By Albert Smith
Originally published on Advocate.com April 03 2010 12:00 AM ET
Why are you a photographer?
I have to express creativity in some form while I'm on this planet. I played violin when I was younger and worked in newspapers and magazines throughout college. I stopped writing short fiction and poetry quite some time ago, and now that energy has channeled into photography. I consider the work I produce to be an extension of my writing efforts and film appreciation. I would also say I'm a photographer because I enjoy collaborating with people and I do quality work we can both enjoy at the end of the day.
What catches your eye?
Mood. Color and B&W photography are both great, but in either display there has to be a good mood to pull me into a photograph. It's the same when I'm the one doing the photography; there has to be a strong mood, texture, or tone to give the image some weight.
How do you choose your subjects?
The people I work with usually team up with me through my website, social networking sites, word of mouth, and/or referrals. When I specifically choose someone to work with me on images, they have to be open to the creative process. I look for someone uninhibited, not worried about viewer response to the photographs, and unique to the camera.
How do you describe your work?
My photography is quite simple; I'm not about a lot of bells and whistles in editing or settings/backdrops. The work I produce is subtle but solid, and I would say conceptual if I had to choose one word for it.
What makes a good photograph to you?
Artistic vision is responsible for good photography, in my opinion; it's not really about planning, being spontaneous, or catching the accidental great shot. A good photograph has to have the backing of a photographer bent on capturing something expressive.
Who are your favorite artists? And why?
Most of my favorite artists are film directors; my inspiration comes from that medium. Pedro Almodóvar is at the top of an extremely short list of people whose work strikes a chord with me. His use of colors, breadth of landscapes and settings, and framing are excellent. There's certainly a team of people responsible for making a great film, but Almodóvar creates visual pieces with strong content that makes me want to do better in my field. I also favor fellow photographers whom I communicate with on a daily basis; the list is long, but they all know who they are and the work of theirs I admire and support.
My creative inspiration for photography stems a great deal from film and literature. When I work with someone on creating an image, I believe myself to be unconsciously filled with flashes of textures, frames, actions, colors, and much more. Those flashes mix with narrative voices, and the result is a collective of my influences and an innate desire to produce something different from what I photographed previously.
Conceptual, creative photography is the base for almost any image I work to create. Light and shadow as well as color coordination, precision, framing, and quirkiness have become words I cannot go a day without referencing or utilizing during the process. I am a student (in academics and life) of the arts, and I would not have my personal aspirations in this field go any other way. It is my wish that the work I am doing allows me to continually progress within art and fashion. I have enjoyed my time in this endeavor from the start, and I am always pleasantly surprised as to how much more there is out there to learn and use for experimentation.