giovedì 24 giugno 2010

Interview with Paolo Morales

q) What is your earliest art-related memory?

a)Trips to the Metropolitan after school with my nanny.

q) Who has had the greatest influence on your work?

a)Photographing women has been the focal point of my work so if the mother is the primary relationship with a woman then my greatest influence is my mother. While she isn’t an actual subject of my pictures my mother represents the ways I relate to and see women.

q) What are the main tools of your craft?

a)As a photographer I use several types of cameras and supplemental lighting. My main cameras are a Mamiya 7 and a 4x5 field camera. In addition I use a Mamiya RB67. For lighting I use a Vivitar flash and a variety of strobe lights. I scan all my negatives and have them printed by at a lab in New York.

For color photography I use Kodak Portra 400NC and Portra 800. For black and white work I use Ilford HP5+.

q) Is a formal education important?

a)Yes. Having an MFA is ubiquitous amongst art photographers working today. Historically, persons in any field who have at least an undergraduate degree are more successful than those without one. Is art school important to being an artist? My answer still remains yes. Art school teaches you the current trends and ways to think about and produce work. School is great because it insists on production.

q) What is the biggest misconception about art?

a)The biggest misconception about photography is that cameras make pictures. People make pictures and the camera is the tool. A camera is only as good as the photographer who uses it. It’s like saying a paintbrush makes a paintings. No. People paint and the paintbrush is a tool. The second one is that photography is a depiction of reality. Photography is a depiction of particular persons perception. Photography does not depict truth—it is a lie.

q) Which is more important in art - concept or execution?

a)Neither. They are co-dependent. A picture isn’t any good if the concept is strong and the execution weak. There can of course be good technique (execution) and a weak concept, which is essentially aesthetically pleasing work.

q) What theme or aesthetic are you most drawn too?

a)My relationship to women has been a theme in my work since the beginning. Now I’m exploring photographing strangers. I’m interested in making well-composed and formal photographs. Yet I want to make pictures that are spontaneous. Strangers are fascinating because of serendipity. In fact that is why photography is so wonderful—anything can happen if the photographer allows for it.

q) What is your favorite piece of art in your home?

a)Family snapshots.

q) If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

a)For the past six months I have been collaborating with a friend who I met in art school. When I first met her I just photographed her for a year and a half or so and now it has elevated into shooting a project together in a nursing home as well as photographing each other.

q) Which emerging artist do you think more people should know about?

a)A photographer named Kate Hutchinson.

q) What has been your greatest achievement to date?

a)Being able to talk to strangers and having them let me photograph them.

q) What has been your biggest roadblock?

a)Learning to verbalize emotion and feeling and how to show affection.

q) How do you define success?

a)Professional success is financial independence. Personal success is having another person who you can rely on for emotional support.

q) What will be the name of your autobiography?

a)I can’t think of a reason why someone would want to read or buy my autobiography.

q) What is the best piece of (art-related) advice you’ve ever been given?

a)A professor once told me “pictures make pictures.” In other words, don’t think, just shoot. Another great line is “shoot drunk and edit sober.”

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