“Do you concentrate on a particular outlet for your work, or do you follow the money? If you could produce more of a type of work (art/portrait vs. commercial, or studio vs. on-site work) what would you like to be doing?”
I had a great opportunity with my nightlife work to do the smart thing and follow the money, and I stopped doing nightlife when it stopped being challenging. My heroes were 83 and 92 when they died, and I see no reason not to do this until the end — it better not feel like a job, then.
On the other hand, fuck the Myth of the Starving Artist. Make money, make lots of money for god’s sake, but don’t allow your calling to turn into a job. Make yourself uncomfortable, have someone you love challenge you as much as possible. Last week, as part of an interesting series of conversations at the Rubin Museum, Stefan Sagmeister referred to what he does as his calling, and the word struck me as if I heard it for the first time: a calling as something you answer and follow wherever it may lead.
So at this moment, fashion photography presents a huge challenge for me, in terms of content. (As well as logistics involved in making it.) I’ve no idea what I’m doing 90% of the time, and that’s part of what makes it so interesting. Incidentally, not knowing what the hell you’re doing is no problem at all, and shouldn’t stop you from doing great work. Just ask Sarah Moon.
Studio vs. location: locations inspire me — I’m a little tired of blank studio walls staring blankly back at me. (Funnily enough, there’s a book of very minimalistic studio portraiture I’ve done for these guys coming out on Random House soon, and a series of white background portraiture at Home of the Vain.)
Art vs. commercial is not an either/or proposition — it’s a matter of balance. Ideally, they can feed off each other, and sometimes, the distinction is irrelevant: Guy Bourdin’s work for Charles Jourdan is a great example.
Ask me anything.