“There is a more pernicious and increasingly unavoidable problem: the influence we feel from the images that are surrounding us every day, the constant visual bombardment we are receiving on a minute-to-minute basis. People don’t look deeply enough anymore because there’s too much to look at. Everyone is flipping, flipping, flipping. We see pictures on our phones, on Instagram, and in all the vehicles that pop into our hands and brain daily, constantly.”
“I don’t feel good when I see a whole bunch of work. I feel like I’m swimming in a dirty ocean. I need to be more mindful of what I’m doing and what is authentic to me. I do what I can to slow down. I carefully choose which galleries to visit. I remind myself that I don’t have to see everything. I try to stay true to myself.”
“The process does not only occur in the camera. It happens before and it happens after. The picture-taking itself doesn’t have to be slow, it’s about the time around it.
“When I give myself time, I create the space to ask myself questions: am I being too clever? Am I being too influenced by those around me—from market forces to gallery trends to the artists I’ve mentioned? I’m very conscious if something is taking me away. When I get taken away, something is lost. It’s as if I don’t like myself, as if I don’t feel good about myself because I’ve allowed myself to be weakened by external forces. It means I haven’t found that charge in the work.”
“To combat this compromised feeling, I come into the studio at four in the morning. There, I can do all the things that keep me centered. I look at the work, I edit it, I think. These are the times that I can really center myself and be quiet. If I have three solid hours to focus, that’s usually enough to get back on track.”
“There is one pursuit that is essential for anyone with creative ambitions, it is the challenge of finding and developing one’s own language to describe the world. Especially amidst our contemporary cacophony, we must each develop our own vision and voice, otherwise we are not offering anything new or distinctive.”
“To do so in photography, you must look at pictures, work out what you like and what you don’t, and then figure out why you like something. Just by exercising your humanness, you build a muscle. Eventually, you become quite clear on your own taste. That clarity is what allows a photographer to make decisions in the moment: what to take, why you’re taking it, how to print it and so on. The more muscular that muscle becomes, the better you become at what you do.”
To maintain the energy for one’s personal journey towards authentic self-expression, there are two key ingredients that are crucial (especially if one is seeking external validation): “a good attitude and being driven.” “I was driven beyond belief. I was driven to be accepted, to be respected. Without that drive, how are you ever going to do that? Rather, you’re going to go to a party and carry on with your life. In the end, I don’t think one gets ‘discovered’—rather, it happens for those individuals who fight to have their work seen.”
“Print out your work. Don’t just look on a screen all the time. Make your images tactile, move them around. Your work will become much more human as a result.”
“You need to look a lot. You need to shoot a lot. But like I said, it’s not all brain, not all thinking. All this cerebral stuff about what the work will be, all the stuff you can write before you go and shoot anything—all of that doesn’t matter if the work itself doesn’t move you. If it doesn’t resonate with the meat, then you’ve missed the point.”
You have to make photographs that makes you feel something. FEEL.