Monday, June 23, 2014

Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

MW
What inspired you to start taking photographs, and what have been some of the most important milestones in your career up until now?


SAM
I grew up an only child. Well no, not exactly. I have two older brothers but they are much older than me, so it was as if I was an only child. I have vivid memories of hours spent going over family albums in solitude– making up stories about the pictures and pretending I was there even though most were taken before I was alive. This passion for storytelling stayed with me all through my childhood. I was the one in my family who always had the camera or camcorder in hand- documenting our family histories. And so it was natural for me to be a photographer- I was struck by the power of the image from a very early age.

Thinking back I’d have to say that the first milestone in my career was when I discovered the International Center for Photography (ICP) on 94th Street in NYC. It was like finding a secret magic hideaway in the big city. It was there where I fell in love with the darkroom. I went on to study at ICP (albeit in the midtown location) and from there I was introduced to a few key people working in the industry. It is because of the support from my teachers that I got my first big break – shooting a cover story for the New York Times Magazine. The most significant recent milestone would be producing my first monograph Tall Poppy Syndrome, published by Decode Books. It’s a huge honor to have your work made into a book and I feel privileged to have been able to do that.


MW
How do you approach editing your work, and what advice would you give to others about evaluating their photographs?


SAM
I aim to have an impartial, and rather cutthroat, approach to editing my images. It is crucial that I remove myself from the initial emotional/gut reaction/love affair. I often have to remind myself that no one else will know or care about the details that occurred behind the scenes and that what counts is only that which is explicitly within the image. Following that, a photograph only remains and becomes part of a series if it progresses the body of work as a whole.

I try to keep in mind the old adage that less is more.


MW
How do you decide on new projects to work on? Do you always shoot with a concept in mind or do you wait to be inspired as you go?


SAM
At the moment I’m doing a little of both. I am not someone who carries a camera with me everywhere. But I do always have a pen and paper (or the notepad and camera on my iPhone) working through ideas. If I see an “image” I write it down, take photos on my phone, and then shoot it again later in a more controlled manner. So I guess I run with daily inspiration and then once I have a more concrete concept in mind I shoot until the concept is realized.


MW
What ways have you found successful for promoting your work and finding a receptive audience for it?


SAM
I believe the same is true in the art world as is with any practice or profession - you need to have confidence in your work. And with that confidence comes pride and excitement. If you’re not excited then why should anyone else be? I aim to only put my work out for public viewing when I feel it is complete and ready to have a life of its own.

Another aspect (and this is also true in any profession) is that personal connections are really important. Building relationships with fellow artists is priceless. I feed off camaraderie with peers. And beyond that, I make time to go to openings, events, talks, fairs, etc. because I never know who I will meet.
For me opportunities tend to arise through building personal relationships.


 Lago Vista, Texas, from the series American Palimpsests


 Covered Bridge. Austin, Texas, from the series American Palimpsests


 Las Vegas, Nevada, from the series American Palimpsests


 Magnolia, Texas #1, from the series American Palimpsests


 Pasture. Plainfield, Illinois, from the series This Was What There Was


 Sinclair Oil. Gateway, Colorado, from the series This Was What There Was


 Mr. Dee’s Fish. Fredericksburg, Virginia, from the series This Was What There Was


 Kudzu. Mobile, Alabama, from the series This Was What There Was


 Distinguish Yourself From the Crowd, Broken Hill, from the series Tall Poppy Syndrome


 Schoolchildren, Weethalle, from the series Tall Poppy Syndrome



 Lillian, Broken Hill, from the series Tall Poppy Syndrome



Stands Out Like Dog’s Balls, Milton, from the series Tall Poppy Syndrome



Two Tall Trees, Mollymook, from the series Tall Poppy Syndrome

All images © copyright Stacy Arezou Mehrfar. All images from the series Tall Poppy Syndrome © copyright Stacy Arezou Mehrfar and Amy Stein, all rights reserved

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Massimo Vitali

MW
What inspired you to start taking photographs, and what have been some of the most important milestones in your career up until now?


MV
I've been taking photographs since I was 12 which for the time was quite unusual, but really my current project only started in 1994.  It was then when I decided that I really wanted to photograph what I wanted and not what others wanted me to do.


MW
How do you approach editing your work, and what advice would you give to others about evaluating their photographs?


MV
The main approach to editing is to shoot very little.  Just to give you an idea, in the past 20 years I have shot less than 5000 negatives.  Even now with digital I only shoot the bare minimum number of shots and I immediately skip bracketing,HDR alternative versions.  I know exactly what I want before so I can more or less shoot just one or two more shots for safety.  Obviously when I started, I was using large format cameras and it would have been impossible to use a different shooting agenda.  Therefor for me editing has never been a problem because I have a very clear idea beforehand of what picture I am going to take.  That way I keep my hard disk unclogged!


MW
How do you decide on new projects to work on?  Do you always shoot with a concept in mind or do you wait to be inspired as you go?


MV
Of course I shoot with a concept in mind and I must say it's always very tight and thoroughly researched.  Digital or non-digital, I always use an 18 foot scaffolding structure from which to take my pictures and it's not so easy to move it around a lot.


MW
What ways have you found successful for promoting your work and finding a receptive audience for it?


MV
Being recognizable, in the sense that people in a fair might not know your pictures or your name, but have to recognize your style.



 Catania Under the Volcano, 2007


 Sacred Pool Russians, 2008


 Cefalu' Orange Yellow Blue, 2008


 Mount Fuji Sicily, 2009


 Gulpiyuri, 2011


 Porto Miggiano Horizontal, 2011


 Sarakiniko, 2011


 Lencois Laguna do Peixe, 2012


 Lencois Achrome, 2012


 Lencois Laguna do Peixe NYT Cover, 2012


 Piscinao de Ramos, 2012


Spargi Cala Corsara, 2013


GEAGESP Sao Paulo, 2012


© copyright all images Massimo Vitali, all rights reserved

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ellie Davies

MW
What inspired you to start taking photographs, and what have been some of the most important milestones in your career up until now?


ED
I grew up in the New Forest and I spent a great deal of time outside in the woods with my twin sister.
The woods and heathland were a big part of our lives, whether we were making dens or skating on frozen ponds in the winter, we were in the landscape all year round.  When I left home and moved first to Cheltenham and then to London I missed these wild places but gradually I found a way to bring them back into my life through my work.

I’ve always taken lots of photographs but it wasn’t until about 15 years ago that I started to think about it as a career.  Throughout my teens I wanted to be a sculptor but I found the process of making something over many weeks a very intense and very solitary process.  I loved it but because of its almost obsessive intensity I wasn’t sure how I could make it into a way of life.

When I first moved to London I started to assist lots of different photographers.  I gained a great deal of invaluable experience over the next few years but also realized that my personal work, the work that I wanted to make from my heart, didn’t fit into any genre of commercial photography and that I wasn’t very happy working from commissions.

I took the MA Photography course at London College of Communication and came away with the certainty that I wanted to make landscape photography and it felt like a dream that I could spend my time out in the woods literally playing with ideas, building and making things, and capturing them as photographic images.   I love the technology and the geekiness of photography but I also like to work in a very ‘low-fi’ way.  Small kit, just me and my campervan in the woods.


MW
How do you approach editing your work, and what advice would you give to others about evaluating their photographs?


ED
I feel very emotionally involved with the images once I’ve made them because the experience is so fresh in my mind.  I usually do a rough edit after shooting but I don’t begin the final selection for at least two weeks.  This distance gives me a fresh eye, and allows a distance and an objectivity needed to separate the experience of making them from the images themselves.

The editing process can feel brutal, and it’s tough being really honest about whether an image is strong enough to stand on its own, as well as in a series.  It can be hard to accept if you have invested time and emotional energy but it is worth it in the end because you know that every image deserves its place.



MW
How do you decide on new projects to work on?  Do you always shoot with a concept in mind or do you wait to be inspired as you go?



ED
I always have a concept in mind because my work involves a fair bit of preparation. I write down all my ideas, often in the form of simple lists with lots of diagrams and sketches.  These gradually form themselves into a new concept.  Once I’m fixed on a new series I can’t wait to shoot it but first I need to gather materials, decide where to shoot, make things to be taken into the wood, decide how I’m going to light it and the time of day to shoot.  I like to work in overcast or rainy weather, the gloomier the better!


MW
What ways have you found successful for promoting your work and finding a receptive audience for it?


ED
When I left college I found it useful to have my work on art databases such as ArtSlant and Axis; various curators, buyers and gallery owners have all found my work through these sites.

Joining photography groups such as London Independent Photographers and London Photographers Association is a great way to meet other photographers who might be interested in putting together projects.  For example, I was approached a while ago by Jonathan Illingworth who is a fellow member of LIP.  He was collaborating with Tangerine Press to make a limited edition photo-book featuring four photographers working with forests.  Since then the book has been purchased all over the world and added to the V and A’s National Art Library.    This one contact lead to lots of exciting exposure for my work and illustrates how worthwhile it can be working in groups and collaborating with other artists.

Exhibiting is at the centre of my promotion.  It’s a good idea to build your mailing list by having a visitors book so that you can keep in touch with your audience.   To promote my exhibitions I send a press release to a wide range of listings sites such as ArtRabbit, Source, Re-title and Culture Shot, and to the photography blogs.   I also send new bodies of work to photography magazines and blogs, they are often interested in featuring new work so it’s a great way to reach a wider audience.   It’s also useful to get a Stat Counter on your website so that you can see how people are finding you online.

I’ve found it useful to enter competitions and submissions because this will get your work in front of curators that are otherwise hard to reach, and winning competitions has lead directly or indirectly to further exhibitions so I think it can be worthwhile as long as you look carefully at the terms.

Probably the best way to reach a receptive audience though is to work with a commercial gallery because they already have a wide and established audience for the work they promote.  The relationship can continue long after the exhibition with further sales, a wider audience for new work and continuing opportunities to work together.


 Between The Trees 1, 2013


 Between The Trees 2, 2013


 Between The Trees 3, 2013


 Between The Trees 4, 2013


 Between The Trees 5, 2013


 The Dwellings 3, 2012


 The Dwellings 4, 2012


 The Dwellings 11, 2012


 Come with Me 1, 2011


 Come with Me 2, 2011


 Come with Me 7, 2011


 Smoke and Mirrors 1, 2010


 Smoke and Mirrors 7, 2010


 Smoke and Mirrors 5, 2010


 Islands 1, 2010


Islands 2, 2010


© copyright all images Ellie Davies, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Two Way Lens and Bokeh Magazine

I am happy to announce some exiting news!

I have teamed up with Bokeh Magazine to feature a Two Way Lens interview from the archive in every new issue, starting with the current one.

Bokeh is an international photography magazine based in California and published exclusively on iPad and iPhone, available through iTunes.

The first interview from Two Way Lens in Bokeh No. 11, is with James Friedman and it looks terrific.

More about Bokeh and how to get it can be found here



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Klaus Pichler


MW
What inspired you to start taking photographs, and what have been some of the most important milestones in your career up until now?


KP
My first attempts in photography happened in the early 1990s, when my parents gave me a compact camera as a present, but the spark did not ignite then. Eight or nine years later, when I was studying landscape architecture, I bought a Minolta because I wanted to have a camera to document the excursions I had in my studies. And, almost instantly, I noticed that I really enjoyed taking pictures and I felt that I had just discovered a powerful tool. After some time, in an honest moment, I admitted to myself that I enjoyed photography much more than my studies and decided to make a profession out of it after my degree. Retrospectively, I could not say that something particular 'inspired' me to start taking photography. It was more a feeling that I, as a creative person who is neither able to draw nor to design things, had found something to put my creative energy into. In the first phase, I did not have access to photo books or exhibitions, so it was a very unaffected way of getting into photography.
Once I had made the decision to focus on photography (when I had three years of studying ahead) I consciously refused to look at other people's pictures or to get in contact with other photographers, because I felt that it would break my heart seeing other people making exhibitions or books while I was bond in my (sometimes much hated) studies. But quitting the studies was not an option, so there was only one solution: photographic hermitage... Same was when I started my first more serious attempts to create 'projects': I have been showing them to almost nobody because I was not sure if they were good enough, and spend nearly five years working on some series. Finally, I got a strong feeling that I had to go public with them, just to check if they were good or not. And since then, a lot has happened and I more and more began to consider myself as part of the (international) photo scene. Although it was a quite hard way, I am really happy about the fact that I am self-taught, because I had the opportunity to develop an own approach towards photography and towards working on different topics.
Of course, there were some 'milestones' which were really important for me - mostly because in my solitude phase I lost the belief that any of these events would ever happen in my life, for example the first gallery exhibition or the first book release. But more important are the pictures that I have not made yet - I always try to look into the future and to think about new ideas.


MW
How do you decide on new projects to work on? Do you always shoot with a concept in mind or do you wait to be inspired as you go?


KP
It maybe sounds like a stereotype phrase, but I don't search for new topics, the topics just find me. Since I have gotten into photography more seriously, there is some kind of 'Pichler universe' in which my topics are located. Although sometimes the aesthetics and the outcome of the series are quite different, the topics itself have strong connections with each other. It's all about everyday life and it's strange aspects - sometimes within a special group of people, sometimes represented by artifacts. And I think, since society will exist as long as humans exist, I won't run out of new topics, since people are strange sometimes - and this strangeness is what inspires me, attracts me and appalls me at the same time.
In a way, there is a slight idea of a concept when I begin to work on a new series, but I love to step back to a quite naive position in the beginning, to pretend that I don't know anything about my subject and that I have to start from the very beginning. This helps me not to be preoccupied and to get a sense for a variety of possible directions. In the end, I always have the feeling that every topic requires it's own aesthetic and that it is my job to tease out which one.


MW
How do you approach editing your work, and what advice would you give to others about evaluating their photographs?


KP
In my opinion, editing is almost as important as taking photos itself, especially when you work on a topic. Not only to select pictures, but to get a good feeling for the whole thing, the strengths and weaknesses of the series and the gaps which have to be filled. I spend long hours with the photographs of a new series, selecting them, arranging them, trying to get a feeling for the role of every single picture in the complete series. And also to find out, when one or more new pictures are added, if (and if yes, how) they change the whole series. I think in every series there are some 'pillar images' - the ones that carry the whole series - and it is very important to find out which ones take this function. When I am in the final stage of a new series, I sometimes get the feeling that every picture is like a close relative for me whom I know for a very long time. And I consider this as extremely important.
In my opinion, following advices are very important: Rome has not been built on one day - so take your time when you work on a series, allow yourself some breaks (even if they are months long) and settle your own emotion towards everything. Also, try to look at your pictures with a distance view, with the eyes of a stranger, probably of a stranger who is hypercritical. Be honest to your self, painfully honest. If it hurts, it's good, because you find out that there still is some potential.


MW
What ways have you found successful for promoting your work and finding a receptive audience for it?


KP
I think it is difficult to answer this question in general, because I think the way one promotes his or her work is deeply linked with one's personality. There are the real-life networking kings, the Facebook- queens etc. The most important thing is to find a way one really feels comfortable with, because it is easily noticeable if one is authentic or not.
In my case, I just do know one way of promoting my work, because miraculously the first attempt of promoting my series (after five years of working in silence) worked out fine and still is working: when I finally decided to go public, I sent some self-introduction messages to the blogs I liked then (around 10 blogs, as far as I remember), and almost every blog I contacted posted my works. I did not expect that before, and I was amazed and shocked at the same time then. Now, three years after, this is still my way I do promotion, especially if I am introducing a new series - I just send the info to some of my favorite bloggers and hope that the word on my series is spread by them and that other people get aware of the series. Besides that, I am a lucky one because I cooperate with two galleries - one in the field of photography, the other one in contemporary fine art - and plenty of promotion is been done by them. Luckily, because I am not considering myself as a businessman, especially not when it comes to my own work...




PINEAPPLE
Sort: Pineapple 'Nana'
Place of production: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Transport distance: 10.666 km
Mode of Transport: Aircraft, Freight vehicle
Cultivation: Outdoor plantation
Harvest time: all- season
Carbon footprint (production & transport) per kg: 11,94 kg
Water requirement (production & transport) per kg: 360 l
price: 2,10 € / 1 kg




STRAWBERRIES
Sort: Strawberries 'Elsanta'
Place of production: San Giovanni Lupatoto, Verona, Italy
Transport distance: 741 km
Mode of Transport: Freight vehicle
Cultivation: Foil green house
Harvest time: June – October
Carbon footprint (production & transport) per kg: 0,35 kg
Water requirement (production & transport) per kg: 348 l
price: 7,96 € / 1 kg




 LEMONS
 Sort: Lemons 'Lapithkiotiki'
 Place of production: Limassol, Cyprus
 Transport distance: 2050 km (linear distance)
 Mode of Transport: Ship, Freight vehicle
 Mode of Production: Outdoor plantation
 Production time: October to February
 Carbon footprint (production & transport) per kg: 0,72 kg
 Water requirement (production & transport) per kg: 448 l
 price: 1,99 € / kg




TOMATOES
Sort: Cuore di Bue
Place of production: Albenga, Italy
Transport distance: 1035 km
Mode of Transport: Freight vehicle
Mode of Production: Foil green house
Production time: all- season
Carbon footprint (production & transport) per kg: 0,31 kg
Water requirement (production & transport) per kg: 215 l
price: 8,90 € / 1 kg



MELON
Sort: Water Melon ‚Reina de Corazones’ red
Place of production: Pilar de la Horadada, Alicante, Spain
Transport distance: 2442 km
Mode of Transport: Freight vehicle
Cultivation: Outdoor plantation
Harvest time: June – August
Carbon footprint (production & transport) per kg: 0,54 kg
Water requirement (production & transport) per kg: 1490 l
price: 0,99€ / 1 kg



 from the series Just the two of us


 from the series Just the two of us


 from the series Just the two of us


 from the series Just the two of us


 from the series Just the two of us



from the series Skeletons in the closet



from the series Skeletons in the closet


 from the series Skeletons in the closet


 from the series Skeletons in the closet


 from the series Skeletons in the closet


© copyright all images Klaus Pichler, all rights reserved

About this Blog

Two Way Lens is a project designed to inform and inspire emerging photographers wanting to focus their creative output in a way that enhances their chances of finding an audience, being included in exhibitions and ultimately achieving gallery representation. The journey from inspired artist to successful artist is one that is often difficult to negotiate and hard to control. On these pages, I will feature the experiences and opinions of other photographers who I have found inspiring, and hopefully the knowledge they have built in their own experiences will be valuable to all of us finding our own way to sharing our creativity with the wider world.