Thursday, 31 July 2014

A Gnarmads Life for Boys By Girls Magazine


 If you think the guys behind Gnarmads are just another two Larry Clark-esque kids splitting their time between the half-pipe and house parties, you are in for a big surprise. Whilst these guys are about as laid back as they come, make no mistake about it, Bodgand and Matt Kruz are in it for more than just a few kickflips.


Kiev-born Bogdan and Brooklyn-born Kruz first bonded over their love of skating on a Sunset Park basketball court over a decade ago. Today, the 23-year-olds spend their time skating, biking and giving back to their community through various charity and mentoring projects. “Skateboarding has no boundaries. Race doesn’t matter, age doesn’t matter - if you share a love for skateboarding, that automatically connects you,” Kruz comments.
 

As Gnarmads (inspired by Bogdan’s ‘gnar’ knee tattoo and both of their nomadic lifestyles) the two have launched the world’s first mobile skate shop, Tre Truck, collaborated with the Create Skateboard Foundation on children’s skating programmes, and put on a skateboard contest in NYC’s Coleman Park Skatepark among other things.
This month sees Bogdan and Kruz set off on their biggest adventure yet: a cross-country bike journey from NYC to San Francisco, with all benefits proceeding the Stoke Organization’s youth mentoring programs. “Skateboarding teaches you how to keep going no matter how many times you fail. There are tricks that I’ve practised for months, walking back every single week with failure and wanting to break my skateboard and quit. But then the next day you wake up and that rush is still there. That's why we are now riding our bicycles to San Francisco: we want to just keep pushing forward,” Bogdan says. In between the 4,000+ miles on their way to California, Gnarmads will make pit stops in 13 different cities to do skate clinics and organise jams to showcase local skate culture, documenting their journey through photos, videos and written content in the process.
 

As with all things the two have pursued thus far, there seems to be an accompanying sense of ease and positivity even to this very ambitious project. “We’re planning to be on the road for at least four months,” Bogdan explains. “We are not even trying to plan anything after that - anything could happen. This is probably going to be the biggest adventure of our life.” Support the project here and for regular updates follow Gnarmads’ visual diaries.

Read the entire post here.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Nastasia Alberti Interview for A Shaded View on Fashion


Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,
Annin Arts is bringing art to the masses, literally, with their latest exhibition #MYNAMEIS. The show sees five artworks by Nastasia Alberti, Duval Timothy, Kevin Morosky, Annie Mackin and Gillian Wearing displayed on single billboards throughout London. While #MYNAMEIS brings up intriguing questions surrounding a different kind of interaction with art outside of exclusive gallery walls, its main focus lies in the importance, perception and burdens of names.
London-based artist Nastasia Alberti chose Slutever blogger and Vogue columnist Karley Sciortino as her subject, depicting the writer in a sepia-toned portrait. In the following interview, Alberti discusses hours of location scouting in public libraries, the single image that inspired her to take up photography and why art consumption needs to catch up with our busy schedules.

When was the first time you realized you were interested in photography?
 
I start being interested in it when I was about 13 or 14 years old. I can remember that moment exactly: I went to an exhibition with my family and saw a Francesca Woodman photograph, the one where she's disappearing into the wall. That image had a very strong impact on me. Somehow it was showing what I was feeling. From then on, I wanted to do the same. 
 
How do you go about creating your images and what inspires them?
 
I usually get inspired by my own life. I try to talk about emotions, about feelings. 
 
What was the working process on this exhibition like?
 
It was really quick. The first aspect was choosing the girl and then timing. When George Annin told me about the exhibition and the subject that Gillian Wearing wanted us to work with, I got a bit freaked out because it was far away from what I usually do. But once I passed that stage it was really fun. I proposed my idea of working with Karley Sciortino to the gallery and they completely supported me, which was great. So then it was only a matter of organization, I had to go to NYC to see her. 
 
Talk to me about the composition and overall feel you were going for in your photograph.
 
I wanted something moody but peaceful in her expression and an image that somehow would show Karley as a strong person. It was very important that she was seated at a desk surrounded by books. We walked around in the NYC library for hours to find the right place. I really wanted the photo to remind people of those old portrait paintings of writers, where they were always pictured sitting at their old desks with glasses on, looking very wealthy and serious. 
 
How do you see the photograph interpreting the themes of the exhibition?
 
I really wanted to create a piece on the expectation that goes with names, the idea of clichés and stereotypes that a name can bring. Everyone in the show has done such a different and personal piece of work which is really awesome.
 
What was the collaboration with Karley Sciortino like and why did you choose her as your subject?
 
It was so much fun! I love her so much. We basically hung out in NYC all day talking about our lives and taking some photographs. She is the best person to work with because she is very open. She trusts you to do whatever you think is best. When I decided I needed to talk about stereotypes and clichés that came with a name I needed someone with a strong image. It obviously needed to be someone that when you say their name you have an image of said person pop up in your mind straight away. 
 
I thought of Karley straight away because she is the perfect example. I feel that she is one of the best writers of our generation, and she's so smart, but as soon as you mention her name the first thing people seem to have in mind is not her writing but more her boobs, her sexy clothes, her hair, etc. Just because she talks about sex does not mean that she only has to be this sexy girl. It's so cliched and one-dimensional.  People have put her in that box : the super sexy writer who talk about sex. So for me, depicting her in a classic portrait looking so different was thrilling, because this seems to be the image that writer should have, which is also a cliché. It was also important for me to work with a woman. 
 
How do you see the public’s interaction with these images, displayed on billboards throughout London, differing from that of a gallery setting? Do you think these kind of shows are perhaps more relevant to our times?
 
I think it's a brilliant idea, it is relevant to our times and an easier way to consume art that matches our busy lives in this ever-changing social climate. I have a tendency to think that gallery shows are always a bit too snobbish, and not that open to everyone. For me this setting is so much more open, you don't need to take your Saturday off work to go to a gallery, you can just walk to your shop and see art. It's so smart. Everyone is included in this; you can be a young kid and still have access to it. I love that idea.   
 
What are your upcoming projects and goals for the future?
 
Recently I've been very interested in working in cinema, on set photographs. I would really like to do that for a bit.  I'm also gathering more material in order to hopefully publish a book by the end of next year. My biggest project at the moment is getting my US visa as I would like to settle down in NYC for a long time.

#MYNAMEIS is on display until July 7 at the following locations:
Karley Sciortino by Nastasia Alberti - 129/127 Hackney Road,  E2 7QS - Billboard no 0237
 
Gillian Wearing by Gillian Wearing - London Bridge Station, SE1 9SL - Billboard no 1331 
 
Lateefa Smith / Chang Jian Wen by Kevin Morosky - 178 Westbourne Grove, W11 2AD - Billboard no 1458
 
Annie Mac by Annie Mackin - Camden Town, Camden Road Station, NW1 9LS - Billboard no 1105 
 
'London Bridge Arizona Arizona London Bridge' by Duval Timothy - London Bridge Station, Duke Street Hill, SE1 2SW - Billboard no 8171
 
Later,
Carla

View the full article here.

Beautiful Savage: The Man Issue for A Shaded View on Fashion


Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,
Most magazines, upon releasing an edition called The Man Issue, would probably scout a cover star with A-list credentials, a six-pack and expertly coiffed hair. Then again, Beautiful Savage isn't like most magazines.
For the cover of its third issue, the independent art and fashion glossy chose model, DJ and Lana del Rey music video regular Bradley Soileau. With his delicate features and heavily tattooed exterior, Soileau is the perfect embodiment of the issue's theme of modern masculinity. Inside the magazine, readers will find interviews with the likes of JD Samson, Sebastian Errazuriz, Asher Levine and Theo Gosselin. "The whole magazine is about telling stories about people who do beautiful and challenging pieces of work. I never worked at a magazine before, and I was like, 'fuck it. let's just make something really dark and cool'. Beautiful Savage, was a name I chose to represent visually stunning works that possess subversive or challenging themes," explains the magazine's editior-in-chief Chad Saville.
The story behind the birth of Beautiful Savage is just as unconventional as its content. After suffering from a spinal cord injury that nearly left him paralyzed, Saville was inspired to start the magazine in February 2013. "My friends, a bunch of photographers, artists, and basically art and fashion nerds, would hang out with me a lot and like take out my trash and make my bed for me. And I sort of rediscovered journalism through my love of art and fashion and magazines. During that time, the only thing I would do is take pictures and hang out in art galleries," he explains. 
In the end, it begs to question: what is the ethos that lies at the heart of Beautiful Savage? "Our mission is to connect with jaw-dropping artists and to tell their story. We're not really interested in who's a celebrity, or the illusion of exclusivity, or fashion parties and all that stuff," Saville says. "It's more about, who really are the important artists, independent or otherwise, and what makes them remarkable."
Later,
Carla

Read the full article here.

Giovanni Sammarco Interview for Basenotes


The story of Giovanni Sammarco’s company is best described as one of a road less taken: originally (and still currently studying as) a law student, he soon transitioned into perfume-making after discovering the world of fragrance and has since relocated to Switzerland to create artisanal fragrances without EU restrictions.


Today the exuberant Italian sells perfumes, raw materials and bespoke fragrances through his online store, the three scents under the Sammarco brand name being Alter, a feminine concoction of sambac jasmine, rose, incense and mimosa; Vitrum, a smoky mix of rose and vetiver; and Bond-T, a gourmand scent with notes of cocoa absolute, patchouli and osmanthus.

In the following interview, Sammarco discusses his love of animalic raw materials, the challenges of running an independent perfume company and why nature is the master perfumer of the world.



Tell me about your journey from law student to self-made perfumer.

I don’t know exactly how it all happened to be honest. I was often asked about it and sometimes I thought about creating an intriguing story to tell..but the truth is that it was all spontaneous. After my masters degree, I began to be interested in the perfumery world and then one thing led to another.


As a company that sells tinctures such as civet and ambergris, what is your opinion on the synthetic alternatives to these materials? Are they a more sustainable solution or a soulless fragrant alternative?

For me, synthetic substitutes of animalic raw materials are not a suitable solution. If you smell the naturals and the synthetics you will notice immediately that these are two different worlds. If you use them in perfumes, the difference is clear: only the natural ingredients have the soul and power to excite and give life to the perfumes.



What are the challenges of running your own company and creating on an artisanal level?

There are many challenges. The first is to sell. Being independent, there is a lot of competition and you have to find your space in this world.

If you really make everything on an artisanal level, this means that you have to take care of the administrative side of the work; you have to stay in contact with suppliers, couriers, public offices and Alcosuisse.

Also, obviously you have to create the perfumes, bottle them, prepare the tinctures, develop new ideas and products, promote yourself, follow perfume blogs and communities, choose fairs to attend, and last but not least, look at your bank account balance.

Making everything by hand gives you total control of the production process and quality, but it’s not easy.


Seeing as you also create bespoke fragrances, what are your thoughts on the idea of finding one’s signature fragrance in a store-bought version? Can one’s true signature fragrance only be found in the highly individual art of bespoke perfumery?

I think that one of the leading values in perfumery has to be freedom. If one finds their signature fragrance at a store, then that’s great and it does not have lesser value than a bespoke fragrance.

A perfume must give us positive feelings, so if I find my perfume in a store, why not?Bespoke creation is something different, not only a signature fragrance but more a tailor-made perfume because you (the client) are the creator together with the perfumer and you can also choose to have exclusive use of the final formula. Only when both say its okay is the perfume really finished. This requires a lot of time and many meetings, but the perfume will be tailored to you and nobody will have the same perfume.

I also create so-called mini bespoke fragrances for those who want a personalized fragrances but can’t afford a fully bespoke creation or have a lower budget. Mini bespoke is a single bottle of personalised perfume: no meetings, the customer tells me their preferences and I will work on them and send them samples of different trials. The mini bespoke doesn’t include the exclusivity of the formula.


Each one of your fragrances really harnesses the natural power of raw materials - from the moist, earthy smell of Vitrum to the rich cocoa notes of Bond-T and the lush florals of Alter. Do you think there is any connection between these olfactory experiences and the fact that you create them in the nature-entrenched world of Switzerland?

Here in Switzerland, especially where I live, in Appenzell, nature is part of my daily life. Here it is easy to come across cows, goats and sheep and the mountains are around the corner. I love this place and the strong contact with nature that the Swiss have. I usually search for farmers to buy fresh milk, cheese and eggs from, and every time I discover a new world of smells and tastes. And yes, I think this influences my work and my connection with raw materials, because I never forget that nature is the master perfumer of the world.


Bond-T, Alter and Vitrum are all very individual fragrances in their own right, but what would you say is the Giovanni Sammarco olfactory trademark?

I don’t know if my creations have an olfactory trademark. I think that the common thread is something dark and animalic. I love to work with animal scents and even when I don’t use them in the perfume I like to create a sensual and dirty effect.

What is the one scent that sticks out in your mind to this day?

The smell of raw goat’s milk. I had searched for it for a long time and found it yesterday on a farm here in Appenzell. I did not imagine how tasty it is. And its smell is really amazing.

View the full article here.

Twisted Lily Boutique Opening Report for Basenotes


Twisted Lily Fragrance Boutique and Apothecary can best be described as the NYC version of perfume nirvana - think sleek wooden floors, purist white walls and rows upon rows of niche fragrances.

At the boutique’s opening in Boerum Hill this past week, guests were greeted with Pear & Olive martinis (inspired by Josh Lobb’s creation of the same name for his Portland-based brand Slumberhouse) and introduced to the store’s 30 different fragrance brands, ranging from Brooklyn natives D.S. Durga and CB I Hate Perfume to French provocateurs Etat Libre D’Orange and all-natural brands like Providence Perfume Co. and Undergreen.

Twisted Lily is the exclusive NYC carrier of brands including Maison Dorin, Jardins D’Ecrivains and Smellbent, plus the first store to bring Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Amouage, Montale and Penhaligon’s to the BK. Presenting an all-around approach, the shop also offers home fragrances, bath and body, make up and skincare products from a range of indie brands like Rouge Bunny Rouge and In Fiore.

The founders behind the boutique are Eric Weiser and Stamatis Birsimijoglou, who previously created the popular e-commerce site Parfum1.com. “Our philosophy for Twisted Lily is Think Global. Act Local,” explains Weiser, “it’s not about the immediate sale but building relationships and discovering the language of perfume with our customers.” This friendly and sample-happy environment makes the visit to Twisted Lily one of calm olfactory exploration, rather than profit-orientated pressure. Birsimijoglou perfectly sums up the ethos of their endeavour by stating: “We are firm believers that individuality is the spirit of fragrance—and no two people should smell alike.”

View the full article here.

JC de Castelbajac Resort 2015 Report for A Shaded View on Fashion


Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac put his own upbeat spin on French Riviera elegance for the Resort 2015 season. Inspired by the paintings of Henri Matisse and illustrations of Jean Cocteau, the designer infused classic and casual pieces such as jersey shift dresses and silk jumpsuits with a new livelihood thanks to trompe l'oeil prints, 3D shoulder details and cane weave cutouts. 
More restrained silhouettes and colors such as cream and olive were contrasted with splashes of red and quirky parasol prints for a collection that managed to be simultaneously chic and cheerful.
Later,
Carla

View the full article here.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Diane Pernet on the Future of Fashion Film for Dazed Digital


After making pit stops in Milan, Tokyo and Moscow, A Shaded View on Fashion Festival unveiled its NYC edition this weekend, presented in partnership with FIAF and Kering. Aside from the eclectic mix of fashion films, the event also featured talks with directors Mike Figgis and Jerry Schatzberg, as well as a screening of Schatzberg’s pivotal film, Puzzle of a Downfall Child.
“It was a big deal for me to do ASVOFF here. I think it’s really important to show the diversity of what you can reflect on fashion through film,” Pernet says. “That’s the whole DNA of the festival, the diversity and as well the international aspect. Every time the festival travels, the idea is to inspire and be inspired; to get more directors to submit films and more collaborations between directors and designers. It’s just about always trying to push the level up, up, up.”
In celebration of ASVOFF NYC, Dazed asked founder and fashion film pioneer, Diane Pernet to chart her five favourite fashion films from the festival’s selection.
THE FOUR DREAMS OF MISS X - SHADOWS BY MIKE FIGGIS, STARRING KATE MOSS
“I think it’s so amazing and figuring that when she was filmed, because it’s night vision, she was walking in total darkness. It’s just her and him. It creates such a mood and shows a product well. It’s a film first.  And okay, the fashion is a protagonist but it’s not like, “Here’s the product”.  It has no sell-out date. It’s absolutely as valid now as it was when it was made. It’s her first acting role and he’s such a brilliant director. Even when she bumps into something because she’s in the dark, it’s great. And playing with the voice, these are things you can do in film, you can’t do it in a photo shoot.”
SHE SAID, SHE SAID DIRECTED BY OSCAR WINNER, STUART BLUMBERG
“I just love that film. I never tire of looking at that. Again, it’s really constructed as a film. It’s not a photo shoot, it’s a film and you get totally into the characters.  They look great, the way it builds up with the sense of humour, because I think humour is something we’re really missing in fashion. I like the character development, the scene with the dog in the park, the washing the car and then the end, the dress. How much better could you show fashion? That was so good. It’s all about desire, isn’t it? The idea of doing a fashion shoot or a fashion show, it’s want and desire on one level or another and that crystallised it for me. And the actors, they’re bonafide actors, the script is great and you can’t help but laugh with it.”
I WANT MUSCLE BY ELISHA SMITH-LEVEROCK, FEATURING KIZZY VAINES
“That film has a special meaning to me. Everybody has a different concept of what beauty is, and this particular woman, she looks so powerful. I like what she said, just her approach about power and her sense of beauty, which is, like anything, so open to interpretation. What I might think is beautiful, you might think is hideous or vice versa. The way that the soundtrack was too, the credits, the colour – the whole thing I just loved it. And again, it has no sell out date, it will be as relevant in ten years as it is right now, all of those films. To me, that is what I’m looking for, which in a way maybe is the opposite of what fashion is supposed to be. Fashion is supposed to have a sell out date, otherwise the industry doesn’t continue. But I think there should be no sell out date for concepts and brands.” 
LE DERNIER CRI BY ERWIN OLAF
“I’ve loved Erwin Olaf and his work for a long time. I’ve seen a lot of his films. He’s had maybe four films in my festivals over the years. This one was in You Wear It Well, which was in 2006, my festival before ASVOFF. I like the way the set is, the tension sort of builds up. It’s very stylised, very provocative in its own way. It just leaves you wanting more.”
HOLI HOLY - A FILM BY MANISH ARORA BY BHARAT SIKKA, STARING BISHI BHATTACHARYA
“It’s fantastic because you have the story of these widows that after they became widows had to wear white, they could now wear colours. It’s celebrating the widows of Varanasi. It’s also interesting to me because Manish was on the jury for ASVOFF three years ago. He got so into the whole process, that’s what inspired him to make a film. (The making of the film) was under the worst conditions like a low budget and they hadn’t had so many monsoons in forty years. Bishi (Bhattacharya), she’s got an amazing voice and an amazing presence. They’re a great match. It’s a beautiful story and you really see the clothes. And all those things that happened by chance like the guy in the red toga walking by, there are all these little incidents. Even the fact that the rain was so intense that where you had those pyres, normally you would see them from the ground up, you only saw from the top because the water was so high. It was really hard to shoot.  You see all the water in there, it was a mess, but they did it with passion. They almost got electrocuted in the boats, but they did it a hundred percent. He couldn’t believe it when he won three prizes, he was totally shocked.”

View the full article here

Unzipping the Universe for Dazed Digital



Since its inception in 2006 the ITS ACCESSORIES awards, organised in partnership with fastening manufacturer YKK, has been a champion of young and innovative design talent.  Past winners of the competition’s YKK award (a €10,000 cash prize which sees finalists integrate the company’s fastenings into their product) have shown that a plethora of creative possibilities lie in between the zipper’s two seemingly simple rows of metal teeth, from Percy Lau’s horizon-enhancing eyewear, to Benjamin John Hall’s resurrection-exploring footwear and Laura Amstein’s graphically-moulded accessories.

In anticipation of this year’s awards, the latest creative to interpret YKK’s fastening object is filmmaker Justin Hantz, who has previously worked with the likes of Kool A.D. and Islands alongside creating films for brands including Hex and Alien NYC. The resulting clip can be best described as a psychedelic, action animation trip. 

The zipper is utilised as an active portal on this visually-stimulating voyage, revealing one dimension of 3D effects and trippy optical illusions after another, each one more intense and kaleidoscopic than its predecessor. Prismatic colours, geometric shapes and swirling zips collide with intensely saturated clouds, free-floating Grecian columns and spiralling vortexes along the way, proving once again the infinite possibilities of creation that one humble fastening can bring.

View the full article here.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Billy Kidd on Transcience for Anothermag.com



Fashion and art photographer Billy Kidd discusses the transformative powers of decay, Renaissance art influences and the need for a reevaluation of beauty

 
New York-based photographer Billy Kidd, who has shot campaigns for the likes of Nike, Anthropologie and Eres plus photographed figures including Jeff Koons and James Franco, coincidentally discovered his craft whilst studying for a degree in computer engineering thirteen years ago. Entirely self-taught and the recipient of five PDN awards, Kidd has already exhibited his artistic endeavors at venues such as Clic Gallery and 10 Corso Como.

His sophomore solo exhibition, Transience, is a vivid visual study of beauty and mortality, placing the youthful curves of black and white nudes alongside heavily colour-saturated, yet simultaneously dying, flower still lifes. The fluid curves of the female body are mirrored in the soft shapes of wilting petals, both still bearing their organic imperfections, be it in the form of a birthmark on the lower back or veins tracing their way through the decaying floral matter. Following the opening of his show at Masters & Pelavin Gallery, Kidd sat down with AnOther to talk about the challenges of time in photography and the construction of beauty through life.

You decided to specifically pursue fashion photography early on in your career. Is there one favourite fashion image that still resonates in your mind today?

There is no one image but one man: Irving Penn. I especially like the portraits of his wife, Truman Capote, and his still lifes for Vogue.

What was the biggest challenge of creating this series?

Time was and still is the biggest challenge. I'm trying to catch these flowers at the right moment in between life and death. Too early and it's just a pretty picture of a flower, too late and you've lost the flower's character. Sometimes I would leave my camera pointed at a flower for days in front of a window waiting for it to sit just right.

How did your love of sculpture and Renaissance art influence the look of the nude photographs?

I think that comes out in my editing process. I'm a very organic shooter, often letting the model start to twist, turn and exaggerate her body. I'm sure subconsciously, the small directions I give send them into that realm, although in the editing process I often look for the more full bodies — the image you could feel with your hands.

The message behind the photographs is especially interesting given fashion's obsession with youth and Photoshopped perfection. Can you elaborate on the themes of beauty, decay and imperfection in this exhibition?

I feel we need to reevaluate how we link youth with beauty. As a flower dries and decays, the multitude of veins running throughout the petals and leaves begin to emerge in stark contrast to the body of the flower. The shape and feel of the flower is beautifully transformed in its maturity and eventual death. A shallow beauty can become a deeper, more fascinating beauty through life, akin to a pretty young girl becoming an even more beautiful woman who has realised that potential. You really do have to see the show in person. I arranged the images in such a way that the nudes of young women would reflect in the image opposite it, always a decaying flower and vice versa. My favourite combination is the duotone red/white rose which I have reflecting against the headless torso with a long scratch down her body. When standing in front of the nude, the flower perfectly reflects in the shadow of her body.

How do you find contrasts feeding into your work, i.e. beauty versus imperfection, youth versus death?

We have to be careful with the question because it implies that beauty is a constant. Imperfection is defined as an undesirable feature. Yet that undesirable feature may be the thing that another finds beautiful. So in a sense beauty can not be defined but can only be what that person believes beauty to be.

Transience marks the part one of a series, with the follow-up set to depict older women and seedlings. What can you tell us about this photographic sequel?
It's to drive home the fact that beauty is life, not youth.

Billy Kidd: Transience is at Masters & Pelavin, New York City, until December 7.

Read the full article here.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Jordan Sullivan: The Young Earth for Dazed Digital



After artistic endeavours like capturing New Mexico’s Indian summers for The Ghost Country, Jordan Sullivan’s latest project saw the Houston-born photographer leave behind the desolate American desert for the scenic splendour of Iceland.

The resulting volume one of his Wandering Days book series, A Young Earth, mixes Sullivan’s evocative landscape imagery and voyeuristic portraits with poetry, prose and historical fiction anecdotes. The photo-text novella tells the story of two twenty-something Americans attempting to come to grips with their own mortality, friendship and destructive love triangles of the past - all whilst trekking through the idyllic Icelandic landscape.

Dazed Digital caught up with Sullivan to speak about the recreation of forgotten family photographs, car breakdowns in the middle of the Nordic mountains and trips from heaven to hell and back. 

Dazed Digital: Where did your inspiration for the story come from?

Jordan Sullivan: I don't usually work from inspiration, I just work every day. I do follow paths and ideas, and have always been interested in the idea of ending at another beginning - the end of youth, the end of love, what comes next, the new worlds we discover when we finally move on. I knew this story needed to deal with death, specifically dying young. My friends and I were confronting some of the same things the characters in my story are, at least with regards to getting older. The specifics of the story were a little hazy until I started shooting it and looking at the images. I tried to let the feeling I got from the final pictures guide me when writing the text, though I did have this dream of a guy driving his friend to the afterlife. They get in a car and drive to this dead end, the man drops his friend off and then drives back to earth.

DD: What were the most memorable moments during the production of this series?

Jordan Sullivan: Sleeping on the sides of roads, watching the yellow moon rise, running out of gas in the mountains in a snowstorm 200 miles from the nearest town, being in one of the most strange and beautiful places in the world with my best friends.

DD: What compelled you to create a novella as opposed to a photography-only book, and how did the creative process differ when thinking about the combination of text and image, as opposed to just the visuals?

Jordan Sullivan: I have always had an interest in the interaction between image and text. I love stories and fiction. Growing up, I was always reading and watching films. I sometimes feel more like a writer or storyteller than an artist or a photographer. The Young Earth is as much a novella and a poem as it is a photography book in my mind. The challenge was to create images that illustrated the feeling of the story rather than just the action or the plot. The book needed to flow like music in that way. 

DD: How did the surroundings of Iceland inspire you as an artist and why did you decided to set the story in this specific location?

Jordan Sullivan: Iceland is one of the youngest bodies of land in the world, so it seemed to have potential to act as this mirror for the inner lives of my characters, both of whom were leaving their youth. The story needed to be shot in an empty and open space, as well as a very beautiful space, and I didn't want to shoot it in America. I wanted these men to be in a completely foreign place. I wanted to go somewhere I had never been before as well, a place I couldn't imagine. Iceland is a place one would go on vacation and that was important because the two men in this book are very much on vacation in some ways, albeit their last. Iceland is a realistic place that they would visit, and realism is at the core of all my work.

Those were always the most beautiful to me. In some ways I imagine some of the pictures in The Young Earth as those photographs - the forgotten ones, the ones that didn't make it in the family or vacation album. I wanted this story to sort of be like this mundane document of a vacation that turns into this whole existential and tragic thing. I really love that film Gerry by Gus Van Sant, where these two friends just go hiking and get lost and the film becomes this massive portrait of life and death and survival, but in this really quiet and understated way. 

DD: Does shooting the images in 35 mm and Polaroid as opposed to digital film make the process feel more precious in a way, or was there another reason for choosing this medium?

Jordan Sullivan: When I shot this a year ago, I didn't really know how to use a digital camera and didn't own one. 35mm was all I really knew how to shoot. Also, my vacations with my family were always shot on film, so I wanted to bring that quality to the book. Both the characters in the story are children of the film era, children of the 90's. 

DD: In the images human and nature, the tiny object and the panoramic landscape appear to contrast one another. What was your intention when using these two ‘opposites’ throughout the series?

Jordan Sullivan: I wanted the pictures to seem as if they were shot from multiple perspectives - first, second, and third - so I needed vast, intimate and omniscient views. Some pictures could be from the narrator's perspective, others from the earth's perspective. There's very much a back and forth between the portraits and landscapes. I wanted the images in the book to sort of grow like a vine, tangling all these people and places together. The characters in the story are trying to connect with themselves, the world and their past. I wanted to express that pictorially through all these different juxtapositions of people and nature. Also, the idea of time in a landscape is very interesting to me. My friend Emma Phillips, who is a wonderful landscape photographer, introduced me to this, and I really thought about it a lot when making The Young Earth, as well as the ways in which a place or a person can trigger a memory. A place can very much embody the feeling of a person and vice versa. We are always existing in so many places at once; the present and the past, our internal and external spaces, are constantly colliding wherever we are. The narrator of the story is simultaneously exploring all these parts of the world and himself. He's coming to grips with the inevitable death of his best friend, looking at this foreign place, roaming through landscapes, investigating the history of that land, and recalling his own history, the things he's buried, forgotten and been too afraid to confront.

DD: How do you see the overarching themes of mortality, friendship, love, youth and beauty portrayed in the final images?

Jordan Sullivan: The last chapter of the book is my favourite. It's filled with light and joy. It's a beginning of sorts. I wanted the end to be a celebration filled with hope and light and colour. I love that scene in Akira Kurosawa's Dreams where the funeral procession is a parade with singing, dancing and laughter. The Young Earth is in many ways a celebration of endings and death.

DD: What can we expect next from the Wandering Days series?

Jordan Sullivan: Wandering Days is a quartet of books. The second I finished shooting in NYC recently, the third will be shot in Naples, Italy this summer, and the fourth will be shot in the southern United States. It should keep me busy for a while.

Jordan Sullivan's The Young Earth is published 31 October, available for pre-order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
For print sales please contact Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art: www.phhfineart.com.


Read the full article here.