You started off at a very young age. What impact did this have on you?
Quite an impact. I grew up photographing my friends and my surroundings as I came of age, experiencing new environments, and discovering who I am as an individual and what I can accomplish with my life. I think it’s important that this process was documented. I have photographed my life since fifteen years old, so my archives are massive. I have developed a healthy and positive attitude throughout my twenties, and as I’ve matured my cameras been by my side documenting my development and the individuals around me. As years go on, I become more confident in myself and gain wisdom, which greatly reflects in my work. I am documenting a special (though tumultuous) time in the world. I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else. This is what I’m here to do, so I’m gonna keep on doing it.
What was it that got you soo interested in photography in the first place?
Photography is a very incredible tool of expression. It’s a momentary freeze of time and space. I love its ability to capture multiple feelings. My grandmother was a photographer, and I used to daze at her photographs of my family and her travels for hours as a kid, trying to truly “feel” the moments she captured. Her photographs inspired me to pick up a camera and capture my life, day by day. I love how a photograph can mean something different to everyone; they are so full of meanings and emotions. These days, my mandatory goal in my photographs is to share my positive and soulful experiences, with others and invite them to experience the joy of positive energy.
How has your style developed over the years?
Well, I began by shooting my friends and I, coming of age, exploring our small-town rural terrain in Thunder Bay. Then many of us moved to Toronto around the age of 18, and that transition dramatically changed my photography for a while. My photographs then changed to a city-pace, and documented the youthful party scene at that time and went down an interesting, boozey candid road for a while. During this time, I also got into shooting fashion/portrait photography with Petra Collins. We were shooting ‘creative’ editorials, of young women, with stylists and all that, and that got me more interested in the portraiture aspect of photography. We were very young then and still figuring out our own directions. Since then, I have experimented with many different types of photography… But I don’t think that fashion is ultimately my thing, it can often lack intimacy. I am fascinated with the exchange of energies between the photographer and the subject. There’s something magical about it. I’m more so focused on realistic and naturally occurring subject matter. As I mature, I have been exploring my own vision of the world, depicting the beauty I see everyday, by making a diary of my life through photographs. I regularly document my best friends and family, nature, everyday life, and the musicians I love and admire. I am never really going to stick to just one realm of photography, I love shooting too much. Photography is my way of remembering all the special little moments in my life.
Tell me about the supernatural. You are interested in it. Which aspects exactly?
I am very interested in the physical and metaphysical beauty of life. Particularly the unbelievable and intricate details of nature and the earth’s many species. From a pile of sand to a lone leaf in a park… I am amazed at the natural elements of our world, and get a bizarre supernatural feeling from seeing them. Like an acid trip except not hallucinated, a real sighting. I grew up in the countryside and raised under Lutheran religion, so I was encouraged to pay notice to mother nature and give thanks everyday for the beautiful world around me. Aside from my beliefs, this is still something that I am hyper-aware of and am thankful for. The moon, water, and sunlight are a few things which I am very thankful for and inspire me everyday. For me, they exude a spiritual energy. One way for me to explore these thoughts I have is through my photography. I feel an unexplainable, supernatural joy from witnessing these earthly miracles, and so I photograph them to spread that joy.
Your photographs look very real. But why are you so against post-production?
Why thank you! I would say post-production is just not for me. I understand why it exists in our contemporary world but I prefer to use my camera as a tool and not my computer or whatever software. Film photography relies on a chemical reaction, between time and light and you can utilize that and the simple technical elements of a camera (aperture, shutter speed, specialized filters) to create a nice image. Personally, I think post-production is kind of like fucking with a perfectly good thing. I don’t enjoy the look of it. I am old fashioned at heart. As much as I have a computer and an iPhone, I am a bit turnt off of new technologies, and the necessity for perfection and clarity in today’s imagery. All of the effects I use are in-camera. I think it is more intimate that way, and translates more honestly with audiences.
What are you working on at the moment?
A load of fun stuff… I am continuously filming candid and live material for my in-the-making music documentary following a handful of musicians I am surrounded by, all shot on HI-8 VHS.
Also, Timeshow Press is releasing an exclusive photo-book of my nature photographs, called Trigonal. For its release, we’re having a book launch and photo show featuring my work in Toronto and France. Also, this coming month, I am shooting and directing music videos for some wonderful bands I really dig, The Native Smokes, Unfinished Business, Dirty Frigs, and Homeshake. I love to keep really busy, and have lots of projects on the go. Gonna dabble with Medium Format and my newly acquired Polaroid Land Camera, which will be new for me.. Really looking forward to a sweet and psychedelic summer!
Interview by Amanda M. Jansson