What do you think triggers you to photograph in a certain moment? Is it planned or solely driven by intuition?
It’s really a mix of both, one more than the other. I’ve been drawn to street photography more and more over time which feels like it depends on intuition. It’s really taught me how to capture candidly in what’s usually a familiar or formulated landscape. Most of the planning that goes into my work focuses on location above anything. Once I have the background for the shot, the foreground or subject comes naturally. I shoot when I feel like I see a moment that’s fleeting, like a scene in a movie. Sometimes I’ll recreate it if I don’t have my camera on me as it happens.
What is the story you want your pictures to tell?
I want people to look at my work and feel like it all takes place in the same world, they all share a narrative taking place in my memories. It’s obsessive really, sometimes I’ll look at something and I’m so eager for others to see what I’m seeing, to experience it how I’m experiencing it. I want my photos to recreate that experience.
Which city would you like to visit the most, and why?
I’d really like to visit any city in Northern England. I have a very romanticized idea of finding myself in an austere industrial town, somewhere in the English countryside; someplace with smokestacks and bay windows. A lot of my favorite photographers are remarkably British — Rob Bremner, John Davies, Martin Parr, John Bulmer — so I want to visit some of the places they lived and shot in.
What is your personal relationship to cities and how do you perceive them as places in general?
Cities are our identity. I’ve become my surroundings, my city personified, at least that’s how I see it in my head. I grew up in an industrial suburb of Atlanta, full of distribution centers and office parks, lower class being the ruling class. The city I grew up in has become the star of my work. I photograph a lot of landscapes of the places I came-to- age in. They’re like self portraits to me, a core character in the narrative of my pictures. There’s always something to show in the city where you live. Documenting mine [city] has become a job for me.
Regarding your project «Tarif Banlieu»: What was your intention, and how did you come up with the idea?
The prior question really ties in with why I created «Tarif Banlieu». I wanted to share all of the sights of my surroundings with the world. My slice of America where the mall is now dead.
The idea came to me via the neighborhood I grew up in. All of the places I frequented as a young boy, like the city library which stood at the entrance to my neighborhood, the gas station I use to walk with my grandfather to get snacks at in the summer heat; they’re all gone now, replaced by something else. I wanted to create a sort of journal where I could document the places I’m so used to seeing, on my way to work and back, while I run errands, en route to the grocery store. There’s beauty in the most mundane sights, I wanted to blow up that plainness and make it grandiose.
Which project did you never finish?
I was going to shoot one roll of film this year but that easily went out the window after the 2nd week haha. That’s the only one I can really think of specifically. There’s a lot of projects I’ve started and have put down over the years, too many to even count, however the overall ideas behind most of them have stuck around with me.
I think that in all the haze I’ve eventually grasped the best parts of all of them and I’m feeding them into something more concrete.
What is that «one thing» you have never managed to photograph and is now gone for good?
I’ve had a lot of ideas involving my favorite brutalist buildings in the city. They’ve all either been covered up or demolished. It’s quite sad, it’s all happened too fast. Cities are so eager to «modernize» themselves at the moment. What about the actual modern buildings?