(NSFW) Andi Elloway Interview: Starting Trouble and Shooting Nudes

Written by Freddy Martinez

“Feeding on fever, down on all fours, show you all what a howl is for . . .”

A secret — I’ve only fallen in love with one woman. Although according to some poets, that’s already one third of all the hearts I’ll ever meet. When Hemingway was asked to explain when he wrote his best, he said it was only when he felt love. With love, sex. Sex hits like falling up to your greatest depth. Roberto Bolaño, knowing he’d die in a few years, wrote a story about this, about sex and, of course, love.

He told the story of Mexico City’s mother of all living poets. The sexed-up mother that falls in love, many times, then dies. But before she does, she has a vision of the world. In it, she sees all the dying children of Latin America marching to a great abyss, singing, though quiet and innocent, singing, though maddening and dismal, singing, for the briefest loves they had the chance to experience, all together falling for love.

Continue reading

Nathanael Turner Interview: Vivid Photos of L.A.’s Many Different Faces

Written by Freddy Martinez

Nathanael Turner

Anyone who has lived in Los Angeles has a favorite Los Angeles. There isn’t one whole L.A. Whether you’ve found a particular neighborhood or a particular street, each L.A. is its own little world. Aside from that, each season has its own specific quality, too. My favorite Los Angeles is downtown during the cloudy, dark time between fall and winter, when the night arrives at its earliest, and the sun fades spectacularly. I love seeing the skyscrapers coated in what I hope are oceanward clouds and enjoy the streets just a little bit more when it’s most bitter.

Sometimes, though, I get the feeling that L.A. was never meant to be a city. That it would’ve fared better as a deserted paradise, or a private hell. The city has a strangeness unlike anywhere else. L.A. photographer Nathanael Turner understands this city’s strangeness, and he’s able to tap into its halfway-split core. His work captures its brilliant and desperate faces, simply. Having worked with New York Magazine, The Wire, and Newsweek, and many more, Turner makes work that tastes like L.A. — and that certainly says a lot, considering L.A. hardly ever feels complete.

In this interview, Turner talks about how he got his start in photography, explains his greatest influences, and reveals how he achieves his vivid work.

Continue reading

Eliot Lee Hazel Interview: A Cult Photographer and How to Achieve Unique Work

Written by Freddy Martinez

Eliot Lee Hazel

There isn’t much prefacing you can write about one of my favorite portrait photographers Eliot Lee Hazel. Though, I guess I could mention that, during the last five years, he has shot some of the biggest musicians in the world: Thom Yorke, Beck, Cat Power, and my favorite band growing up in El Paso, Texas, the Mars Volta, just to name a few. And that, currently, he spends his time between Los Angeles and London. Oh, and let’s not forget that he’s achieved a worldwide cult following.

You see, I thought I’d be able to give you more information after this interview. But the only definite truth I can share is that he’s just as mysterious in written form as his work has in impact. It’s as if he’s protecting that pure and irreducible part of him. And that’s fair. It’s an artist’s job to keep their favorite part of themselves free from explication — to never have their process spooked. So all you need to know is that his work and his answers are as rare as anything we’ve featured before — brilliant, clever, and crookedly humorous.

In this short interview, Hazel explains how he overcomes self-doubts, talks about his work with Thom Yorke, and reveals his greatest influences.

Continue reading

7 Cheap Household Items You Need in Your Gearbag

Written by Freddy Martinez

The passion for photography is an expensive pursuit. First, before buying anything else, you need to buy a camera body. And we all know that this isn’t something you cut corners on. Then, after dropping a few hundred, you have to buy your newest lens, and this baby isn’t cheap, either. And then when you think you’re all done, you realize you’ll need to buy more gear. More lights, more stands, more reflectors, more!

Continue reading

Adobe’s Tutorial on Using Curves to Edit for Color and Tonality

Written by Freddy Martinez

Using curves doesn’t have to be intimidating. In all honesty, it can be as friendly and approachable as Adobe’s own Bryan O’Neil Hughes. Don’t know Bryan O’Neil Hughes? Don’t worry, before this video, I didn’t either. He’s Photoshop’s Principal Product Manager (PPM). And he’s the main attraction in this tutorial, more so than the information. I was astonished at how smooth he is. He’s as TV friendly, as they used to say, as any Adobe guy/gal I’ve ever seen.

Continue reading

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. Interview: 6000 Miles on Motorcycle to Capture the Beauty of Latin America

Written by Freddy Martinez

Miguel Gutierrez Jr

On June 14th, Austin photojournalist Miguel Gutierrez Jr. and four friends began a six thousand mile journey from the United States to Mendoza, Argentina. Travelling up to 250 miles a day, they’ve been riding on motorcycle, stopping only to shower, drink, then photograph. Gutierrez says that he started this journey hoping to capture the diversity and the beauty of Latin America. He wants to dispel notions that this vast region, home to as many rich cultures as the writers it’s famous for, could be written off as violent and chaotic.

Nearly halfway to his destination, Gutierrez responds to our questions from a tiny hotel in Pisté, Yucatan. He writes that this small town is peaceful, the sun already set and the warm weather cooling. Gutierrez also notes that, aside from the seldom heard car, the only real sound is that of cicadas and crickets. And I imagine that, for a photographer, there could be no greater feeling in the world than travelling day after day to complete a sketch of a land you know has yet been fulfilled. To show, through your own lens, the wonder that might have never been seen without you.

In this interview, Gutierrez takes time from his journey to talk about how he started shooting, explain the risks involved with the trip, and reveal what he wants to accomplish in Latin America.

Continue reading

Jeff Hamada Interview: Booooooom Creator Explains How Instagram Will Help You Get Noticed

Written by Freddy Martinez

Eddie Lago -- @eddielago

For the first time ever, all the following photographs you’ll see in this interview weren’t made by the person interviewed. In fact, the one above was made by New York photographer Eddie Lago (@eddielago). Of course, Eddie Lago isn’t the person interviewed. That’s Vancouver artist Jeff Hamada. But Hamada isn’t really a professional photographer, either. Though he does shoot and is good at it (@jeffhamada), that’s not why you’re reading this interview. You’re reading it because Jeff Hamada is the founder and curator of Booooooom.

Launched in 2008, Booooooom has become one of the most popular art blogs in the world. And when I write art, I mean the entirety of it. Booooooom is where any writer, painter, filmmaker, musician, designer, and, yes, photographer can find something, or someone, to inspire them. It’s not Art Forum. It’s decidedly accessible. It’s a site that reassures you that you’re sane, healthy even, and that other people are just as obsessed with art as you are. It’ll point you to movements you’d have never noticed, illuminate an artist you’d have never seen. And for emerging photographers, it provides a chance to get noticed. Continue reading

Summertime Retouching Tutorial: How To Remove Tan Lines With Photoshop

Written by Freddy Martinez

It’s summertime. Besides being the best time in the year for basking in as much light as possible, it’s also the worst season for skin damage. So what’s the worst sunburn you’ve had? Although I’m dark, probably darker than all my friends, I’ve had one of the worst sunburns in my life a couple years ago. Like any mistake in life, this one resulted from pride. I had imagined that, being as tough and invincible as my inner self had me believe, I’d never get sunburn. But floating down a river in the middle of Texas, with more than enough booze to kill three grown men, shirtless for three hours, I realized the sun will burn anyone.

Continue reading

David S. Allee Interview: Finding the Unreal and Strange in the Buildings Seen Every Day

Written by Freddy Martinez

David S. Allee

In 1997, before completing his M.F.A. at The School of Visual Arts, and even before quitting his day job as an urban planner, New York photographer David S. Allee published a photo essay he’d been working on during his spare time outside work and school in Esquire. Since then, Allee has been continually featured in more than twenty publications, including the New Yorker, The New York Times, and New York Magazine. His work has also been exhibited across the US and is housed in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress and Foundation Cartier in Paris, among others.

And although he transitioned from urban planning to photography, his interest in built environments endured. Allee explains that images of these forms, “usually require people to look closely, study, interpret, and infer. If a viewer is drawn into an image of a built environment, they’re forced to use their imagination to understand it, make sense of it, and in effect complete the image.” Through photographing the built environment in ways unseen, or never imagined, Allee’s able to uncover a strange and unreal facade city-life can sometimes call home.

And if you’re in New York City, the Morgan Lehman Gallery is exhibiting Allee’s newest project Kill Your Darlings. The exhibition will open on July 9th with a reception for the artist from 6-8pm, and will be on view through August 22nd, 2014. More information can be found here

In this interview, Allee explains how he got his start in photography, explains how he captured his unique project Dark Day, and reveals how he’s able to make cityscapes look so unreal.

Continue reading

Brian Higbee Interview: Capturing the Force of True Beauty

Written by Freddy Martinez

Brian Higbee

See yourself walking alone through whichever city you live in, near its core, through its streets. It’s night. You’ve already experienced your first love, felt the sinister contradictions that one brought, and have since known the twin nature of beauty — already deciphered the many symbols it wears. But despite your experience, on this walk, you then see the face of a person so beautiful you’re at the point of fainting, at pains for staying still — never has something captured your attention as intensely until now. You wish you were closer, so you go. When you’re finally close enough to reach out, you see that it’s only another advertisement for another summer blockbuster.

Celebrity photographers like Brian Higbee know exactly how to stop the eye and pull you in. They understand that the celebrity portrait is mythmaking in the highest order, and that this mythmaking puts you in a moment beyond yourself. Having worked with Interview, considered the first magazine published for the cult of celebrity, Higbee goes for the weakest part of you. He tantalizes your eyes. He makes work that confidently understands that the everyday experience we live for is not always what we want to see. His portraits trade in the pull and repel of a beauty seemingly close but always out of reach.

In this interview, Higbee talks about his work with Interview magazine, explains why he loves woodwork and snowboarding, and reveals his approach to natural lighting.

Continue reading