Interviews

Interview | Michael McCluskey

American photographer, Michael McCluskey, captures some of the most transcendental scenes that I’ve ever seen. They’re stunning; however, simultaneously, they make me feel sick to my stomach. They make me question a lot of things I’ve seen in my own life, reminding me of emotional and traumatic experiences. I desperately wanted to find out why McCluskey’s images made me feel this way. 

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Your work really grasps me and somehow forces me to reminisce about things I've seen in my own life, almost like I've lived in the scenes of your photos.  Do you hope your audience places themselves in the images you're capturing?

I like to create images that feel familiar, or sometimes maybe slightly nostalgic.  One way that I do this is by using subject matter that viewers can relate to.  It creates a connection between the image and the viewer by drawing a line between the subject matter and the viewer's own history. 

When I look at your photos, there's such a mesmerising, trance like quality, but they also seem to give me a sick feeling in my stomach.  Do you intend for the viewer to feel the same way when they see your work? 

I think that spaces and objects can sometimes take on the energies of the people that interact with and inhabit them.  This is a part of the reason that I like photographing old places and things. There's a lot of history there.  Both good and bad.  Conflict is at the centre of every story. 

What is the subject matter behind the majority of the photographs?  I can't help but feel that the scenes portray something dark, like a brutal event has taken place in something. 

I have an appreciation for both the light and the dark. You can't have one without the other because they exist in parallel to each other. I think that by including two strong elements that exist in opposition to each other in a single work, a sort of pleasing dissonance can occur between the the two.

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Is there a type of trauma paired with the places in the images; to yourself or another person? 

Not directly, no.  But if you mean, have I experienced trauma personally and has that affected how I approach my work and what I choose to photograph then, yes, definitely.  But I'd prefer not to go into any detail about that now. 

There are a lot of houses and cars in the pictures.  Do you have any affiliation to the locations or objects? 

I don't have any affiliation to most of the locations or objects in my images.  I spend a lot of time walking and driving around looking for things and scenes that catch my interest.  I've been busted trespassing a few times by cops, neighbours, property owners, etc.  Sometimes people get really weirded out when they see me lurking around their neighbourhood (understandably). 

Do you have any sort of relationship to the people in your photographs? 

Yes and no.  Some of the people in my photos are people that just happened to walk into frame. Which can be a very organic and magical moment to capture. For the others, they are family and friends that I make stand in for photos (haha).  Lately, mostly my roommate, Tomek. He's a good sport. 

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Why do you usually photograph at night, or when the daylight is bleak? 

When I was a kid, every night my mother would tuck me in and pray with me before bed.  When she would turn my bedroom light off I would sometimes think that I could see things moving in the shadows. It was my eyes playing tricks on me.  Sometimes I like to leave some room in my images for my audience to fill in the blanks with their own imaginations.  

Finally, is there a particular camera / film that you enjoy using? 

So far I've only owned two camera bodies. Both DSLRs.  I started with a Nikon D3300, and recently upgraded to a Nikon D750. I've only been shooting for three years.  Right now I'm saving money for a medium format camera.
 

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Interview | Edie Sunday

 It’s all self-discovery. It’s years of being too afraid to really live life, and then a sudden explosion of a desire to exist and to feel my presence on this earth. I never know who I am but I do know that I am always searching for some sense of that ephemeral thing we call purpose.
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Edie Sunday is a young, talented American photographer. Through her photographs, she takes the viewer on a wonderful journey through her intimate and personal vision of the dreamy and surrealistic. I had the opportunity to travel through her work, her stunning self-portraits and extraordinary landscapes. Read on to find out more.

Your colourful photos are snapshots of a secret world which appears far away, dreamlike, surreal and sensual. There are no urban, geographical or temporal references. The only recognisable temporal reference is in the colour of your hair that changes, along with the moods of the subjects in your photos.

How did you get to this photographic abstraction?

To be perfectly honest I haven’t ever thought too much about it. It’s natural in a sense because I do not like anything urban or modern. I learned to compose photos that cut out objects or references to the time and place, even of any reality at all. The time and place were never important; it was just what I saw in my mind. So those things—the references, didn’t belong. The photos I make are more representations of the inside of my mind, if that makes any sense whatsoever. 

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Your self-portraits are astounding. You have a great screen presence. Your gaze is both the inquisitor and the investigated, it stares straight out at the viewer. Your self-portraits don’t speak about an action, but about feelings. They freeze the emotion. They are reflected in your look, your eyes, your face, your hair, your hands, in your whole body, lasting only a moment.

How important are your self-portraits in your artwork?

Self-portraits, for some years now, have been the most important part of my work because it’s the only thing I do aside from photos of the sky out of the window of the car or the occasional paid job. I used to take photos of other people but there were very few people I connected with on a level that made it feel right. The people I started all of this with—we’re all scattered across the world now, pursuing our dreams and what not. So at a certain point I was left with only myself as subject. I did it out of necessity, but it became a catharsis and an important part of my life. I only make self-portraits under certain circumstances—typically emotional ones. Finally I realized that I made the work that felt the truest to me with myself as subject. I have no desire to photograph others now—unless they are friends and family that I love, or if it’s for work. I am the beginning middle and end of my process, and in that way it has become even more important to me. 

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You appear to photograph mostly women. Female beauty is told by small, tiny gestures. A feminine world of sensuality. You say without saying. Just hints. You tell pieces of beauty. A vague feeling like a reminder of David Hamilton's innocence and youth.

Would you mind speaking about this beauty and innocence that radiate from your female pictures?

It’s interesting to me that you choose those words because as we already mentioned, I mostly photograph myself, and when I am doing so I don’t feel beautiful or innocent. But I am happy those qualities come across—I didn’t know they were there. Maybe I am those things sometimes. A feminine world of sensuality is certainly there because it is the world I inhabit. I am very sensual person and I always feel a heightened sensuality when I am photographing myself. I’m not playing a character—I am presenting myself as I am. I don’t set things up to tell stories, I don’t think about poses or the final product. I just set the camera up and let my intuition guide me, I release something real that has been living in me, and clearly what has come out is a very transparent, vulnerable, and accurate depiction of who I really am. It’s horrifying and amazing that so many people know me so well. 

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The light in your images sometimes floats down gently touching the subject. Other times it rips the picture with a devastating power, becoming the undisputed protagonist. It is often impossible to tell whether these extraordinary compositions happen by chance or by intention.

Can you tell us more about this process?

I can’t be completely sure, and I think to some degree it is both, but there is a good amount of intention behind this. As I mentioned before, I don’t think a lot about the final product, but I am drawn to certain light or compositions because they match the experience I am having—they add to it, they tell another story that my body alone can’t tell. Oftentimes I’ll see a certain light—a strange light—and even if I’m feeling down and uninspired I’ll quickly throw myself into it. It compels me somehow. So that’s often how it happens. As with all of it, it’s just a feeling I get. 

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Your photos remain in this limbo of magical suspension between what it is and what has yet to come. The viewer wonders what they are waiting for: a turning face, a touching hand, a sense of belonging, some sort of recognising each other, the ending of the wind in the hair.

Would you mind telling us about these moments, about this suspension?

I have never thought about it before. It may seem redundant, but again I think this is reflective of the real experience I am having. I am suspended between what is and what is yet to come. I am rarely anchored or still in my mind. Maybe this suspension reflects how I see myself in the world or how I see the world in general—tiny, powerful moments that may mean everything or nothing, but that are the stuff that makes up life. There is a mystery to all of life and maybe this suspension I’ve created is reflective of my orientation towards the mystery. I am not interested in anything that is certain or finalized. Those things terrify me. I prefer to float; fluidity.  

Open spaces, hair blowing in the wind, nudity, magic places without any identifiable elements. I can feel a kind of great yearning for freedom, or a hymn. A kind of getting lost in these no-places in order to find yourself, in the end. 

What can you tell me about this freedom, spirituality, this self-discovery?

 It’s all self-discovery. It’s years of being too afraid to really live life, and then a sudden explosion of a desire to exist and to feel my presence on this earth. I never know who I am but I do know that I am always searching for some sense of that ephemeral thing we call purpose. These photographs are a depiction of me trying to find mine. Or maybe they’re a reflection of me trying to disappear into another world so that I don’t have to. But freedom—I like that theme. A lot about my beginning to dedicate myself to art and to show it to the world was a desire for freedom. Freedom from myself and my own harsh judgement, freedom from society and the people who told me I had to do certain things to matter—just freedom from everyone and everything and a chance to be that which I am, uninhibited, without regard. 

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I believe that it would be impossible to achieve these results with digital cameras: do you have a favourite camera or favourite film to use?

I could not make my art on a digital camera. My favorite cameras are the Nikon 35mms: I used an F3 for years and I just got an FM3A body because my F3 finally gave out after many years. I absolutely love the FM3A and understand why it was so coveted and still is. My favorite films to use are Kodak Portra 160/400 and some old expired professional stuff that I don’t like to get too descript about because then everyone will buy it all off of eBay and I won’t have any left! It’s somewhat selfish of me, but I’d be heartbroken if it all got bought up by people for the wrong reasons—trying to emulate a style. That sounds sort of shitty and I don’t think everyone is just trying to emulate a style by any means. But there are many people who ask me what exactly I use from start to finish to make my work and that really bothers me. Not because I am afraid of being ripped off (that will happen regardless and it’s of no consequence to me) but because I want people to find their own way and not think that they need a certain camera/film/etc. to make beautiful work. There aren’t shortcuts like that. I try to tell people it’s not the film and the camera that make the work. We all have our tools that we know best, that we have the best working relationship with. But the photos are made by the person using the tools. 

 Projects for the future?

 Who knows at this point. I’ve had this weird six months of being offered huge opportunities and then nothing pans out and I’m so saddened by it each time so I am trying not to be attached to anything right now. In fact I was told just yesterday that quite possibly the biggest opportunity I’ve been given to date was actually given to someone else. It was very disappointing. So now I’m not talking about anything in the “future” because more than likely people are just spinning my wheels. My only projects I care about and care to speak about are the ones I am working on with myself. I haven’t been creating a lot lately. I’ve been going through a strange life transition. So I’m waiting for the day that I feel like being with my camera once again. That’s my project—finding the artist in me again. Oh, and beginning to share my writing the way I’ve shared my photos, only through my tumblr (ediesundaywrites.tumblr.com) and some small print publications. 

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Suggest a movie, a novel, a photographer. Just say what comes to your mind first.

Film: The Great Gatsby (original), Novel: A Little Life (it will break you into pieces and it’s so beautiful), Photographer: Sarah Eiseman, I’m biased because she’s my best friend but she really is incredible. 

 Please tell us something about yourself. Just a few words.

 Haven’t I just told you everything about myself? Kidding. Hm. I live my life either feeling like I am frozen or on fire, sometimes both at once, and currently I am obsessed with Peaky Blinders and I’ve been having dreams that I’m one of them and I’ve started dressing like Thomas. The end. 

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 And now the hardest question: why do you take photographs?

Because I must! It’s where I am able to make the most sense out of this life. It’s where I feel the most alive and authentic and myself. And it’s how I connect with other people. I couldn’t imagine not taking photos. Taking photos is a risk for me, because the professional world I work in looks down upon what I do. I’m always risking that they’ll kick me out of the profession for good (clinical psychology) because I am “unprofessional” (taking nude photos of yourself is not only considered unprofessional but also often considered a sign that you are not sane). But I will never stop, it means too much to me, and if the profession ever rids itself of me then that is what was supposed to happen. I’ll always have my camera and I’ll always find ways to connect to and help others. 

Interview | Louis Dazy

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As a night owl, Louis Dazy’s photographs are drenched in tenebrosity, often reflective of the raw emotion with which they are heavily laden. Often through the medium of multiple-exposure, they resonate with nostalgia, and a kind of unrequited and exposed vulnerability to the world. The contrast between the intimacy of apartment settings, and the blurry anonymity of cityscapes appears frequently, elucidating the feeling of alienation and incongruence that Louis wishes to evoke. Beholding these cinematic images, one finds oneself unexpectedly unsettled as one recognises slivers of one’s own melancholy in a windowpane, doorway, or glimmer of light. I had the opportunity to correspond with Louis to gain a better insight into his creative process, intention, and relationship to his work.

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Through the medium of double-exposed film, the people in your work often appear as silhouettes, or ghosts, either hidden or turned submissively away, but always captured intimately. To the viewer, they all feel like fragments of yourself. Do you feel that in some way, these are self-portraits?

When you look at these silhouettes, these ghosts, they’re truly just a part of what I feel like in the moment: it’s always been about me, not them. Most are close friends, lovers, family, but what I see through them is my own reflection, how they see me, what they make me feel, this is what I try to show in my photos. In some way all of my photos are self-portraits, you’re right, even still life photos.

A lot of your images are characterised by dark tones, through which there is a sense of absence or disconnectedness, or perhaps a desire for anonymity and a lonely yearning for something. Is this a reflection of your inner world? If so, do you feel that your photography provides you with a medium through which to communicate thoughts that might not otherwise be understood by society, or the people around you?

I shoot at night because it is the only time of the day that makes me feel creative, like I can actually do something and express what I feel. The dark tones, the disconnectedness, it all comes naturally so I guess it shows what my inner world looks like. Photography provides me with a medium through which I can show feelings and emotions mostly. Thoughts on the other hand are harder to express through photography for me; my mind is a giant mess to be honest, I don’t think much, I just happen to travel through life without really questioning anything. I feel, I’ve got intuition but I don’t think that much, it’s all just flowing, and I don’t have the capacity to analyse and think.

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Do you feel that film, once developed, should be edited digitally?

It is really up to the person shooting it. If you’re not satisfied with the result but can edit it then go for it. What’s important is that you’re satisfied with what you do. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as it feels right to you.

Tell me about something in your life — other than art — that influences the images you create.

My childhood has a lot to do with what I create right now, the nostalgia I feel in me, it’s what makes me feel like ‘I should shoot’, it’s an urge to create new things with old feelings. It’s a bit hard to explain but let’s put it this way: it’s like listening to a song you love for the 500th time — you’re getting bored of it, it doesn’t come out as powerfully as it used to anymore. I used to be really really afraid of the dark when I was much younger. My mom bought night lights so I could feel safe at night — the ones you can change colors on — and I used to play a lot with these, putting them at different places in the room, setting up moods and scenes with my toys. I spent lots of time doing this and I guess it helped me find my way into a specific style of lighting, like the ones you can see in my photos!

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Do you find that most of the work that you’re proud of comes spontaneously, or is it mostly planned? Are you happy with your photography?

Spontaneously. I’m not much of a planner, I carry my camera with me most of the time and if something looks good or feels right I’ll shoot it. I would say I’m happy with 20% of the photos I post. Most have a meaning to me; some don’t, but they look nice.

Some of your multiple exposures feature people with their eyes covered by words, and in some instances this may be interpreted as a political message. Do you think the importance of your photography lies more in aesthetics, or in the ability to convey a message?

The importance of photography lies in the ability to convey a message. Unfortunately, I’m not really good at conveying messages through my photos, and if I do, I don’t mean to. My [photographs] are mostly aesthetics, they’re just memories, parts of what I feel, what I see. I see them as a photo diary.

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What film do you prefer to use? Do you ever shoot digital?

My go-to film at the moment is Lomo 400, I love the tones on this one, especially for night photography. I do [shoot digital] from time to time, usually for commissioned work. I own a Fujifilm X100T.

If you were to summarise your photography, and your relationship to it, in 5 words, what would you say?

Memories, Loss, Dreams, Loneliness & Nostalgia.

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See more of Louis Dazy's work here.

Interview | Taysa Jorge

For me loneliness is not a bad thing… I’m a person that needs solitude to put my thoughts in order and to understand my feelings, in society we are surrounded by others’ thoughts, judgements, ideas… I need these places and moments to let my soul speak, to discover who I am and what I want by myself.
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The first photograph I saw of Taysa Jorge was a self-portrait taken from behind. It intrigued me. That morning I was talking to a friend of mine.

I asked him, "What do we do now?"

He said, "Let’s go outside, on the roof, to see the rainbow."

Right after that, I saw the picture. A coincidence maybe.  

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I was looking at Taysa Jorge’s work while listening to an old album by Sigur Rós: Valtari. I thought this was the perfect soundtrack for her images. The same riff. Her shots use a contemporary language, they transmute it, steeped in universal feelings that are much more deep and intense than those we are used to feeling. Her shots are an immersive experience. 

Many of your images look like quiet summer nights. In these represented nights I can feel a sought-after loneliness, which is never inflicted. A beautiful loneliness, if I may say. 

Please tell us about this ancient, gut and powerful loneliness.

Yeah, for me loneliness is not a bad thing… I’m a person that needs it to put my thoughts in order and to understand my feelings, in society we are surrounded by others' thoughts, judgements, ideas… I need these places and moments to let my soul speak, to discover who I am and what I want by myself. And there’s a quote from Séneca that I always loved, it says: “Solitude is not to be alone, but to be empty.”

The places in your pictures look like places you are comfortable, as if you are feeling at home.  The sky, the sea, the stars, the void, the infinite. “And thence we came forth to see again the stars” comes to mind, which Dante wrote in The Divine ComedyWould you be willing to tell us about these breathtaking places?

I truly believe that everything is connected, everything is the same thing… So you’re right, the sky, the sea, the nature makes me feel at home… I like to think that my soul, before its human form, before this world exists, was travelling freely the universe. Maybe if I wasn't human, my soul could be a wave in the ocean, or the wind blowing someone's hair. It can sound fanciful but that’s how I like to think.

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In your work there’s often a female solitary figure. Sometimes you are that woman, other times that woman is your alter-ego, but this makes very little difference: she could look like anyone, really. These lovely female figures are captured in a lone world-ending dance, they could be anyone, as they indeed are. Your landscapes could be everywhere. They look like universal concepts. There’s never a "Here and Now", there’s never a female figure but the Female Figure, never a place but the Place. Would you like to tell us about these themes in your work?

I’m still trying to decode what it means to me, you’re right, it could be anyone in anywhere. I think for me it represents what I was talking about before, a soul in nowhere and everywhere at the same time. The connection between everything, also my loneliness, the need to discover and get far from everything to know myself better.

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In your work the colour tones alternate from blue to magenta. In every shade. Very oneiric. Like a delightful sequence of dreamscapes. Why these colour palettes?

Blue gives me the feeling of isolation and calm at the same time… And the magentas/pinks speaks about a strong but delicate person. That's how I see myself. I’m open to investigate other tones, sooner or later. I think my photographs will keep changing always depending on the moment in my life.

How important is the digital post-production in your work? When you shoot do you already know what you will do in post-production?

Very important, sometimes post-production is the 50% for me, and many times inspiration comes in front of the computer instead of the camera… I really enjoy editing with Photoshop, I love to take pictures during the afternoon, after the sunset when it’s still light, and make it looks like nights, that way I can play with the lights and sometimes I get nice results, mostly for landscapes and in that cases I know what I’ll do in post-production when I’m shooting. Instead when I shoot portraits I have no idea what I’m gonna make in post-production, I like to shoot natural and free movements of the person and later when I see the pictures I feel inspired and I can add birds, or make a double exposure, or change the sky…

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Projects for the future?

I have many ideas, and things that I’d like to do… But nothing clear still. All I can say is I want to keep travelling, knowing and learning professionally and personally.

Please suggest a movie, a novel, a song, a photographer. Just say what comes to your mind first.

Movie: Edward Scissorhands
Novel: One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
Song: Window - HVOB
Photographer: Duane Michals

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Sum your work up in three words.

Deep, personal and mysterious.

And now the hardest question: why do you take photographs?

Because photography allows me to understand myself and the world better. I need to express something, and by creating an image I can both let go of and preserve my emotions at the same time.
 

Interview | Morgan Tedd

Looking at the work of Morgan Tedd is like sharing the earphones of the same iPod. Losing yourself in someone else's world, through music, through photographs. Heavily influenced by the dark and heavy music of his youth, Morgan creates work drenched with real and raw emotion. We had the chance to catch up with the Birmingham-based photographer during his recent tour photographing British band, JAWS.

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Your portfolio is predominantly made up of portraits of musicians and artists, they remind me of certain shots by Emmanuel Lubezki in Song to Song and some black and white shots by Martin Ruhe in ControlWhat do these eye-catching, impressive portraits mean to you? Who/what are your influences?

I grew up in a very musical family, I was always playing it, listening to it, recording it, talking about it, I’ve spent from the age of 13, playing in various bands, and in each band I’ve always had an idea as to how I would like photographers to take my picture, or my bands picture, the way I take peoples portrait, most of the time is how I would take that photo of myself, if it were me on the other side of the lens. I think the way I shoot is heavily influenced by my musical taste and my time playing in bands. I grew up listening to Joy Division, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Depeche mode, New Order and all of the gloomy 80s stuff my parents would play to me, I don’t think its a coincidence that some of my shots remind you of scenes from Control, as I spent so long being obsessed with Ian Curtis and Joy Division. Seeing the imagery these bands produced, the grainy black and white, the amazing colours and tangibility of the film photography of the time, has also heavily influenced my work as a photographer and videographer. In terms of photographers who heavily influence me, there are only a couple really. I love the black and white work of Ansel Adams, the system he uses for his black and white work, heavily influences how I shoot and edit my own. I am also heavily influenced by Ryan Muirhead, his photography is heavily based in film and he is very experimental with shutter speed and light, he’s a genius. Other than that I wouldn’t say that other people influence me, I didn’t study photography at University or College, I studied music, so I wasn’t shown much work by the greats out there, instead I’m influenced by the music I learnt about and the people who made it.

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You utilise a variety of light forms in your work: backlight, flash, high-contrast daylight and light flares. Can you tell us more about the use of light in your creative process?

I very much prefer to use natural light, but anything that looks good to me tends to get used. I’m slowly teaching myself studio lighting techniques, as there are certain things which don’t come naturally to me, but everything else so far has been instinct and self taught. I use a lot of contrast in my work, you wont find many photos of mine that are well lit with no shadows etc, I like to use shadows to draw people in to what I want them to look at in a photo.

I saw that you published a book of your photographs and words: Personal War. Can you tell us more about this project and what it meant to you?

I had an awful start to the year, a relationship fell apart in a pretty nasty way, which left me pretty messed up, spending time sleeping on friends and families sofas until i found my own place, struggling to get my self-confidence back I started planning trips which would revolve around photography, working harder than I’d ever done before, while shouldering the pain and the weight of my own poor mental health, the cracks were starting to show, and I had very little control over it. The band I’m in isn’t as active as we should be, and my usual way of coping with all of this stuff is through the lyrics in the songs we write, but with out this release, I felt forced in to releasing the feelings in to something else, and that something else became Personal War. Since I released it I’ve found a lot of happiness and contentment, a new start in a new home, a new relationship, and I feel like all of that darkness is well behind me now.

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Music seems to be a significant and recurrent theme in your photographs. How do your musical influences affect your work?

They HEAVILY influence my work, I touched on it earlier but it's only really recently that I’ve realised how much it has impacted my work. I love heavy, sad and angry music the most, and I use heavy grading and heavy contrast, as well as melancholic themes in my work. To me, the arts, and creative disciplines go hand in hand with one another, they are all joined together and they all birth each other, so it’s no accident that music pushed me in to photography.

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Your landscapes show the land to which you belong, made of fog, a low sun, woods, cliffs. Can you tell us more about these landscapes and how you convey yourself through them.

Those landscapes are my happy place, my perfect place to be is an endless forest, tall trees with rain and mist, if it's misty outside when I wake up in the morning, I’m like a kid at Christmas, it makes me so happy. I hate summer, you wont see many landscape shots from me of a sunny day, as I really hate the heat. I’ve had so many friends give me weird looks when I say how much I hate summer and I hate the heat, but I really do prefer autumn and winter. I’d say those landscapes represent how I like to see the world, dark and endless at times, but intriguing and beautiful in their bleakness.

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Do you use both digital and analogue formats? Do you have a favourite camera or favourite film to use?

I shoot both, my digital camera is the 5D mark IV, I love the 5D series as they are wonderful workhorses that will do an amazing job at any shoot, studio, location, anything, those cameras are the one for the job. I have a fair few film cameras, but my two favourites to use are the Olympus MJU II, an incredible little point and shoot which fits in to any pocket, with an incredible lens, it's mind blowing how sharp the shots come out from such a little point and shoot, it really is heaps of fun and so convenient, as convenient as film cameras can get. And I recently bought a Contax G1, I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and I'm totally in love with it, it has taken my 5D’s place as my favourite camera. My favourite film is Kodak Portra, 800 if I can afford it, it's a beautiful film. I’m yet to decide on a favourite black and white film, I’m a stern critic when it comes to black and white, damn Ansel set the bar too high.

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Projects for the future?

I’m planning a second book, it wont be a sequel to Personal War though, it will be very different. I really want to make a book which is based entirely around film work, the latter half of Personal War was all film photography, and it is my favourite half of the book, so yeah, I think that will be next!

Please suggest a movie, a novel, a song, a photographer. Just say what comes to your mind first.

Movie - Tyrannosaur

Novel - Women - Charles Bukowski

Song - Moonlight Sonata - Beethoven

Photographer - Ryan Muirhead

Sum your work up in three words.

Dark, Bold, Honest

And now the hardest question: why do you take photographs?

I have a need to create, I always have, wether it’s something I can see, or something I can hear, I’ve always had this need to build and craft something that I can connect with, stand back and be proud of. I will always be this way, it's just part of who I am at this point, maybe I'll move from photography to painting next, I don't know, all I know is that I will always create.

Interview | Patrick Clelland

Last year I found Patrick and his beautiful work through a French art magazine we were both appearing in, I caught up with him to find out more about his artistic process.

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Your photographs remind me of a certain mood found within futuristic locations in dystopian films and television, a little bit Black Mirror, Blade Runner or Hong Kong Express. A certain exhausting yet beautiful sadness. Neon lights, streets wet with rain reflecting the lights, and night most of the time. Interior seen from outside, looking out a window, a tangible loneliness touches me while I gaze out figuring the city that you show. Tell me about these constants in your pictures… night, neon lights, windows, cars and signs.

I’m definitely hooked on a few particular visual cues. Cars, neons, windows, and silhouettes. For me they are all subjects but they are very powerful because of the emotional response they trigger. Especially cars, because styles have changed so much through the decades they can immediately set a feeling of a time and place. But I think it’s difficult to understand why these things make us feel certain ways. For me that’s really the mysterious power of photography.

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Your represented night appears to be unending. But then you get a nice, great light from a window, or you capture a perfect moment under the setting sun and all things quieten down, the desperate night disappears in a blink. The lonely lady (female figure in your shots) seems to be waiting for the end of the night, to breathe again. Could you tell me more about this intriguing female figure in your photographs?

I shoot a lot at night but sometimes I force myself to go out in the day, usually after I’ve been looking at William Eggleston’s photos, and I guess this cycle starts to shows up in my work. The figure I think is actually more than one person. Most of the time it’s my wife, sometimes my friends, sometimes just a person standing perfectly in the street. I nearly always shoot alone but if I’m with somebody and I have a camera, I can’t help but make them pose if I see a nice scene. I guess it always turns out mostly anonymous because that’s just my style and these people have sort of merged into one.

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Sometimes in your photos there is a figure, usually shot from behind. Shadow-like and usually not in focus. Can you tell me more about this hard urban solitude I can feel through your pictures?

I seem to include a human element in most of my pictures because that’s what catches my attention. It’s interesting that you mention a feeling of solitude because I actually never noticed that. The problem with shooting in dense urban areas is they’re almost always crowded with people. Maybe I’m taking cues from films, where a whole street has been closed off for the scene, and you get this harsh emptiness opening up around the characters. Or it’s just a minimalist composition style and I’m happy to wait a long time for that chance where all distractions are excluded from the frame.

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Are you looking for locations or do you casually find these places? How do you choose the subjects you shoot?

Something I noticed a while ago was that I explore foreign cities much more thoroughly than my own, and I thought this was really stupid. So now I try very hard to find new areas around Sydney. Many times I’ve found great places purely by chance, and now I really believe that a great photo can be found anywhere and I fight to ignore any assumption that one place will be good or bad for shooting. I often get on a train or bus without checking where it’s going, and just get off when I feel interested in what’s outside. Sometimes I find myself far from home late at night and think “What the hell am I doing here?”

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Looking at your pictures is like being harnessed inside them. It’s like I could pick up the smell of interiors, the cold of the streets, the sea breezes in the photos on the ferryboat, the noise of the city. I’m sure that taking pictures is also a way to put yourself out there, I think that there’s so much of ourselves in what we represent. What do you show of yourself through your pictures? 

Photography is just a hobby for me and I really enjoy being outside, walking around listening to music and maybe drinking beer. I’m really not sure how much of myself is in my photos except to say that they are all places I’ve been and the photo is how it looked to me at the time. I guess it’s the same as anybody building a collection of things they like, and it’s hard to know what it really indicates about the person. Maybe nothing!

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I know that no digital camera can capture the warmth and grain or depth of good film. Why are you still working with film? And do you have a favourite camera or favourite film to use? Do you edit your pictures in post?

I learnt a lot of photography basics on digital cameras but eventually reached a point where I couldn’t achieve the look I wanted. I tried film out of curiosity and though my first rolls were pretty bad, I haven’t touched my digital camera since. For me it’s not just the look and feel of film, it’s how much extra time and consideration you have to put into each shot, and the beautiful simplicity of old cameras. Favourite film and camera now - Lomography X-Pro 200 & the Olympus OM-2N. This film gives crazy, intense colours either as E-6 slide or cross-processed. I have to admit I’m still searching for the perfect exposure in all situations so I do post-correct lighting sometimes.

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Next projects?

I want to do more deliberate portraits and actually go out shooting with people.

Tell me something about yourself. Just a few words.

My next favourite thing after photography is skateboarding. I’m not that good but I still love it. I recently went back to my home town and skated spots I hadn’t been for about 15 years. It was quite a strange feeling.

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Suggest a movie, a novel, a song, a photographer. Just say what comes to mind first.

Saturday Night Fever, Dostoyevsky’s Notes From Underground, “Don’t Change” by INXS, Greg Girard.

This is the hardest: Why do you take photographs?

I have a lot of reasons, some obvious and some more personal. I’m glad that others can enjoy my work and that a photo allows somebody to see something they otherwise couldn't. I also enjoy it as a sort of journey of discovery and really like the fact I don’t know what’s coming next.

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See more: Instagram

 

Interview | Rudy Lamboray & Carolyn White

Sometimes I don’t take the photo because she is too beautiful… You know like if you meet a deer in the forest you feel kind of frozen, you just admire and enjoy the moment without moving. So… the most beautiful photos of my wife are in my brain.
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Frida and Diego, Patti and Robert, Marina and Ulay... Like many before them, Carolyn White and Rudy Lamboray typify the artist-muse relationship dynamic that many only dream of. The two fell in love after shooting for the first time together in Belgium, where they now both reside, happily married and continuing to create beautiful, intense, sensual and often playful imagery. We asked them a few questions to find out more about them, their work and the creative process behind them. 

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How did the two of you meet?

I found some photos of Carolyn on a Flickr page of a French photographer and I immediately thought to ask her to work with me but her name was not mentioned. I found her Facebook profile on the Facebook page of the photographer. I sent her a very short message saying here is my website and it would be a pleasure to work with her. I’m not a guy who speaks about the universe to the models and things like that, I never write long stories and I don’t like to convince with words. 

Carolyn replied that she was very surprised (later she told me she thought it was a mistake and that the message was not meant for her) and said it would be a pleasure for her too. It was great to read her words except when she mentioned where she was living… more than 1200km away.

I said "ok well… when I’m around I will let you know", (with disappointment of course) but she replied she wanted to come to Belgium for a few days with her brother. I said "you're welcome of course!" We made emotional photos for me because I used a very old camera, it was a 1952 Yashicaflex ASII with square format. Until that moment it was very hard for me to use this camera and… the 12 photos were good! Same thing with the Polaroid duochrome red, I never really succeeded with that and once again all the Polaroid’s turned out well thanks to her. It was a sign…

She went back to France and we spoke a lot via social media. She came back three months later… and we are married now.

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Do you feel you have an artist-muse dynamic and how does this affect your images?

For sure yes. I’m a shy guy and I was always afraid to ask things of models, fearing they may feel bored, I always tried to work fast but with Carolyn this is different, I can take time, experiment techniques and she shares my ideas. But above all, sometimes I don’t take the photo because she is too beautiful… You know like if you meet a deer in the forest you feel like frozen, you just admire and enjoy the moment without moving. So… the most beautiful photos of my wife are in my brain.

How does your experience differ being photographed by Rudy and being photographed by others?

Carolyn: Each shoot is different because the photographer is not the same and therefore the photographer / model relationship is not. Rudy places a lot of importance on the well-being of the model and he is listening. I'm more afraid of disappointing Rudy than a different photographer. Certainly because I value our relationship more than others. And with him I'm forced to push my limits because I’m not sure of myself and I like that it jostles me by becoming another person through his photos. He enriches me enormously in every way.

Is photographing Carolyn a completely different experience from photographing others?

Rudy: Well not that much. Never touch the model has always been the number one rule. With Carolyn I sometimes allow myself to touch her hair but that’s it, I always have the reflex to show how I wish the model to move. When I take photos of a person I always think frame, speed, aperture, originality etc. My first goal is to have a beautiful moment with the person because it is visible on the photo! I’ve seen too many pictures of half-naked women wondering “what am I doing?” You can read it on their faces. Not for me.

Carolyn is my wife now and I respect her as any other model, woman or man. We just spend more time to find ideas we’d love to do together. I don’t feel the need to work with other models because our relationship is so strong that it can free us in the working process. We discuss a lot and we understand the wishes of each other very fast, we have a lot in common. We never say “no” but sometimes galleries on our websites need a password. Respect is the first key, an artistic vision is the second one, the two rules in a bubble of true love. 

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What is your favourite part of creating work as a couple?

I love to open a FujiFP100c and discover how beautiful she is on paper. We also work a lot with Polaroid and it is great to see how she’s involved in the building of an idea. Carolyn is starting photography too and she has a very strong eye.

Your work is sensual, yet often has a playful element. Do you usually approach shooting naturally or do you have an idea in mind of what you want to capture beforehand?

Well, sometimes the sun enters the room… We look at each other and she directly understands what I wish, we have the same ideas at the same moment. But the sun is not always generous in Belgium so yes we also think of themes we’d love to explore or places we’d like to see and visit. I think, like any artist, inspiration comes with a melody, a television series (we just finished “The Leftovers” we really loved), and of course pictures on the internet. But sometimes we see too many things… it’s important to see work from others, yes, but it is also important to stay focused on what we want to say through our work. 

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Do you have any upcoming projects planned together?

Oh yes… To live happy, to fight every day for that. Visit some countries like Norway, Scotland, Iceland and keep on making pictures together.