added the new material made in the month and half leading up to the show. Final stage edit was done jointly with Kaiwan. One of my biggest takeaways, apart from many others, is his use of variants of a single image, akin to repetition. I always thought that repetition was simply a tool in writing, a figure of speech, but when done with images its quite fantastic!
What did you hope the viewer felt? The ultimate goal of my work is empathy and introspection. And they both work in tandem. Of course, I can’t really control what people feel so some viewers found it largely entertaining, some found the pictures to be a celebration of the absolute banal and hence very relatable. Most importantly I wanted people to read the photos and enquire within instead of expecting simplified captions. The whole series also aspires to incite curiosity. Life in the city is so hard, we barely get time to reflect or be curious about anything besides the fulfillment of one’s basic needs.
Were all the images in the book and the show shot with your iphone? if so why?
in 2014 I began using the phone camera extensively, in the square format. In the process, I learnt that am a very different photographer on the phone and it began impacting the way I deal with the city and country. The phone camera is the camera of today, our generation, and what better way to chronicle and display a lived-in experience of my spaces. The phone allowed me to have a citizen like eye instead of being all professional about it.
It’s true the work is serious and heavy at times, but just like life, I am very drawn towards a certain irony in images. And India, gets a short stick on that end. People have for years photographed it in extreme ways, too much colour, too beautiful, or too poor, too tough a place. I am quite fatigued by the cliched images of lovers on Marine Drive, crowds at the Gateway, south Bombay charm etc. Landscapes so imposing that everything else in the photograph is elevated too. As a response to this tedium, I self-published a photo book last year called The Red Cat and Other Stories in which I linked a Sindhi fable my mother told me when I was younger and my way of seeing the city which I feel now, after all these years of carrying multiple and confusing burdens of influences, is inspired more by these little fables and folk stories. My goal was to create the most un-Bombay book on the island city as I can. Hence I focus largely on the suburbs, arriving at a balance of sorts in terms of representation of class and landscape.
How long did the book take to shoot?
The book took four years, from conception on a May afternoon in 2014, till going to press in May of 2018.
Tell us about the title
The book was initially titled Ghar, meaning home, and as it developed I felt the title didn’t do justice. There are 16 stories of grit, of survival, of successes and failures that lead up to the Red Cat fable at the end of the book, where the protagonist is a young 17 year old, hence The Red Cat and Other Stories.
What font is in the title of the book?
The font is specially designed by Sabeena Karnik, who merged the handwriting styles of my 2 elder sisters Shirley and Sonia and for my name I used a font called Metropolis. If not for my sisters I would not be in a position to pursue my dreams. If not for my parents, and my father’s dogged fight to live in Bombay, we’d be in some small town and I’d probably have a corporate job. The book is an ode to that very fact that we are never self made. Everything is a collective effort and it is true for a city like ours. No one can fulfill their dreams on their own, everybody needs a Red Cat.
How did you decide on that binding?
The binding was a last minute decision fueled by an accident. The printer, sent me the final dummy and after one day the cover began to drift away from the book, exposing its spine. At first I got mad but then I was drawn to its bareness. I anyways wanted the book to have some elements that are like a lot of the city’s structures. How often do we come across a beautiful building or a home and when we go to its side we see a chaotic network of pipes and wires. I also wanted a sense of fragility, like some of our inter-personal relationships, one wrong word or action that is misinterpreted brings to collapse years of knowing someone. It happens with all of us.
No image on the book cover, why?
For the cover too, I kept it simple. I don’t want a reader to know this is a photobook. Its simply a book with photos and text! So, because of its whiteness, if you leave the book on a coffee table, there are bound to be stains, handle it roughly and it threatens to come apart. A day before printing, I reduced the paper weight from 130 gsm to 100 as well, for I wanted a certain see through to happen. Sacrilege, felt my photographer friends and the process co-ordinator at Pragati Offset. But if you hold up certain pages against a source of light, two images merge to make a third. Like life, many things happen at once, overlapping. The printer thought am being stupid or just cutting costs, but trust me, it only looks fragile, it is pretty sturdy.
Over the last year, I came across many readers who have done interesting things with it. One man wrapped it in a beautiful hand-spun cloth from his village and kept it in his safe as a gift for 4 year old son when he turns 18. Some others have refused to let go of the bubble wrap envelope that I had used to pack it. Some have simply kept it locked inside their cupboards instead of their bookshelves. Some books are beautifully personalized by food, pickle or tea stains.
How did the book push you creatively?
The book tested my patience at all levels. Whether it was design, production or tracking of couriers. At every stage, it demanded patience of ginormous amounts! I taught myself the basics of Indesign, binding, understanding page counts to minimize wastage etc etc. As a photographer I lead a pretty sheltered life. Chasing stories, getting published and drawing a salary. And when one is doing news pictures for a long time, a false sense of superiority or a strange unreasonable dismissal of anything but news pictures had set in. So, self publishing a book, in India, when one is freelance, is like harakiri for such thoughts as well! Every step is twice as tough without institutional backing.
With regards to narrative, I knew the things I wanted to avoid. So it simply became a process of exclusion. I revisited several places to better some of the photos, one place I visited seven different times spread across two years. I was no longer chasing the perfect light, or form or anything that makes a photograph come across more dramatic than it already is. I had about 98 versions of Ghar till I abandoned that narrative and changed its name followed by 40 odd versions of The Red Cat and Other Stories. I showed the book to some photographers but I found their feedback limiting
How did you decide about the text and was there a through line in all the interviews?
I was pretty sure about having text in the book; it simply shaped up as I went along. The layout for the spreads was also quite fun. If one sits and puts together all the text columns of the book on a single page, they resemble a city skyline. The gap between some words is more, some less, for a reason. Like houses in the city, some have a single room, some have 2 room houses and so on. To the uninitiated it might seem like one giant mistake.
Why are some words in red in the text?
In addition, There are some words in red ink though that one has to join up and construct a sentence which is the last line of the Red Cat fable. This allowed me two things, one that I can keep the story open ended if the viewer does not wish to join the words. Second, its a game of sorts and you can involve kids too. A lot of photobooks alienate kids and senior citizens. They don’t set out to, but the chunky design and/or choice of topic manages to. For the same reason, I junked the hardcover and made a semi soft cover which allowed me to make gatefolds that contain short, succinct and often suggestive captions for the images. This way, you don’t have to go all the way back to some Index page. Stay with the narration and simply open the gatefold to know more.
How has your perspective of the city changed?
Change is too severe a word. Its just transformed a bit for the better. Made me a whole lot more sensitive than I was towards it. I think, that is a really good thing for its very easy to fall prey to extreme emotions here.
Creative Director: Sebastian Bland Editor: Olivia Squire
Photographer: Catherine Hyland
Heidi: What were some of the challenges with the shoot?
Catherine: One of the challenges was aligning energy and the personality I wanted to capture, this becomes difficult with a communication barrier at play and a middle aged translator interpreting my direction. What they’re feeling becomes a mystery. You can’t communicate to say – I’m a nice person and I want to make you look good! So that whole thing is totally cut off. Who knows what we would have made if we were able to have a laugh together.
I know you had a turning point with this project. Tell us how that came about.
Getting out of Ulaanbaatar immediately opened up new possibilities. “Ideally, you don’t really want to be doing things impulsively,” Catherine says. “But at the same time I think that’s when some of the best work gets made. When we were trying to get the older sumos together in the gym, it was actually very stale compared to the rest of the work we made.”
Do you have a journal or a way of keeping track of your story ideas? Can you describe your process for crafting something that feels the creative pursuit? Yes, I have a journal that I use to keep track of my ideas. I also do quite extensive research into projects before they are undertaken, sometimes I will have been researching projects for a few years before they come into fruition.
Did the images come before the film you did with We Transfer? They were shot at exactly the same time, on the same trip. I went out there specifically to make this personal project on The Rise of the Mongolians which was funded by WePresent/WeTransfer.
How did you gain acceptance into the community in order to make the work? On this particular trip we had fixers who helped translate and introduce me to a mixture of people in the Sumo community.
How long were you there? 2 weeks
Was this the first time you were working with Suitcase? No, they had previously published my project ‘Wait-And-See Pudding with Patience Sauce’, shot in on the island of Nevis in the Caribbean.
Art Director: Arsh Raziuddin Photographer:Hashim Badani Writer: Ross Anderson
Heidi: The Atlantic discovered your work via instagram rather than a site. Tell us how you use the app and how it’s moved your work forward? Hashim: As we have witnessed, Instagram and Twitter have been powerful tools in letting one take control of their narrative. I use my feed to post a blend of my work which alters between documentary and fashion. It lets me blur lines. I use Instagram stories to document or voice my opinion on the everyday while I curate my post to lend itself to a larger cumulative narrative on how I perceive and experience the world.
How do you curate your feed?
It doesn’t follow a pattern. It might vary between something as whimsical as a play of colour to something more relevant as participating in a larger discourse we might be collectively encountering. I also use it to create short fiction stories on Bombay.
How did this project push you creatively?
It was a unique editorial project to be a part of. Mainly because the narrative moved so fluidly between places, science, faith and Ross’s (the author) own experiences. That was the challenge and joy of it. Arsh had a certain vision that should brought to the table too. All in all It pushed me to look at the space we inhabit beyond our everyday perspective.
Why do you use long form captions on some of your images?
An image can be read in a number of ways. I completely enjoy the process of creating make-believe scenarios around them. The text is a way of doing so. A series I really enjoy working on is called #makingupmanto. Manto was a prolific author who lived briefly in pre-partitioned Bombay. I wander the same streets of Bombay that he might have and imagine different scenarios he might have found himself in. Sometimes I add contemporary references. In a way, the captions to these images are a projection of my concerns on the current political landscape.
Things had to change. And still, nothing changed. It seemed like the saffron skies were here to stay. Manto packed the last of his bags, said his goodbyes. Kadar, the watchman at Mohmadi Mansion was his last farewell .Teary eyed, he told Kadar of his predicament-this was never home. Kadar didn’t care. He had dozed off. Manto disappeared into the crowd.
Lost in the music, Manto made his way to Madanpura. It was one of the few areas in Bombay where life started early. The morning azaan wend its way around streets tread by children headed to the madrasa, before heading to Christ Church or St Agnes school. Mill workers heaved in clusters toward New Great Eastern Spinning & Weaving Mills. In the early hours, the sky had turned a pale pink, the kind before a storm. Safiya would be awake any minute. He picked up the pace (continued as instagram highlight).
How does each genre of photography point back to one another ( portrait to street photography, fashion to photojournalism?)
I have never thought about photography in genres. It has always been more a byproduct of my curiosity and my need to tell a story. For now, I lean on photography to do so but I am open to exploring other mediums as well.
What was it about Hashim’s work that awarded him the project? Arsh: We thought Hashim was the perfect person for this piece. I wanted someone familiar with Delhi who has a versatile background. Hashim seems to have experience with portraiture, fashion, street photography, and photojournalism. He has a great way of using textures and colors and I knew it would play into the animals and birds well.
What type of direction did you give him?
I gave Hashim a list of shots that I would like and updated him on lines of the piece that were the most important. It was hard to capture everything, especially because much of the piece was not focused on Jain’s themselves but on the animal mind and treatment of animals.
Did the writer travel with him?
No, the writer was based in Washington DC. He did help with the shot list, though. He visited earlier that year.
Heidi: You’ve been shooting for Conde Nast Traveller for the past twenty years. How has your eye evolved; your experience of landscape and the world changed?
Alistair: The eye evolves in tandem with ones’ personality. As one matures, so does the eye and our interests. Our personality notices certain things, we become intrigued in different things throughout our life, so when traveling I may turn left down a street I might have found uninteresting before. I travel quite differently than I used to. I’m trying to describe a feeling and a sense, more than photographing a place, in fact had a chat with my younger self very early on in my career, I understood that my landscapes should not necessary to be representative of the place, we have post cards, brochures and guide books for this, but should represent my personal feeling of where I’ve ended up. It’s vital for myself as a photographer to have an opinion, no matter what you are taking an image of. It must be personal, and I try very hard to ‘ milk ‘ every opportunity I get, to dig deep and to manage to represent what ever I’m shooting to mirror my feeling. I have taken it with my eyes, the camera just records it for me. Same for a beauty brand, perfume, fashion or landscape. The gesture or a hand, a look, or an attitude of a model, it all stems from the center of a personality. Every personality is unique, so should creativity.
Can you tell us how your fashion points back to your landscape/travel and vice versa?
Shooting landscapes, I’ve understood, that the further I am from the airport, the more interesting place I am in. The harder the struggle to arrive the more the reward, art imitating life I guess… If I produce a set of images that I myself find acceptable, and that can stir an emotion, then I will submit them to my editor. It could be just a dusty track in a certain light, and somehow I notice it and it becomes magic, so when I’m shooting, I don’t stop until I feel I have this.
The same goes for the majority of my fashion work, even if it’s often diffused by commercial restraints and needs of what ever client I am working with. The imagery must first pass my litmus test. I must find the magic.
What would you tell your younger self creative self about having such diversity in your work?
My diversity you mention is perhaps the result of an impatient wandering eye, coupled with an appalling memory, and my need to capture to remember!
What type of terrain do you love?
I love inhospitable places, the harshness is often rewarded by a beautiful smell. Danokil is an extra ordinary place. Completely Biblical, I have the feeling nothing has changed in the past 2000 years. Erta Ale is still bubbling and fussing away, The salt on the dry lake is still being harvested as it was thousands of years ago, The sulphur pools still smell the same, and it’s still considered the hottest, most un-hospitable place on earth, but in this wonderland it fires up the soul and ignites the passion to capture the invisible emotion just in order to remember.
Creative Director and Editor-In-Chief: Ben Giese
Heidi: Is this the first time working for META?
Dean: This wasn’t the first story that I shot for Meta, I did a film and photo series on freestyle motocross rider and all around amazing person, Jimmy Hill previously.
Did you bring this story idea to them, or was this assigned?
This trip was prompted by me buying a Harley which coinciding with a road trip planned by friends and co-collaborators Justin Chatwin and Jay Zaretsky. We rode 3000 or so miles starting in Venice, California up into Western Oregon; across the state and part of the coast – returning to Los Angeles some 10 or so days later. The trip wasn’t assigned by Meta – it just sounded like the right kind of adventure. As always, I took a camera to document the journey. My friend Ben who runs Meta seemed like the perfect person to put the story to print and he encouraged us to have Justin write to accompany the images. Justin’s words really helped bring the piece together.
What type of creative direction did you get from the magazine?
Ben made selects from the thousands of images I shot and then Justin wrote small diary-style entries to accompany the images since we didn’t have a consistent narrative.
Over how many days did you shoot this?
10 days on the road, we camped most of the way and carried everything we needed on our bikes.
Tell us about the making of some of these images
Sometimes the best images come without intention and are based purely on living some kind of adventure. I would like to be doing more of this and thankfully I have an amazing group of friends who live this way.
How did you hear of this publication?
I first heard about Meta probably 5 years or so ago, first just through the motorcycle circles and then through my ad agency friends at Team One who at that time were working on Indian Motorcycles. I met Ben and Andrew who started the magazine soon after whilst on a motorcycle ride in Colorado. We became fast friends and I’m a big believer in the attention to detail and hard work they put into the magazine. Ben brings an elevated aesthetic to motorcycle culture, something I also feel strongly about.
Where did your love of motorcycles come from? Are you a collector?
My love with motorcycles comes from starting to ride a dirt bike around 6 or 7 years ago in the vast California and Nevada desert and then having some amazingly passionate friends who I have learned everything from. I love the people, the bikes and the culture – it’s an awesome community and helps satisfy my love for adventure and camaraderie. I suppose some day, in s decade or two, I’ll call myself a collector – but for now I just have one too many motorcycles – A Harley Dyna FXDX, Triumph Scrambler, Honda Dirt Bike and an old 90’s BMW GS. I already have plans for one or two more.
Heidi: What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Bill: “It was the perfect assignment for a few reasons. First, it was in a city I had been longing to visit, I love Italy, and this was truly special.
My editor simply told me – “go to Palermo, and come back.” I think one of the best things a photo editor can do on an assignment like this is to show trust in the photographers they hire. They were drawn to the photographers work for a reason, and letting them do their natural best is key. It frees up the experience to really be open to the unexpected, which is exactly what happened here for me.
Had you been to Italy before? Yes. I was reminded of a shoot I had done in Tuscany a few years before where I was working with Alduino Ventimiglia, a descendent of Frederick the 2nd of Sicily.
He is the man responsible for saving a breed of Sicilian war-horse, the Persano stallion. One evening we were speaking of Sicily, and he asked me “what do you think of when you
think of Sicily” “mystery,” I said. “exactly” he said. I’m not sure if a photographer can be assigned to “shoot” mystery, it is something you must experience when you’re not looking. Palermo, like other Italian cities I have been to -Napoli, or Tropea for example, has many layers of mystery. It has a kind of shiny and forward busy side, as well as a deeply poetic dark side. The connection between the two is the “vena cava” of sorts, I was excited to see what the city was willing to show me.
Who did you travel with?
My Italian producer from Rome was available to accompany me.
What was the first thing you did upon landing?
Upon landing from Rome, we were immediately in search of local delicacies. The fish, the sea urchin, the infusions and digestifs. The weather was building, it was hot, and there was a beautiful pressure in the air. We found a small, beautiful place, with a sidewalk terrace covered by a canvas canopy. The food was simple and perfect, the light from the encroaching storm was telling and moody, I loved it. Near the closing
of our meal, the sky opened up and flooded the streets, reflecting the “bruised” sky and shifting clouds, we remained at our table outside beneath the canvas roof, sipping a beautiful, herbaceous liquor made from laurel leaves. The first two shots of the printed story were taken after the storm – the two upper left images. Upon leaving, I noticed in the corner of one of the windows, a tiny sticker reading “Member of the Moto Guzzi owners club.” I asked about the location of the club, thinking it might offer a possible view into a stylish corner of the city, I also own a vintage Moto Guzzi, so I was personally intrigued.
Did you have a shot list? We had no shot list, the mystery unfolded in front of us, as we moved from moment to moment, person to person, meal to meal. Our first hotel was hidden in a backstreet, and inspired some exploration. Having given up on the motorcycle club, but still keen to find some Italian machines, I noticed a flash of red through a door barely open. We stopped, and had a look. It turned out to be an old bike shop run by its original owner, vintage Italian exotica, like the Binelli race bike also pictured. It turned out that the bike shop had been a theater for puppetry, still adorned with handprint murals, and backdrops. I asked about the tradition of Marionettes, and puppet theater, they happily lead me to the master, also pictured below.
As a photographer, my work is to make memories, storytelling is key. This trip in particular was loaded with
experience, a testament to the trust of my editor Caroline Metcalf. If I had been chasing down a shot list, none of this might have happened.
How did you find your subjects?
Our first night there, I was shooting shadows in a back alley, the sun had just gone down. I heard something which sounded like a metal knife on glass, clinking in a window above me. I looked up and saw a woman chipping wax off of some antique candle sticks. She asked me if I was looking for something, I said I was looking for shadows. I noticed the fresco covered ceiling behind her, and asked if she lived there. She said yes, and it was a studio as well. I told her it looked beautiful, and that we were shooting for a magazine. She asked if we wanted to come up for a drink, of course we said yes. She turned out to be a furniture designer, and was having people over for dinner. We helped her in the kitchen, set the table, and were there for the evening, it was amazing, and we are still in touch. I mentioned I was interested to find some characters to shoot, and I wanted to breathe in some style. She gave it some thought, and connected me to a friend the very next day. We met at the studio a day later, went through her closet, and dressed her
friend Lucrezia in clothes I found in her closet. Lucrezia turned out to be a photographer, director, performer, we too are still in contact, the layers continue.
How many days were you there?
I believe we were there for 4 days? maybe 5?
Did you submit those grids of images or did they edit those for you?
They got so many pictures out of it, they had to spread it out using grids, a good problem to have.
I do play with diptychs in my own edits, and feel it helps create contrast graphically, but it also helps to tell a story and create a narrative.
Did you turn in both black and white and color?
I mixed black and white and color, they pretty much went with what I sent.
Heidi: Why a podcast? How did this come about? Shaughn and John: As a photo team we’ve realized that working together in the same physical space helps us to make the most of the days we aren’t on set shooting. Although we both live in the LA area there is about 50 miles separating us, which means at least 2 hours of driving per day. Like a lot of people these days the way we cope with the long drive is by listening to an insane amount of podcasts. Whether it be true crime, investigative, daily news or interview style, we love being absorbed in stories while we commute. What began as a fun way of keeping ourselves occupied evolved into a conversation about what a Shaughn and John podcast would look like. We agreed that the best idea was to create a podcast that matched the style and approach of our personal documentary projects. Whether it is through photos, video and now audio we love telling the stories of fringe groups and subcultures.
Which podcasts do you both listen to? We each have our favorite genres. Shaughn leans towards true crime (Sword and Scale, Casefile, True Crime All the Time) and I (John) lean towards investigative podcasts (The Daily, The Dropout, The Dream). But there is definitely a ton of overlap. Some of our recent shared favorites include: Uncover, Bomber, Dirty John, Heaven’s Gate, S-Town, and Up and Vanished.
What is the criteria for a subculture to make the cut? There isn’t exactly a criteria but we both constantly have an ear to the ground searching for our next big project. Subcultures that make you scratch your head and wonder what a day in their life looks like always intrigue us.
How does photography tie into your podcast idea? Photography pretty much ties into everything we do. When there is a good story to tell with audio, there is usually an opportunity to capture great photos as well. One advantage of being a team is that we are able to capture stills and audio at the same time. Also, we’ve noticed that when most people tune in to a podcast they often become interested in knowing what the characters of the story look like. By capturing both the audio and visual aspect of the story we feel we can provide an even richer picture for the audience.
What’s the line up for the first season?
In Season One we are diving into the story of the Sisters of the Valley, a group of self ordained nuns living in Central California who grow and smoke weed! We discovered the sisters back in 2016 and the photos we captured went viral in a way we had never experienced before. We kept in touch with the sisters and over time their operation has continued to grow. Their CBD business now grosses over a million dollars a year and they have since expanded into Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the UK. The sister’s have gotten a ton of press in the last few years but what we hope to do with the podcast is to use the long form medium to tell the deeper story of who these women are.
How is the approach to crafting a podcast different or similar to creating images? The process is actually pretty similar. Regardless of what tools we are using we keep our focus on discovering what the true heart of the story is and working to capture it powerfully and authentically.
Where do you hope this goes in the next few years? Over the next few years we plan to continue producing the podcast with each season focusing on a new fringe group. Our ideas for future seasons include flat earthers, ghost hunters, and more.
Do you listen differently now and how has that affected your photography? We both hear the world a bit differently since we began the podcast. In the same way that we are constantly searching for visual elements that will make for good photographs, we now bring that level of attention to sound and conversations. Whether it’s the crackling of a bon fire, a heartfelt personal story, or even just the sound of silence, we have a whole new appreciation for audio.
For 75 years Dwyane’s photo lab in Parsons, Kansas had been processing Kodachrome film. It’s closing in 2010 inspired many photographers to make the trek to the lab back then, and more recently, a Netflix film called Kodachrome. The New York Times published an article in 2010 about the lab’s closing and it sparked the idea for the film. The last roll of Kodachrome 64 was handed to none other than Steve McCurry, a long time fan of the film, and you can read about his process along with the 36 images he shot here. Closing credits from the movie include McCurry’s images below
Photography by Steve McCurry: Villagers Celebrating the Festival of Holi, Vrindavan, Rajasthan, India, 1996
Heidi: How did this job come about, did you pitch it to the magazine?
Sean: Whenever I hear from Skye Senterfeit, the photo editor at Travel + Leisure and Departures, it’s always a ‘pinch myself’ moment. When I saw Madagascar in the subject line of this email it was particularly exciting, although I’m ashamed to say that my knowledge of the country before this trip came exclusively from the animated kids movie.
How many days were you there; had you been to Madagascar before?
7 days. No I’d never been there before.
What was the overall directive from the magazine? Despite the exotic destination, the direction from the magazine was surprisingly low-key. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Skye several times (starting with some assignments closer to home and then gradually moving further afield) so I think I’d built up some trust! However there was some dramatic emails in the lead up to the trip when news broke of an outbreak of The Plague. A last minute visit to my doctor and the prescription of some obscure antibiotics later, and I was good to go.
Did you have a shot list to fulfill? Often on assignments like this, the writer has travelled in advance and has made a start on the story which can then be used to build a shot list. But in this case I was traveling with the writer so everything was a little unknown. The hardest thing about this particular assignment was the vast visual contrasts in what we were experiencing. From arid landscapes and poverty of local villages to a brand new $2500/night resort on a private island. To find a visual cohesion was the biggest challenge.
Are you editing as you shoot?
Yes absolutely, to make sure everything is backed up and also to ensure that I’m managing to shoot a good variety of images. I love working on travel stories because they are a great excuse to make a mix of details, landscapes, portraits and interiors. I’ve always preferred to work to a series rather than in single frames and I get pretty excited about the idea of crafting a narrative.
You have a broad range of work, is there a common thread you pull on for each category? I’ve always been much more interested in subject matter and atmosphere rather than photographic techniques, and in a broad sense I hope that ties my work together. I’m always striving for a simplicity and clarity from an observational viewpoint.
How much of your work is local and how much is international brands asking you to shoot in AU? Probably 50-50. It’s more convenient to work close to home but as a photographer I think it’s so important to constantly be presented with new environments. It’s the best way to stay motivated and inspired.