Could you tell us a little about your childhood and youth?
I'm a very typical only child. Left alone with lots of time on my hands, withdrawing into various fantasy worlds, hatching plots, chasing butterflies, hiding in cupboards.
Where does your interest in photography come from? Do you think that your childhood played an important role in what you do now? Tell us about your first photo experience.
I had a number of voyeuristic experiences during my childhood and adolescence which I am sure contribute towards many of my adult character traits. The detachment between the observer and the observed, the model and the photographer - in both instances those involved are separated by a sheet of glass. The only conclusion to be drawn from this trail of thought is that clearly photography is just an ill informed attempt to recapture my childhood and stark metaphors for the human condition are lurking around every corner. I remember family photo albums, home movies shot on super 8mm and projected onto the wall. Photography was never an interest or a concern apart from this. Just snap shots, memories, something that happened at weddings and birthdays...
Which is your favorite quote?
"Eroticism relates to a knowledge of evil and the inevitability of death. It is not simply an expression of joyful passion" – Hans Bellmer
Tell us about your first photoshoot. And about your recent photoshoot.
There was never any decision on my part to become a photographer. My first shoot was with a girlfriend and just to test out my new camera, to get used to its workings. The photos that came from this surprised me and over the next few months I slowly began to shoot more and more, becoming a photographer by mistake. My work was originally fairly dull art nude and has developed over the last five years into a richer palette of mood and themes, seeing me drawing upon the darker side of lust, the spirit of surrealism and a dose of ennui.
Which photographers do you admire? Who are/were your influences?
Nobuyoshi Araki casts the largest shadow over my work, with smudges of Francesca Woodman and the finger prints of author George Bataille. I also take cues from pornographic imagery and cliché with my photos and films, though I am happy to skewer those with their own ridiculousness. There are also plenty of visual representations of Japanese cinema and other Oriental art within my work. I am inspired by a fairly wide range of sources, outside of the world of photography and beyond.
What kind of music do you usually listen during your shootings?
I have difficult taste in music, so will often play albums by bands the likes of Zoviet France, Nurse with Wound, Coil and more recently Japanese artist World’s End Girlfriend. Having awkward, unusual sounds that the model is usually unfamiliar with lends a different mood to things and all adds up to the final film or image. Sometimes a model will bring along music from their boyfriends band that they want to listen to whilst shooting. This music is always terrible and makes me want to throw my speakers out the window.
Tell us your most exciting tale of girls, connected to photo, fashion and you.
Fashion doesn’t excite me. I’m a man of simple tastes and elaborate imagination. My photoshoots are probably not as fun as some people would like to think, but I find them entertaining none the less.
What does a typical workday look like for you? Could you describe it in details? From dawn till dusk.
The days on which I am shooting usually start with a hangover and a panic to get ready in time. The photoshoots are often improvisational, so my mind will start working on themes when the model is preparing. There are usually a few vague ideas floating around or a few props or scenarios to use and the shoot will often organically grow from the smallest seed of a thought. A photoshoot can last anywhere between two to five hours, including cigarette breaks and lots of me pacing the floor, and will usually result in three final images and one of my animations. The films are more tightly scripted and can take anything from a few days to several months to complete. Looking back at the work achieved at the end of the day is my favourite part of the process. It is usually accompanied by more wine, which helps for the next day’s hangover.
What do you know about Russia? Do you ever come to Moscow?
I haven’t visited Russia as yet, though I have a friend who lives there now teaching English who seems very happy in the city. I am kept busy with my work, photography and films and I also work with a few musical projects – so time for breaks away from London are rare for me. Maybe I will visit sometime in the future.
What are you working on currently? And which are your projects for the near future?
Apart from the short films as mentioned, I am also working on a series of photographic animations and working continually on my various photographic projects, including my colour dissection of glamour photography “The Futile Nature of Eroticism”.