Interview with Gary Gumanow

When I first discovered Gary Gumanow’s work on Flickr, I was instantly hooked. He shot photos that made me want to grab my camera and get out there because I felt like I was missing something that he obviously wasn’t. People refer to photographers as having a front row ticket to life; Gary is a season ticket holder.

Gary's ability to show the streets echoes the way the masters did and his skill remains unparalleled today. Armed with his Leica and Hassleblad, he’s consistently dominated the streets, turning their stories into black and white negatives and, eventually, silver gelatin darkroom prints. Despite moving to Texas from the street photography capital of the world, Gary has proven that you can take the photographer out of New York, but you can't take New York out of the photographer.

We discuss Gary’s return to photography, his annual visit to Coney Island, and how his frustration with people constantly on their cell phones turned into his project Anti-Social Networking, among other topics.

 

Photos by Gary Gumanow
Interview by Josh Sinn

Photo by Tim Castlen

Photo by Tim Castlen

First, Gary, thank you for being interviewed for Cadillac Ranch Dressing.

You’re very welcome. Thanks for having me on. It’s a pleasure to be here.

How long have you been shooting photos now?

Sometimes it feels like I’ve just started every time I go out with my camera. And sometimes it just seems like forever. I was eight years old when I picked up a camera for the first time; a hand-me-down from my sisters. The classic Kodak Brownie. I’ve still got it with the original packaging, but without the flashbulbs. I don’t know if I would’ve called it shooting back then. I did get hooked though by working with my dad in a newspaper darkroom when I was 9. The whole process mesmerized me.

I guess I didn’t really start “shooting” until high school roaming around New York City, and then later for my high school yearbook and newspaper. Guess you could say at that time photography played a big part of my life; my darkroom was in my bedroom!

My mom had other ideas for my bedroom when I was away at college so I sold off my darkroom since I couldn’t take it with me to college and she needed the space. I remember tossing my negatives, thinking I wouldn’t need them any longer. That was a dumb move.

Life happens and before you know it, you’ve got a job, wife, kids, ex-wife, and the photography that you knew and loved gets put on hold. I’ve seen this with other photographers and it happened to me too. Sure I took the photos of my kids, but I don’t think I was very good at that type of photography.

Fast forward about 25 years, and my second wife, Julie, buys me a digital point and shoot camera, not knowing anything of my past photography experiences, and I was hooked all over again. One day she wanted to shoot and took my camera, so I got out my film cameras, and we started shooting together. Now that I was shooting film again, it only made sense to build a darkroom, and I have been shooting film, developing my film, and making prints ever since.

Do you have any formal education in photography?

Nope. I didn’t have any formal training, just what my dad taught me up until the time I was 11 years old, and what I learned through my close friends and books. I did take one photography class in college though.

Back in the 1970’s photography resources were limited to the people you met or could read about in manuals or books. I read everything I possibly could but I’m a visual learner. I really learned by watching others and asked as many questions as I could.

"I remember tossing my negatives, thinking I wouldn’t need them any longer. That was a dumb move."

I was the photo-editor of the high school yearbook and had license to photograph my classmates up close and personal. I got along with a lot of different groups in school because of this. The jocks wanted me to make them look great on the field or court. The drama kids wanted me to show them in their best light, and the “hoods” wanted to look cool and chill.

I had plans to attend RISD for photography when choosing a college and upon the urging of mom, and a propensity for doing well in math and science, led me to computer science for a course of study. Mom’s advice was, if you are passionate about photography, having a career that affords you the time to pursue your passions and it will pay off in the long run. It was the best advice I could’ve received at the time.

You’re originally from Brooklyn, New York, but now call Houston, Texas home. What’s it like moving away from, arguably, the street photographer’s biggest playground?

First off, I don’t know if I’ll ever call Texas home. It’s where I live right now, but it never feels like home. I’m existing here and enjoy traveling as much as possible.

But yeah, it’s true, NYC is the mecca of street photography. But what’s ironic is after college and living on the upper west side of Manhattan, I wasn’t doing much street photography. So it feels like a lost opportunity.

It’s a lot tougher to try to find and make interesting street shots elsewhere. Before moving to Houston I lived in Portland and Austin, and it took me some time to figure out and get the rhythm of those cities; where to find foot traffic, the light, etc. I can’t say I’ve figured out Houston yet.

I do miss NYC a lot, but living elsewhere also gives me down time from the rat race, and takes the pressure off of needing to shoot all the time. It gives me time to edit what I captured and learn from what I shot. It usually takes me about six months to even develop my film and longer to make work prints. By the time I post a photo on Flickr or Facebook it’s a probably nine months to a year from when I shot it.

I do try to fill the void by shifting to other types of photography, slowing it down with urban landscapes for example. I few years ago I shot a sheep shearing on a friend’s farm. That was a lot of fun and something I had never been that close to before. The boy from Brooklyn on a mutton farm shearing sheep? Never in a million years would I have ever thought this would happen to me. My son was with me and he wrestled with some mutton and to see him do that made me feel extremely proud of him.

Has shooting photos in Texas changed the way you approach subjects?
In Texas people aren’t on the streets during the day; it’s too damn hot! They come out at night, and it’s still damn hot! And the light just seems so much brighter and glaring. I had the idea if I was going to get any photos of people I was going to need to expand my horizons to shoot street at night with flash. I hadn’t shot a lot with a flash, so it was fun to learn about shooting street at night with a flash.

At first I thought people would be upset, but I quickly learned that they think I’m shooting for some magazine. Shooting at night with flash was a new way of shooting for me and it was a blast. Many times people thanked me for taking their photo.

It is a desert out here for street photography, so I turn to other types of shooting. You’ve got to rely on looking at the calendar of events and festivals if you want to shoot people. You just can’t go downtown and watch the people traffic like I can in SoHo. They aren’t there. You’d find yourself chasing one person down the street.

"It is a desert out here for street photography, so I turn to other types of shooting."

If we were to rank the best places for street photography, I think you’d find that they all contain some form of public transportation. In Texas the word “public” is synonymous with “socialism.”

So, you’ve got to mix it up to keep your eye active here in Texas, or travel a lot to other cities. I travel for work and always try to get where I’m going early so that I’ll have time to shoot or meetup with other photographers I’ve met online.


Impressively, all of the work you post is printed in the darkroom. What draws you to silver gelatin prints?

First off, I love having prints around to look at and hold. It’s great to look at photos without the assistance of a computer. I can pass them around to friends in a coffee shop and get feedback. Sometimes I think I shoot film so that in the end, I’ll have a silver gelatin print.

A lot of people, I think, mix up the art of printing with photography. They are two very different art forms. I love both. It gives me time to relax, get away from everything; no computers, alone time. I get to listen to my music, and sing as badly as I’d like.

I recently started to print postcards so that I can share prints with photographers in other cities. It’s a great way to share prints without all the expense of putting them in a box, bringing it down to UPS, and spending a fortune on postage. I’m calling this project, “Put a stamp on it.” Who knows maybe it could be a book someday? Fronts and backs of postcards from all these photographers. Could be a fun project.

Another reason I love printing… I can’t stand messing with ink cartridges, paper jams, smears, and everything that sucks about photo printers. In order to get a good print from an ink-jet printer requires more work on the computer. Again, I’m not interested in spending more time on the computer, especially when I’m not at my day job.

What photographers influence your work? Any non-photographic influences?

Starting with the non-photographic influences first, I’d have to say my parents and my wife. They probably have had the biggest influence on me. I wouldn’t call my dad a photographer; he was more of an artist and painter. Sure, he was the family photographer, but I learned a great deal about loving people and humanity from both my dad and my mom.  

Next I’d have to say my wife, Julie, has given me a lot of advice, encouragement and support. She’s completely supportive of what I’m doing. As a theater director, she has opened me up to new ways of interpretation. She’s got an amazing eye for composition and is also a great photographer herself. If you were to ask her though she’d say she is just playing around with the camera. She’s very humble.

But more to the point, I would have to say without question my photographic influences are Garry Winogrand, and Lee Friedlander. There’s a sarcasm, and an irony in Friedlander’s work that really hits me. I see something new almost every time I look at his photos.

You make a return to Coney Island every year for the Fourth of July to shoot photos. What about Coney keeps you coming back?

This is the beach where real New Yorkers go when it gets hot. These are people that don’t have houses in the Hampton’s, or shares on Fire Island. These are blue collar people that work an honest wage. They come out with their families for the entire day. They take the subway with their coolers, umbrellas, chairs, toys, and music. You see everything. Big extended families, young lovers, mom’s with kids, dad’s with kids, old people sitting enjoying the sun, daredevils diving off the pier, people fishing… you’ve got everything here on this narrow piece of sand. Oh, and July 4th, you can’t even see the sand. It is wall to wall blankets and beach towels. Did I mention July 4th is the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest? Joey Chestnut for the win again this year.

"...you’ve got everything here on this narrow piece of sand."

I come each year for the people. Hopefully I can grab a little bit of that relief people feel being free from the confines of their small apartments. People for the most part are out to enjoy themselves and are not self-conscious about how they look in a bathing suit. We’re all in this together.

For the last four years, you’ve been working on a series called Anti-Social Networking. How did the project start?

David Alan Harvey was coming through Austin for a presentation of his work at Austin Center for Photography, and was giving a four-day workshop on the “Photographic Essay.” Basically, you come up with an idea for a photo essay that you can get started on in the workshop, and practice the principles of developing a story through your photos.

I’ve never been big on shooting with a specific project in mind. Typically, I let the photos fall where they may, and don’t have pictures in my head when I go out to shoot. Sort of like letting the work come organically from what I shoot. Seems at odds with my shooting philosophy to “go out and get a story” rather than see what comes of it. Going out and trying to fit photos into a theme just didn’t seem right.

So the Anti-Social Networking project came about out of my own frustration with trying to make an interesting photo with people showing up in my photo on their phone.

I started to observe people getting together with friends or in close proximity with others, and not even appearing interested in being with their physical environment or the people they are with. I thought about how social networks like Facebook or Google+, are supposed to bring us closer together, and in a lot of ways they have. But when we are with our own social networks, the people we are in physical contact with, we tend to bury ourselves in our virtual networks. It’s an anti-social behavior to ignore the people we are with, and exchange it for a virtual environment. So it is these social networks that are creating an anti-social behavior.  

Imagine if you and I get together to hang out, maybe get a beer, but the whole time we are catching up with virtual friends on Facebook. I’m trying to show what we look like in the new millennium. We used to read newspapers or smoke on the street. Now we are enslaved to our devices and this is what we look like.

But it all started with a frustration. I don’t know how else to describe it.


What do you have planned for the future? Any project ideas?

I’m working on several at the moment. New ideas come up all the time. For example, I found myself frustrated with my photography living in Texas. I found myself frustrated with how ugly a place it is. There is an interstate that runs right through the middle of Austin. There is a section of I-35 that is two levels two blocks from where I lived. Sloping down from the highway is brown concrete called a berm. These are monstrosities and take up a lot of ground. I asked myself, how do I make an interesting photo of this place? So I’ve decided to see if there is something there. Can I make interesting photos of berms? Don’t know the answer yet, but I’m giving it a try. I have maybe one or two that I like so far. We’ll see. Oh and by the way, Houston is full of these berms as well. No lack of subject material. 

Interview with Steven Brooks

Steven Brooks has been on my radar for a number of years now, with me first stumbling upon his work via Flickr. Looking through his photos, I saw a refreshing depiction of the American West that, for someone living their entire life on the East coast, was very compelling. From roadside attractions to burger joints, foggy farms to motels, Steven creates scenes straight out of a movie, with the main character always being the landscape.

We talked with Steven about his American Pickup series, the "film vs. digital" debate, and the American West, among other things. We're proud to have Steven Brooks on Cadillac Ranch Dressing.

 

All photos by Steven Brooks
Interview by Josh Sinn

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Where were you born and where do you currently live?
I was born in the San Juan Islands of Washington State.  My family moved around a lot within the state and also spent a bit of time in Northern Canada, but I’ve lived in Seattle for over 30 years.

How did you first pick up a camera?
I took my first pictures with my dad’s Konica rangefinder when I was 13.  My parents were always great about encouraging creative pursuits, so when I expressed an interest in photography and asked to borrow my dad’s camera, he gifted it to me and promptly went out to buy the core of the Contax/Zeiss system he still owns and uses today.  

Do you have any formal education in photography?
No, I studied music formally for a few years, but my photography education was acquired here and there, over a long period of time.  My dad and older brother were both interested in photography and there were plenty of books and magazines in my house, many focusing on landscape and wildlife photography.  I often found myself daydreaming in the pages of Arizona Highways magazine.  My first pictures were scenics: landscapes, sunsets, etc.  I also took a lot of portraits of family members.  

We had a darkroom at home and I spent entire days and nights processing and printing, sometimes the hours passing like minutes.  During that phase, I would often argue with my sister for going through the darkroom trash and hanging my rejects on her bedroom wall.  (She didn’t see any difference between the keepers and the rejects.  I swore she was blind.)  By the time I was 15, I had saved enough money to buy a Yashica SLR, which accepted my dad’s Zeiss lenses.  With those lenses and a darkroom at home, the technical learning potential was relatively limitless, but artistic learning and growth came quite a bit later.  Spending so much time in the darkroom, I became obsessed with tones and contrast, but hadn’t yet learned to take interesting pictures.  

In the late 80s, the Lee Friedlander exhibit, Like a One-Eyed Cat, came to the Seattle Art Museum.  Seeing that exhibit was a pivotal experience for me.  It simply changed the way I see, in all aspects of my life, and enabled me to see beauty in far less obvious places.  I spent years experimenting with window reflections, and abstract compositions.  I also started acquiring photography books, now a lifelong habit that needs constant feeding.

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"I’m always looking for redemption and hope in the landscape."

Who are some of your influences in photography or elsewhere?
My photography books are hugely inspirational.  This week, I’m spending a lot of time with three books:  Peter Granser’s Sun City, Alec Soth's Ping Pong Conversations and Vivian Maier’s Out of the Shadows.  The internet is probably my biggest source of inspiration though.  I follow a lot of amazing photographers and photography curators on Tumblr and Flickr.  I bookmark the stuff that inspires me and revisit the sites and images regularly.  There is an astounding number of interesting pictures being made and shared every day.  It’s humbling, to say the least. 

I also find inspiration in paintings, movies, music and fiction.  Sometimes I attempt to illustrate a particular mood that a work from another medium evokes.  Lately, stories by Raymond Carver have had an impact on what catches my eye.

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You have a lot of recurring themes and subjects, one of them being pickup trucks. You eventually organized those photos into a series called American Pickup. What about pickup trucks grabs your attention?
One consistency among my series is that my pictures focus primarily on the American roadside.  Sometimes they are construed as coming from a cynical or ironic point of view—which is only sometimes intentional.  More than anything, I’m always looking for redemption and hope in the landscape.  To me, a pickup truck is the ultimate symbol of American pride and ambition.  Despite the series title and common thread of pickups, I try to make the photos more about the landscape as a whole.  The trucks just happen to be there, but they help complete the scene.  

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You choose to work in both digital and film, but what draws you to film when you do work with it?
The way I use film has certainly evolved over the years as digital technology has improved and certain film emulsions have been discontinued.  I now use film sparingly alongside my digital cameras when I come across something that really excites me and I have time to set up an extra camera.  Many of the pictures in my American Pickup series were shot on Fuji 400H and Kodak Portra 400.  There’s a certain character to the grain structure and color rendering of those films that seems to add a special ingredient to the pictures, making them some of my favorites from the series.  Shooting a medium format film camera without a built-in meter also requires me to take my time.  I find that when I’m shooting rural and small town scenes—where pickups are plentiful—I feel like I can afford to slow down a bit.  That’s often when I reach for my film camera and tuck an extra roll of film into my pocket.  There’s something special about that loud “cluck” of the shutter and advancing the film crank that makes me smile every time, as if the scene were posing for me.  Perhaps it’s nostalgia or romanticism, but certain subjects, scenes and circumstances seem to call for film and I know it the instant I see “the shot”.  

"It’s all pixels on a screen anyway, no matter how they got there."

I think digital and film offer different advantages and I enjoy using them both.  Having a background in film, I’m excited to see younger generations of photographers embracing it.  I can’t help but roll my eyes, however, when I read “digital sucks” comments online.  I Google myself about once a month to see where my photos end up.  A while back, I found one of my pictures on somebody’s Tumblr with a caption saying something like, “You could never do this with digital.”  Funny thing is that it referred to one of my digital photos.  Regardless of that mentality, I have nothing against film-exclusive groups and media.  It’s fun to embrace, share, and “geek out” over a common interest.  Most film photographers I know and follow online agree that the film vs. digital debate is silly.  They use film because they like the process and the result.  No elitism whatsoever.  In the online world, it’s all pixels on a screen anyway, no matter how they got there.

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Your work has a very distinct look, in my opinion. There seems to be a strong focus on elements of the American West, which for many who live elsewhere, can be very iconic or even majestic. Did you consciously set out to depict this “western aesthetic” or did it develop on its own?
In our initial correspondence, you mentioned having a case of western wanderlust and photo envy.  I’ve never thought of my pictures as having a “western aesthetic” but I suppose they must.  Because I live in the West, this landscape is what I know.  I imagine such an aesthetic is most prevalent in my rural pictures and has as much to do with space and light as subject matter.  In rural settings, subjects have some breathing room and it is easier to create a visual rhythm in the compositions.  The light also tends to be very even, which further simplifies a composition.  Unlike many East Coast cities, “the middle of nowhere” is a relatively short drive in any direction out of Seattle.  The iconic, quintessentially American roadside elements are definitely more prevalent in the West and I can’t resist photographing them.  We certainly have some of that in the Northwest, but it’s everywhere in the American Southwest, which is where I long to photograph.  I think we photographers always long to be somewhere else.  Right now, Amarillo, TX beckons me.

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What are your plans for the future? Any upcoming projects or series in the works?
I haven’t been as active this past year or so for several reasons, but I’m hoping to get back in the habit of shooting regularly in the coming months.  I’m becoming increasingly interested in shooting portraits again.  In the rare instance when people appear in my pictures, they usually do so as small figures.   In the next couple of years, I’m hoping to break down whatever wall has been standing in my way.  I feel like most of my series are incomplete and perhaps they’re just missing some faces.  

 

 

To see more of Steven's work, please visit:

http://www.stevenbrooksphoto.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/steven-brooks/

http://steven-brooks.tumblr.com/

Interview with Matthias Winkel

I've known of Matthias Winkel's work for a few years now, following his blog A Picture of Brandon, as well as Them Bridges, a project of his documenting hundreds of bridges in Hamburg, Germany. Matthias, armed with a Hasselblad 500CM, began posting bits and pieces from a series he was working on that focused on the tattoos of the people he worked with as a social worker at a homeless shelter in Hamburg. Only seeing a small fraction of the series, I was very curious of the background of how it came about. As a photographer myself, one of the things I admire most of others is the ability to enter into the world of strangers and document their story in a personal way.

We're excited to have a photographer as skilled as Matthias be the first interview for Cadillac Ranch Dressing.

All photos by Matthias Winkel
Interview by Josh Sinn

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Where were you born and where do you currently reside?
I was born in the period of martial law in Gdansk, Poland in 1982. My parents and I managed to escape the communist system and ended up in Stuttgart, Germany in 1988. After finishing my social work studies in Erfurt, I moved to Hamburg in 2011. So yeah, Hamburg is my base now; a lovely city that everybody should check out on a visit to Germany.

When did you first pick up a camera?
My parents had this old Zenit TTL that got into my hands when I was 17 or 18. No light meter, no nothing. Thought I was good enough to be an awesome skateboard photographer, until I realized that magazines were talking about weird stuff like Hasselblads, Pocket Wizards and X-Sync. Made sure to buy myself a Canon EOS 5 and fisheye after a while.

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Do you have any formal education in photography?
Not really. I had a two-day darkroom class and went to a photo club at university, where everybody shot macros of flowers and shit. After graduating from high school, I did some civil service, with the plan to start looking out for a 3-year education program as a photographer - in the end, I didn't even apply. Part of the decision was some advice from a 95-year-old woman who had to go through the struggle of being one of Josef Mengeles’ patients in Auschwitz. She told me to leave the passion a passion and do something solid. I listened to her. To this day, I'm a self-taught photographer who learned everything on film.

I’ve always noticed that photographers who are also skateboarders seem to have a different view of their environment and the people around them. As a skater, do you think skating has changed your work at all? If so, how?
A friend of mine once said, "There is no need to be a studied person to be a creative director. Just tell a skateboarder to do the job because he knows what would work". He made a good point, in my opinion.

(Inner city) street skaters get a very subtle education in many aesthetic fields. After making it through the first phase of learning how to push and ollie, you start to try to make it good look - fluent, fast, effortless. The stylish movements make you a dancer. Then you realize how people dress. You figure all out about shoes and different clothing styles - you're on the way to becoming the new Hedi Slimane. When you're hitting the streets, you're constantly looking for new spots. You spot a certain building from 3 miles away and you get an instant feeling how the outside terrain might look like - congrats Mr. Architect! Pro skateboarders will show you their skills in videos and you'll love it so much that you end up watching about two hours of footage a day. Your friend Peter borrows daddy’s camera to follow your hero’s path. After filming, you'll check out this rap music that Gino used for his edit. By now, you could easily direct, film and edit the latest Wu-Tang music video. After spending 6 Euros for a skate mag, you spend hours and hours studying it in school. The ads, photos, graphic design, writing, printing... you get the deal by now. Many aspects can be added and it's not as easy as it sounds, but you get the point.

"Just tell a skateboarder to do the job because he knows what would work."

There’s no way you can't end up being an aesthetic person when you're skating. Without skateboarding I wouldn't have picked up a camera and my eye for good-looking things would have been blind. You can also see this from another point of view: to this day, I try to get to know my environment the best as I can, because it's in a skater’s nature. Taking long bike rides and walks through the city is important for me. Constantly looking out for new spots to skate and take pictures. Just being curious in what's going on next to you and using it for something that's fun.

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At what point did you realize photography was something more than a fun little hobby?
At some point, I got asked to be a part of a magazine project including having my first exhibition. That shit felt good. From there, it was a constant process; I had some more shows and some pictures published. I think I could put more stuff out, but I hate asking people for anything and I'm a lazy bitch. Considering my current situation, I could make something out of it, but I'm not feeling it. My job gives me the freedom to have both aspects combined without pushing any pressure on photography. We'll see where it goes.

You interned at a shelter for asylum seekers in Antwerp, Belgium for a while. Elaborate on your time there and how you were able to combine your photography with your experiences.
At that time, I was at a low point of my life so I made sure to escape 1000 kilometers away to a place where I've never been and where I can focus on myself. Since it was winter and I didn't know any other people, I made sure to go out shooting pictures every time I could. The public library had always extended hours, so I'd spend hours and hours studying photo books. I came across modern Dutch conceptual photography a good amount of times, felt inspired what people would do at Rietveld and tried it out at the place I worked and out on the field. At that time, I was inspired by everything. Plastic bags, buying beers at night and the situation of the asylum seekers all ended up being series, all with different aesthetics and concepts. That was great. Kinda bummed that I had leave, because that place really got me pushed.

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Currently working as a social worker in Hamburg, you’ve begun a series focusing on the tattoos of the people you work with. Explain your process in how you’ve approached your subjects and what you hope to gain with the project.
It's a shelter for homeless people I work at right now. People have a room that they share with another person and can stay basically forever, preventing them from sleeping on the street. Lot's of people with drug problems and mental issues. So basically, I try to combine my work with photography, considering it as a pedagogic tool. People love to get their picture taken because there is somebody in front of them with this heavy, old camera and a giant tripod. It's rare that anybody in their life made such an effort because they're interesting person. They also get a print afterwards that they can be proud of- a beautiful picture of themselves.

"There's a huge amount of interesting stuff that people have on their skin."

Anyway, there was this guy who grew up in Kazakhstan, but came to Germany with his family as a 18-year-old. He had German heritage and got a passport pretty quick, but everything went wrong with him from that point. He had lot's of trouble: no job, his first experiences with heavy drugs and jail. No social worker would talk to him, because he scared the shit out of everybody. One day he noticed that I was tattoed and soon enough, we started talking about his tattoos that he got in Russian prison and whatnot. This was basically the key to him. I was the first person with a governmental order that loved his tattoos and didn't judge him as a criminal or a dangerous person. So I asked him for a picture and he was cool with it- you can see through his expressions that he's quiet uncomfortable though. These pictures would have been really hard to make if I'd been a photographer from the outside. These people don't trust strangers.

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That’s how it started. Now there are a couple of prints hanging in my office and it's basically a gallery for the people who live there. It's always a good topic to talk about because it's so different. At one point I'll publish a book. Could be in two or in 15 years… who knows. There's a huge amount of interesting stuff that people have on their skin.

What influences you to continue taking photographs?
It's hard to explain that without being cheesy. I consider myself as a person with a creative mind and I'm constantly daydreaming about things. The problem is that I can't make these ideas real. For example, if I'm thinking about skateboarding, it's mostly fantasies about tricks I would love to do. Switch crooked grinding 18-stair rails that I’ve known since I was a kid. There's just no way that I can do it, it's pathetic. Never did a handrail trick in my life and never will. I have lot's of these fantasies about other stuff like art, politics, sports. I’ve only found one medium that comes close to fulfilling those fantasies and that's photography. I'll never be a professional football player, but I can just think about a series or a picture with a certain look and just do it. It's easy for me. I know what to do. The other aspect is: It's a fun thing to do.

"These people don't trust strangers."

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Do you have any projects planned for the future? Yes, but I have to figure things out - some stuff at work, some stuff that happens on the street. Last year, I had this bridge project going on, but I quit after 300-400 bridges. Maybe I'll continue it at some point. We'll see.

 

To see more of Matthias' work, please visit:

http://www.matthiaswinkel.com/

http://thembridges.tumblr.com/

http://apictureofbrandon.tumblr.com/