Images full of melancholic and joy, reveal pieces of reality that with his friends Tim Barber live and record throught a spontaneous photography. Who has said that beauty can’t be found in everydaylife?
Could you give me a bit of background on your photography?
I really fell in love with photo in high school.I would spend all my time in the darkroom, obsessing over images. It wasnÕt like being in school at all.
It was all black and white back then, I was really stuck on that. I remember thinking black and white photos were pure, that they were more honest somehow, because it was just about the light. I donÕt believe that anymore.
What are you taking pictures of?
I take photos when something seems important to me. It can be anything really. There is a certain charge to moments or things that I look for. There are so many elements to consider though, it can be tricky trying to define.
Are some of your friends trapped in your photos?
No, I don’t think so.
I feel that thereÕs some sort of narrative going on in your pictures. Am I right?
Yeah, for sure. As soon as you string together a series of images some sort of narrative will appear. I try and create a narrative that is loose in terms of subject, but specific in terms of design. ItÕs interesting to challenge the obvious narrative, to confuse the story in order to find a new story. Odd things can relate when presented in a similar way, but I donÕt like it when things get too specific.It’s all about editing the world down to a personal, simplified story. Photography for me is just a long editing process.
The guys in your photographs always seem to possess a strong spirit. What do you generally look for when you choose them?
That is the charge I was talking about before. Everyone shows that, it is just a matter of noticing. I think, in terms of the subject, it is about being self-aware but not self-conscious, of being comfortable and honest with your self, even just for a moment.
The underlying beauty in your photographs comes from the light. It seems very simple, but you really see light in the most nuanced way. Do you pay a lot of attention to it?
Light is the starting point. If you look up the word in the dictionary even its definition is like a poem.
You can really see that everybody is having a great time in your photographs, but always with an underlying melancholic feeling. Which is the message you want to give through your pics?
Exactly that. It is a balance I find it to be consistent wherever I look.
The people in your photographs seem to be so giving they want to show so much of themselves to the camera. To me it's very interesting in photographs when you can see that there's a relationship between the subject and the photographer. How do you create this feeling?
It’s important to remember that it is a fantasy. Sometimes the subjects are giving, sometimes I’m taking, and sometimes it is equal. I try to be subtle with my camera so it doesn’t get between me and the photo. Sometimes it works.
Has your background affected your vision as a photographer?
Can you explain how your work, even though it's not posed, is so perfectly composed?
I am obsessed with composition, but I don’t think good composition is unusual or complicated. Things align themselves in perfect formation all the time.
I think that the act of taking a photograph of someone can be selfish. So I believe that when you take a photograph of somebody, you have to give something of yourself back. And it seems that comes across in your work. What do you give of yourself back?
I agree that it can be selfish. This gets complicated. Most of the people I photograph are my friends, so I would say that I give back whatever I can as a friend. Also I try to give them, in the photographs, honest representation. Sometimes thatÕs not necessarily what people want to see of themselves, and sometimes I fail at my attempts, so, like I said, it can get complicated.
I see some of your work as very much ahead of the times. Much of what's been happening in young photography, in terms of style and approach. I associate your work with spontaneity. For me, your photographs are always intimate. Is that the thing about your work?
Can we call it spontaneous intimacy? The way you can relate to an object the same way you might a person. How a ladder can be sad, or how you can all of a sudden feel so strong and sure about a person you never thought about before. Things are less stable then we would like to believe, and I try and trust my gut feelings.
How do you feel when you see your work in galleries?
I have only seen that a few times, but it was good to see.I prefer books though.
Looking through your photos, you start with this feeling of how fragile people are, and then gradually, you get a feeling of the inner dignity of these kids. Is it a kind psychological reportage?
That’s a nice way to put it, but I think calling it reportage implies too much understanding on my part, as if I know what’s going through all these people’s minds. It is safer, but still questionable, to put those assumptions onto me, as though the subjects somehow reflect my psyche. I am relating them to myself and my experience.
Did you always want to be a photographer?
Since I was about 16.
What kind of cameras do you use?
A Yashica T4, an Olympus Stylus, a Contax T2 and a Nikon F90.