How did you get started with photography? What was the first camera you owned?
My first girlfriend was a model, and I would help her out by retouching photos of her that other photographers would take, since I had a background in Photoshop. That sort of gave me the impression that if other photographers could suck at photography and I could fix it in post, then there was nothing stopping me from sucking at photography as well. My first camera was a Minolta X-700 35mm that had belonged to my father. I actually have a picture of myself as a baby holding it and peering down the lens with one eye. My selfie game has always been strong.
Aside from photography, you create music. Can you tell us more about your musical background?
My musical background is primarily as a classical pianist, but when I escaped from parental supervision I taught myself to play all the usual band instruments (guitar, drums, etc) and started a self-produced rock project. That was my primary focus for a long while, and it eventually evolved into pop / electronic songwriting and production. Now that photography is my full-time job, the music that I make is intended primarily to soundtrack the visuals that I create, and draws upon the full spectrum of what I’ve done musically, ranging from classical orchestration to dark, glitchy sound design.
You've captured shots of many amazing artists and musicians; who were you most excited to shoot?
I do feel incredibly honored to have collaborated with so many brilliant artists, but in terms of excitement leading up to the shoot itself, working with Big Boi from OutKast was the most surreal to me. It’s the only time I’ve ever had a full-on fanboy breakdown upon meeting the talent. He was overwhelmingly gracious when I told him how much I loved his music, and rapped through an entire section of Rosa Parks with me, letting me do Andre’s verse, which is a scenario so entirely surreal that the high school version of me would have had an aneurysm attempting to process it.
What was your favorite takeaway moment from the shoot for the Diamondback Collection?
Over the course of this shoot, we beached a truck on a sand dune in the pitch black desert, wrecked two cars attempting to push it out, were held at gunpoint in a creepy cemetery which lead to a low speed pursuit, and we nearly lost Valary to a rattlesnake bite. The only idea which was of any concern to me leading up to the shoot day was the one which involved literally playing with fire, and it’s the only one that didn’t turn into a harrowing test of the human spirit. Personally, I live for all of this stuff, but I’m sure that if you were to ask the rest of the team, their favorite takeaway was the moment I called wrap.
2020 was a crazy year but many of us found positives amongst the negatives. Was there something positive you took away from the year?
I think it’s forced us all to take stock of who and what matters most to us. Realizing how loved and appreciated I am by those closest to me, and approaching art with a do-or-die urgency have been a sorely needed wakeup call.
What are you looking forward to most in 2021?