Masters of Photography Vol. 13 – Australians is now available and we are already on to the next one. This time, Fashion Industry Broadcast goes global. From Seoul to Berlin, “Masters of Photography Vol. 52 – Next Gen” is a carefully-curated selection of emerging artists who we think might be the next big thing. This art book will feature an amazing selection of their work, as well as thought-provoking interviews.
Every week, we will introduce you to one of these new talents. Today, we are flying away to Atlanta, Georgia, to have a chat with photographer Tyler Mitchell.
How would you describe your style?
My style has no regard for reality. It’s young, colourful, sometimes scientific and geometric and it uses composition and form to put together ideas and statements. I like things that feel serene.
How and when did you decide to become a professional photographer?
I don’t know if I’ve decided to be a professional. To me it’s fun and everyday I feel like I’m still an amateur.
Where do you find inspiration?
Mostly in music, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s films and old-fashioned images are also very inspiring to me.
Who are your favourite photographers of all time and why are they so special to you?
Vivianne Sassen, Harley Weir and Hart + Leshkina are my three favourites. I really like my contemporaries.
This art book features photographers from the entire world and each of them has a very specific identity. How do you think your geographic location affects your work?
People don’t always see my city affecting my work and that’s because it does so very indirectly. Atlanta is a very southern, vanilla city. My work sometimes talks about the mundane, but I use a lot of colours. I think I got this from skateboarding and the Internet, which are both a significant part of my upbringing. Those two things are kind of placeless.
If you could move to any city in the world, where would you like to live and work as a photographer?
I could see myself in Havana, Cuba; Marrakech, Morocco or somewhere in Southern California.
What are you five dream locations to shoot?
A roller-skating rink, more of people’s houses and rooms, inside art galleries and museums, a huge botanical garden or inside the Guggenheim in Spain.
How would you describe the photography industry in your country? What are the chances for a young artist to ‘make it’ and become global?
I think the photography industry is booming in the United States, and worldwide actually. Images are spreading wider and faster and people are starting to understand the power of photographs and they’re starting to respect the artists behind them. In fact, I feel that art is becoming a bit of a trend. And I’m fine with that if it leads to kids doing what they love and sharing their ideas.
As a young photographer, you have been part of a big switch in the industry. Indeed, photography today is much more democratised than a few decades ago. Everyone can have access to retouching programs, publishing sites and good cameras. What are your thoughts on the evolution of the industry and the impact it has on your work?
I am a product of the DSLR. I am a product of the Internet. I embrace all of these evolutions and yet I also take them with a grain of salt. Nobody from my family, immediate or extended, is an artist so I feel grateful for the democratisation of photography because otherwise I would have had no way into this once exclusive industry. But I also acknowledge all the haystacks that exist to find the needles now. I just always push myself to rise above.
A lot of young photographers got discovered thanks to their Tumblr or Instagram account. What is your relationship with social media platforms?
Childish Gambino, Shia Labeouf and Jaden Smith are my heroes so I think I can say I’ve got a very important and close relationship with the Internet. But I have mixed feelings about social media… Sometimes it can get “sceney” and too focused on the quickness of the moment. What’s here today could be minimized tomorrow, as my friend Kevin said. I just want to create images that last.
Post manipulation has been long debated, especially in commercial and fashion photography. How much do you retouch your images and what is your opinion on the whole body image debate?
The answer to this question is short and simple: I don’t retouch my images.