The Fearless Project
BY Albert Smith
June 05 2010 4:00 AM ET
Brief Bio/Artist Statement
Art. Fashion. Sexuality. Justin Violini holds a mirror up to each and curates atmospheres that explore our personal boundaries and limits through creative expressions.
Why are you a photographer?
I've always loved Polaroids and instant photography because of the joy of not waiting days for film to develop, I like that it makes everything look a little dated, and working as a buyer in designer clothing, I’m always seeing model casting boards full of Polaroids ... so they're sort of a turn-on.
To launch "The Fearless Project" and kick it off with the "Instant" installation, I realized I couldn't rely on formal training, and using a Polaroid was a very deliberate choice. Instant film is a quick open-snap-shoot-develop process, and in trying to accumulate a catalog of facial expressions at orgasm, it seemed the necessary format. The "baseball card collectibility" feel of Polaroids adds to what can be viewed as an ongoing documentation of boys and men persuaded to open the doors and jump in the sheets for many what is the very private moment of having an orgasm — but with a camera in their face.
I've also been recently developing a series, "Conversations With Diana," which involves photos taken with a Diana F+ reproduction camera. Totally the opposite of a Polaroid, as everything is manual; it's on medium-format film and requires a lot of attention to shoot. So the camera has been the bastard love child of my creative process. What started out as side pictures during editorial shoots have turned into full-fledged sessions involving the camera. If it didn't take two-three days for the film to develop it would be perfect.
What catches your eye?
Usually it is someone that feels secure with him/herself. You can see it in the way they walk, laugh, smile and their body language. It catches my eye, but that's not what interests me. I want to find their weakness — both the process of determining what that is and the ways they can overcome it are the driving force. It's the people that we admire and think of as brave, as fearless, that I want to test and see if that really is the case. Would they welcome the approach of a random stranger? Would they find a rush in something that causes them to push themselves? Would they be willing to have someone in the room with a camera while they are having an orgasm?
Outside of people, the things that usually grab my attention are paradoxes and humor. I was on Hudson Street a few weeks ago and stopped dead in my tracks to sit and stare at a knocked-over trash can that held copious amounts of gold and blue glitter makeup. It was club-kid nightlife mixed in with the day-to-day Manhattan monotony. The most interesting juxtapositions are the simplest of objects.