By Albert Smith
Originally published on Advocate.com January 22 2010 2:00 PM ET
Why are you a photographer?
I am a photographer because I like to steal those moments that we never see again and release back for everyone to enjoy.
What catches your eye?
Nonanimate objects, the heel of a six-inch pump, a child playing freely, a crooked smile, graffiti, and tragedy.
How do you choose your subjects?
I don't necessarily chose my subject but the total opposite. Most of my work is done spontaneously. I don't plan or seek out whom I am going to capture on film. The subjects are usually nonanimate and speak to me from a place that is undescribable. For instance, for my "Red Bike Diaries" series, I was just strolling along and I noitced I passed bicycles on every corner. I brushed it off as coincidence, but then the images stayed on my mind all day and all night. Even though my camera is always in my bag, I did not feel the need to snap photographs. A week later I begin to see clusters of bikes again and took that as a sign that I must capture those objects on film. Most artists tend to have these long, drawn-out, philosophical explanations for their work, but I feel the simpleness of my work is what makes it art.
How do you describe your work?
What makes a good photograph to you?
A good photograph is like a virgin: pure, sweet, innocent, eager, curious, and unexpected.
Who are your favorite artists? And why?
My favorite artists are Beauford Delaney and Andy Warhol. Delaney embodied the true essence of a bothered soul who created an amazingly beautiful world. Though he suffered tremendously mentally and perished penniless, he left us with a colorful explosion of rich landscapes and portraits that are everlasting in character. He was the Harlem Renaissance! I adore Warhol because we were born on the same day!
Tyrus Rochell Townsend was born in 1977 in North Carolina and studied at both the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and Georgia State University in Atlanta. A freelance writer whose work has appeared in the The Advocate, Crème Magazine, and Essence.com, Tyrus runs and operates I.HEART.ART and The Noir Arts gallery sites. As editor in chief of Bleu Magazine, Tyrus is responsible for introducing and connecting the urban man to arts, culture, and fashion nationally and internationally. Since 2005, Tyrus has been experimenting with 35-millimeter photography and has produced such series as 'The Red Bike Diaries," "The Graffiti Files," The Bars," and more. HIs works can be found in private collections throughout the United States. He lives and works in Harlem.