An engaging video portrait of artist Beth Cavener by filmmaker Bas Berkhout. It’s really satisfying to watch her create her gestural sculptures as she talks about some really personal parts of her life. Watch the video below.
One of my favourite photographers working today, Los Angeles’ Ryan Schude, just released his new book “Schude” and it’s gorgeous. If you’re at all familiar with his work then you can imagine how overwhelming it is to look at 192 pages of it in one sitting. Good news for all of you, I’ve got two copies to give away!
If you’re looking for more inspiration after you read this little interview, you should take a peek at his Instagram @ryanschude and study the work on his website. If you wanna leave a comment below with some encouraging words for Ryan, next Friday we’ll hook two of you up with his book. This particular giveaway is open to anyone in North America.
Jeff Hamada: If you’d never picked up photography as a hobby in school and continued onto business school like you planned, what sort of business would you be running now?
Ryan Schude: The mere speculation gives me anxiety but I do remember wanting to open a sandwich shop at some point and I could definitely see that as something I would enjoy.
JH: What would you call your sandwich shop?
JH: Are you an obsessive person? The detail in your work has a certain madness to it.
RS: During the planning and carrying out of a shoot, I can absolutely get a little obsessive. Overthinking things in general is sometimes an issue, for example, do we really need to discuss the pros and cons of 10 different restaurants before committing to dinner?
Collaboration with Lauren Randolph – Summer Camp (2012)
JH: It must be hard to know when to stop. Your images must require a significant amount of post work, are the ones with lots of different people in them single photos or are they all composites of several different shots?
RS: They are setup in an attempt to get it all in one frame. Everybody is there at the same time and placed in a predetermined spot according to sketches designed before the shoot. There is a process of directing their action and shuffling back and forth between the monitor and the actors to see what is working and what isn’t. By the end, you have a handful of options for each character and are able to select the best of them to composite together. Many of the shots take place at golden hour so it is crucial to get as much as you can in as few frames as possible to ensure the lighting is seamless when you put it together in post production.
JH: What role do you play on the actual shoot days, are you hands on with the camera or are you more of a director instructing a crew?
RS: It really depends on scope of the shoot. Ideally, you have a solid crew in place you can direct, otherwise you end up running around trying to get a hand on everything which can detract from simply focusing on the story.
Collaboration with Collins Schude, Callin Passero – The Promised Land (2010)
JH: Was it hard for you to build your team? I feel like finding the right people is the most crucial part of any project.
RS: The team is constantly fluctuating but I have been beyond fortunate to have worked with such amazing people thus far. This is one of the reasons I can’t imagine doing what I do in any other city in the world. Los Angeles is stuffed to the gills with people owning the best combination of open minds, creativity, and ambition.
JH: I feel like cinematic work like this inevitably gets compared to Gregory Crewdson’s, was it his work that influenced you to move away from documentary and more toward staging exactly what you wanted?
RS: I made a few short films in school before attempting to apply the same narrative techniques to a still photo. It was really a slow process from shooting editorial portraits and realizing I wanted to add a fictional element to them. It wasn’t until after I made Nog (2005), that a friend showed me Crewdson’s work and it was certainly encouraging to see what other people had done in that world.
JH: How much of a story do you write for each of the characters in a scene? And what’s something you might say to an actor or model to get what you want for the scene?
RS: Usually the character’s roles are pretty straightforward and there is one specific action in mind. It can get fun when they get into the role and suggest things you didn’t think of beforehand and you have more options to play with after. In Red House (2012), the actors playing the parents began improvising an entire argument and stayed in character the whole time while we directed their children outside which added a significant amount of emotion to their expressions and body language.
Collaboration with Justin Bettman – Red House (2012)
JH: I love that – do you play music at all on set?
RS: If there’s music it is probably an oldies radio station.
JH: Have you ever considered shooting moving picture of the actors holding their positions? Large video installations could be interesting.
RS: There was a very interesting concept built by an agency once around a car campaign which used my work as the inspiration for this exact output. The scale of the project ended up being too large for their budget but the possibilities presented were very exciting for both the agency and myself. Their idea involved an interactive website that zoomed in to each pocket of characters in a large tableau where you could scroll over the subjects to see an animated gif of their action. On a simpler level, I am currently looking into ways to shoot stylized video during the Them and Theirs shoots and have a narrative motion aspect to the portraits.
Annie McCain Engman and her 1969 Buick Skylark Special Edition. (2015)
JH: What’s the thing (art related or not) that you’re most proud of so far in your life?
RS: The relationships with my family and friends which have been so integral in developing who I am and what I have experienced both personally and professionally. The fact that I am able to wake up each day and do exactly what I want is a testament to the encouragement of those who surround me.
Ryan Schude’s new hardcover photo book “Schude”
Adam Alexander is one to watch. The 17-year-old Atlanta native is making music under the name Demo Taped, and while he’s no household name yet, people are starting to take notice. The first single off of his debut EP, “I Luv U” is the definition of feel good music and has been stuck in my head all summer long.
Read the full interview, and listen to more of his music, below.
Our first-ever Booooooom t-shirt is for sale until Thursday! 3 more days and then it’s gone forever! Purchase it here.
The artist behind the design is Tokyo-based illustrator Wakana Yamazaki. We commissioned her to create a graphic in her wildly original style, and this junk food man was exactly what we were hoping for! Below is a short interview with Wakana.
Jeff Hamada: Where are you living right now, and what’s your favourite thing about living there?
Wakana Yamazaki: I live in Chiba Prefecture. Favourite thing is a lot of friends are living near and easy to commute to the workplace in Tokyo.
JH: Do you like natto? I love it, but lots of my Japanese friends hate it.
WY: It has strong unique smell, but I love it! I buy natto rolls for lunch as well.
JH: Have you traveled much outside of Japan?
WY: I sometimes go for a trip to Asia because the travel expenses are low. I plan to go to Vietnam with a friend next year.
JH: Vietnam is amazing I was there a year ago! What do you and your friends do for fun in Chiba?
WY: I envy you! Did you go to Suoi Tien Theme Park in Vietnam? I really want to go there. In Chiba, I go to music festivals and Disneyland, and the big flea market is fun. And it’s fun to create together at friend’s house.
JH: I didn’t go to the theme park – next time! Can you describe the last dream you had?
WY: I could not remember it well, but I often have dreams that usually mix B movies.
JH: What’s your favourite B movie?
WY: “Terror Vision” “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” Both movies I like are silly.
JH: You have a very unique illustrative style! Something about it reminds me of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine animation (which was done by a Canadian animator, George Dunning). What things are influencing your work?
WY: I was influenced by Seymour Chwast of the push pin studios. His old picture book is colorful and graphical, and it’s really great. I like psychedelic illustrations of the 70’s and 60’s, and comics of Guy Peellaert. Of course I also love Yellow Submarine animation.
JH: I would love to see your work animated, is this something you’ve ever though about?
WY: Of course, I’d be really glad if it comes true. When drawing the work, it seems that it’s moving in my head. I’d like to visualize it.
JH: What are some Tokyo-based bands I should check out?
WY: Well, I don’t hear so much Japanese music. A metal band I like is “Ningen Isu”. I recommend it to heavy metal fans.
JH: Do you do illustration as a full-time job? Or you have another job too?
WY: I work as a freelance illustrator while doing the work of the design in a company.
JH: Can we end this interview with a quote that you like?
WY: A Japanese proverb “好きこそ物の上手なれ”. “Nothing is impossible to a willing mind.”
Kory Jean Kingsley is a young photographer based in Savannah, Georgia, and one of the editors behind the contemporary photography publication, Aint-Bad Magazine. If you aren’t familiar with Aint-Bad you should bookmark it now (do people still bookmark things?) it’s become one of my favourite places to visit for photo inspiration, and the printed version is definitely worth your attention.
I’m excited to introduce Kory as a guest contributor for the next little bit, and look forward to seeing some work by people I’m not familiar with. Enjoy this brief interview and please give her a warm welcome!
Jeff Hamada: Where are you right now? What are you listening to?
Kory Jean Kingsley: I’m sitting in my apartment in Savannah, Georgia where I am residing until I finish my BFA this spring. I’ve been listening to a lot of Hurray for the Riff Raff, they played a show here in the fall and now I can’t stop listening to their music. Outside my window is a humid yet beautiful evening in the lowcountry – spring has finally arrived and I couldn’t be happier.
JH: I’m checking them out now, the girl’s voice is terrific. Are you musical at all?
KJK: I’ve never mastered an instrument although I’ve tried many. Music is very important to me and I’ve found that I’m lucky enough to be constantly surrounded by musically talented people, especially at home in Vermont.
JH: How would you describe your photography to someone who has never seen it?
KJK: My work is driven by my desire to document the places and people who have left a mark on my life.
JH: Are there any photographers in your family? Was your first camera passed down to you?
KJK: My dad was a photographer – or at least he carried a camera around with him everywhere when I was younger. Owning a restaurant and a nightclub on top of that took away his time to photograph. I like to think I picked up where he left off. My dad recently handed down a Leica M4 to me that belonged to his friend who was once a photojournalist.
JH: I think a big part of being a photographer is the commitment to carrying around a camera, at least it was, especially when everyone didn’t have a phone that could take photos. Whose photography are you looking at these days, who is influencing you?
KJK: Working as an editor for Aint-Bad Magazine, I am constantly looking at photographers and new work. Some of my biggest influences and favorite photographers include Acacia Johnson, Harry Cory Wright and Susan Worsham.
JH: And now you’re one of the head editors! How do you balance looking at so much work online and actually making your own work?
KJK: Taking classes and working can be time consuming at times but I’ve developed a way to balance my time. I’m looking forward to graduating in this spring and having even more free time for personal work.
JH: If you took a trip without a camera, would it drive you crazy to not be able to shoot?
KJK: In some situations, yes, but it’s possible to find other ways to document your travels. For example, keeping a restaurant tab in a journal can have the same significance as a photograph – it’s just another reminder of the places I’ve visited.
JH: What can you tell me about this series of Polaroid photos here?
KJK: This series consists of Polaroid emulsion lifts using Fuji’s FP100c film. I put the Polaroids in hot water and lifted off the emulsion to make transfers. Some of these images were photographed with a 4×5 large format field camera and others were shot using a Polaroid land camera. This is an on-going series that I plan on continuing in the spring.
JH: They’re really delicate, like scarves or something. It adds a layer of quietness to the images. Has taking photos taught you anything about yourself?
KJK: One of my favourite quotes is by Nan Golden “I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.” After studying photography I’ve developed a better understanding of time and the impact it has on humans. I have documented so much in the last six years of my life that I’m much more aware of the people who have come in and out my life.
Enjoyed this profile on New York’s next generation of hip hop artists. Action Bronson, The Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers, and openly gay rapper Le1f are interviewed in this short, beautifully shot and directed by Robert Lopuski. Watch the film “We’re Gonna Be Lords” below.