Last week, we gave you a sneak peek into the work of Aaron Fever. The Los Angeles based photographer has been making rounds in the industry, catering to the needs of magazines and fashion houses.
If you read the said post and saw the photographs that came with it, you might have noticed how evocative they are; the images are delicate yet incisive, somewhat nostalgic but quietly shocking.
I was luckily able to interview the talented Mr. Feaver, and here is how it went:
Please tell us about yourself and what you do.
I’m a photographer living in Los Angeles. I moved to LA about 7 years ago, from Portland, Oregon, originally to be a graphic/web designer. I did that for a few years and gradually became interested in photography, especially fashion photography. I’ve been a full-time photographer for about two years now.
When and how did you get started with photography?
My dad had an old Canon FTb the whole time I was growing up. He had a few lenses and a flash and the shiny metal hard case and I loved everything about it, even though I never took pictures. When I was going to college a friend got me a job at the camera repair shop where he worked, and that’s where I first got interested in photography.
I loved playing with all the different types of cameras…this was before digital had caught on for anything serious, so it was a lot of medium format and 35mm and Polaroids.
Do you shoot only in film or do you also shoot digital? When do you use film, when do you shoot digital, and why?
I shoot film and digital. I use film for most of my personal projects, and for editorials and commercial jobs whenever I can. I wish I could use film for everything, but digital is better for some things. It’s much better in low light, more flexible when the lighting varies (it’s easier to change an ISO value than to reload your camera, that is), and on a technical level much more detailed most of the time.
I use film when I want something more unpredictable, more free, and a little messier. But it’s not so simple as film vs. digital. It’s easy to make film look pristine and sharp…professional-quality film in a professional camera will give you results that look almost digital. At the same time, it’s easy to produce a film-like look with a digital camera, either as the image is being recorded or afterwards. It’s just a matter of how you want to use the tools.
Why did you decide to venture into fashion photography? Are there other subjects that you also like to shoot?
I love a lot of different kinds of photography. Travel photography and food photography are two of my favorites. But I also appreciate a really nice photo of a car. I like it all, really. I used to do more travel photography, but fashion speaks to me in a way that travel photography and food photography don’t. Much like using film, fashion photography is more experimental and even accidental, and at least for me, more rewarding.
What cameras Analogue and digital) and film do you use?
Oh god, too many. Digital is simple…I use a Canon 5D Mk II with 28mm, 50mm and 85mm prime lenses. Film is more complicated…for medium format I use a Pentax 67. I have one body set up for 120 film and one with a Polaroid back. I use a 105mm f/2.4 lens on both of those.
For 35mm I mostly use a Canon A2e (because it uses all the same lenses as my digital), and a Nikon FM2. But I have a box full of point-and-shoot cameras that I use all the time, too. My current favorites are a Fuji DL Super Mini Zoom, an Olympus XA and a Yashica T2.
For instant film I use a Fuji Instax 500AF, a Polaroid 195 and a Polaroid SLR680.
How would you personally describe your photographic style? Do you follow a set of rules when you shoot?
It’s hard for me to describe my style, because I try to do a lot of different things. I guess I would say that I’m happiest with my work when it’s very moody or evocative, or even intense.
I don’t follow a set of rules…every shoot is different. There are things that I know I can do over and over and get the same results…filters I can shoot through or techniques I’ve used a hundred times before. If a client wants to pay me to do something that I can do well, I’m happy to take their money, but in my personal work and for editorials I like to try something new and experiment with things I’m bad at.
What inspires you to shoot?
I like the act of taking photos. I like not knowing if I’m getting anything that will work, or that I’ll like. I like seeing a shoot after the fact, as a whittled-down series of images that’s hopefully compelling. And honestly I like feeling like I’m not there yet, that I’m not taking the kind of photos that I really love, and that I have a lot of work to do to get there.
Tell us about a body of work, projects, clients that you’re particularly proud of.
These are images from a shoot I did with my girlfriend. It was fun for me because I just used one camera, an old Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim that I’ve had for years, and one kind of film. The camera doesn’t have any settings or adjustments…it’s just fixed focus, fixed exposure…there’s only a shutter button and a rewind knob. When I don’t have to think about any of that stuff I can focus on the rest of the image, and it’s much more natural for me.
Any cool projects you’re currently working on or exhibits? Any links to promote these? Where can fans admire more of your work?
Right now I’m about to leave on a trip to Europe for a month, which I’m very excited about. I have a shoot in Provence for a few days and then it’s just travel. For me that’s the dream…being paid to take photos and being able to have a little leisure time to see the world.
I don’t have any exhibits, and I’ve never really exhibited. I don’t think my style of fashion photography is really art-level. But I do have a blog where I post a lot of outtakes and behind-the-scenes stuff: http://blog.feaverish.com.
Do you have a dream project? Could you tell us about it?
I don’t, really. Pretty much all my personal projects are dream projects, and then I move on to the next one. If there’s something I really want to photography I try to figure out how to make it happen.
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Just the usual…take as many pictures as possible, go outside your comfort zone, find a style you love and figure out how to do it.
Any last words?
What are you waiting for? Grab that camera, go out, and shoot!