Thank you for joining us for tea, what beverage are you actually enjoying during this interview?
If it’s first thing in the morning I’m enjoying a coffee with cream. If it’s anytime later, I’ll be drinking tea. My current favourite tea is the green tea-based Orange Blossom tea from Starbucks. By the summer I’m sure it’ll be some sort of iced tea I’ll be enjoying.
1. Why photography?
A good question. I’ve been carrying around a camera with me since I was 8 or so. I suppose it started out as a way to obsessively document the happy moments in my life so that I would never forget anything. This way, the moments would always live on. It was also a way to reach back and touch the good moments, with the people I loved who didn’t live in the same city as me. When I was growing up my favourite people in the world were those I only saw about twice a year, so pictures taken of them or with them were touchstones I could look back on throughout the rest of the year to remember them by.
Now that I’m older I use photography, coupled with my writing, as a way to process through everything that’s going on in my life. I like photographing the forgotten parts of town, the ugly parts that no one loves. I find these areas endlessly interesting and am so inspired by them. I like combining the “don’t think, just shoot” mentality of toy cameras with the decay of my city.
2. Half Frame? Full Frame? Square Format? Etc? Which is your favorite format to shoot in and why?
I love shooting square frame. My Holga makes the nostalgia of everything so much more present. You can touch it in the square photographs. I also love shooting full frame though. It’s so easy to run a roll through my Orbit or through my Vivitar plastic cameras. I recently found a Canon Demi for $12.99 at a local thrift store so I’ve been experimenting with that, although I haven’t processed a roll yet. I suppose if pressed to choose just one format I would choose square frame. It reminds me of the pictures my mom took in the 70′s that I discovered in the early 90′s, all Kodachrome colours and sunshine.
3. Five things that are always in your camera bag:
Holga, Orbit, endless supplies of 120 and 35mm film, small tripod just in case, Vivitar panoramic camera.
4. Time, space and reality are no longer relevant. You have one hour to photograph the person you always dreamt of. Who is it and why?
I would photograph Julius Caesar. I’ve been fascinated by him since I was about 18. I would love to see his face through the lens of a camera. I think he would photograph well. I love Roman history and he is obviously the ultimate Roman: sexy, decisive, strong, intelligent. I would want a picture of him laughing. I would then look at it over and over later, trying to figure out the man through this photo of him.
5. If you had to choose just one image to represent your work which would you choose, and why?
I would choose a picture I took using my Orbit. It immediately strikes chords of nostalgia in me. It reminds me of my parents past, the past of my city, of the end of everything. Fall is secretly my favourite time of year and really, it’s the most nostalgic. This picture lets me feel my tiny private feelings of loss and end while letting everyone else take a look through my eyes: This is what the world looks like to me, this is what makes me ache inside.
6. What was your best happy accident?
Running a roll of slide film through my Orbit one grey day last fall. I didn’t mean to choose slide film, I just did. Later when I processed the pictures I was astonished at how they turned out. Some of them reminded me of my mom’s photos from the 70′s. Some of them had a wonderful nightmarish quality, due to the quality of the light that day coupled with the old religious setting. Looking through the photos from that day I can feel again the exact mood of the day. Those photos wouldn’t have turned out so well if I hadn’t accidentally chosen the film I did.
7. With or without a camera, what is your perfect day?
My perfect day: thrifting and finding a forgotten treasure (expired film, a camera I’ve coveted for years, an old piece of embroidery to hang on my walls.) I would then drive aimlessly and take pictures of the beautiful sights I stumble across. Later I would go out for the most delicious meal. After I would read outside in a hammock til sunset.
8. Now’s your chance to be among the pantheon of quotable genius like Ben Franklin, Winston Churchill, and Karl Pilkington, give us your iconic quote/phrase.
“What can you do.” Life philosophy, one of the biggest lessons of my 20′s. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do. Sometimes you just have to accept things as they are. Sometimes you just have to point the camera, take the picture, and hope that in the end, everything comes together.
9. What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far that has impacted your photography?
To photograph what inspires me. I feel that the passion I have for the people and places that inspire me comes through in my pictures. This sounds obvious, but when I was a teenager I used to struggle with photographing what everyone else was photographing. Now I shoot what pleases me and I take pictures the way I want to. I feel more free to enjoy and explore the world through my camera lens.
10. If your life were a movie, what song would play when the credits started to roll?
“I Live With You” by Grizzly Bear off of Veckatimest. That way I could end the movie in a swell of emotion, feeling sad and pleased about everything.