Quando un artista che mi piace accetta un'intervista scodinzolo! Signore e signori, vi presento il fotografo Venfield8!
Ironico, provocatorio, celebrativo... Venfield8 ha sempre destato la mia curiosità. Vediamo se sono riuscito a farlo conoscere meglio al pubblico italiano:
1) Let's talk about your art: why did you start photographing and what do you like to photograph?I am a self taught photographer. About twenty years ago, I got a position as a studio manager for a well known Chicago photographer. One of the benefits was the ability to use the studio off hours, and I became his agency liaison. They asked if I would shoot their models, so I figured, what better way to learn? So, unlike students, who get to try still lives, or other things, I only have shot people. After I started shooting in Chicago, a make up artist took me to Italy, and within 3 months I was shooting for Gianni Versace. My fashion career started. I started shooting for magazines and advertisements - and I have done it for a long time. But I have always had art directors, agents or clients telling me what to shoot. I sort of burned out - and that is when I started shooting as VENFIELD 8. The freedom has been intoxicating.2) Your shots seem to celebrate sex and eros: what do you want to tell us? Is your art only for gay people?I always set out to make a statement about beauty or masculinity - not necessarily about sex, so the eroticism is purely coincidental. I try to voice my opinion about violence, consumerism, the currency of beauty and different sides to masculinity, but I never try to take pictures that will turn people on - I figure that is what pornography is for - but I understand that it is a blurry line. And I think gay men were the first to recognize my work - isn't it always that way? - always spotting and starting trends - but really, my work has always been intended for everyone. I have lots of women who are fans, and lots of straight men as well. Because the focus isn't only about sexuality in my pictures, I think some of the messages are more or less universal, and anyone can appreciate them.
3) You put a bit of eroticism in your art : what's the "perfect erotic thing?" in your mind?Skin and the shapes are always the most erotic thing to explore with photography. So if I was trying to photograph something really erotic, I am sure I would show less of it than I usually do. With eroticism, less is more, - it allows the viewer to imagine more, and that is what is always more desirable in photographs. I like to show everything because I think there is a more interesting statement there about power, confidence and beauty. If I had to pick one perfect thing I find erotic it is body hair….there is nothing more masculine and alluring.4) Where do you live? Do you like your country? Is it ok for work?I live in Los Angeles California, USA. For work, the environment is great - continuous sunshine and no shortage of beautiful people to photograph, but I must admit, after living around Europe for 13 years, there are lots of great places I would rather live. But it is a trade off. In the U.S. there is a sort of immature knee jerk reaction to seeing a nude - it is always immediately thought of a porn. Politically we are in a battle with conservatives - people who are afraid and uneducated - and if they had their way, work like mind would never be seen. It is sad - the world is full of people like this - but in America, we have always been open forward thinkers, and when that starts to reverse, everything gets reversed: art, well being and everyone's lives go back. At least for now, I have the freedom to photograph what I want, and show it to the world.
5) Nowadays what is the role and significance of photography? What is the point of shooting in the present day?As a medium, photography is a relatively new art form, but it is amazing how indispensable it is. Look at the sudden success of things like Tumblr and Instagram. More photos are being taken everyday than ever before. Of course only a slight percentage of it is art, but it just shows what a visual species we are. Nothing communicates as concisely nor as succinctly and a photograph. And now it is more democratized. I think it is amazing and wonderful. There is something very noble about saying something with a photograph…6) Do you work for Fashion? What do you think about fashion?I have been in the fashion industry for a long time, and I bring a lot of that element to my work. Fashion is interesting - but more so when you scratch the surface. It is such an amazing and accurate indicator of a society. I really enjoy fashion - although I like it more as entertainment rather than practice. Fashion is so liquid, so evolving, and that is difficult to work in when you are trying to create images that are timeless. So it is a special balancing act - to be fashionable and yet above it in your work. I like the challenge.
7) Let's speak about Art in general. Do you have favorite artist? Do you have inspiring people in your mind when working?Absolutely. I love a variety of artists all for different reasons. Too numerous to mention. And I reference them in my work all the time. Sometimes it is detrimental. If I shoot something and it feels too much like an artist I admire, I adjust and reshoot - when you know and appreciate so much that has gone before you, it is sometimes a challenge to create something original or to find your own voice. I never want to copy, but I don't mind paying homage to some of my idols.8) And what about Technology: are we all photographers today?Yes, totally. that is what is so great. Look at Tumblr, and there are so many amazing and great images, taken by non photographers - and professionals alike. A great image is a great image - it doesn't matter if the person who took it intended it that way or if it just happened. I find it all so inspiring. It is so rewarding to contribute to the medium, and to be apart of this great wash of images that flows into people minds everyday. And I am so thrilled to have people who appreciate my work and celebrate it - it is an honor and a responsibility that I do not take lightly. I am very lucky…
Vi segnalo anche una bella intervista al magazine Edge intitolata "Find freedom with art" (trovare la libertà con l'arte) che è un concetto molto bello:
Venfield ha pubblicato, tra gli altri, il libro fotografico Bear Hill, questo il video su vimeo:
Per chi volesse avere maggiori informazioni, questi i riferimenti in rete: