In the inaugural issue of Faux-tography, Maxim Kelly confesses that after graduating from the MA in Photography at LCC last year, “the weight of expectation had begun to take the enjoyment out of taking pictures for pictures’ sake; I had forgotten why I wanted to be a photographer in the first place.” This renewed appreciation for creative freedom, impulsivity, and taking “pictures for pictures’ sake” is at the heart of his new collaboration with graphic designer friend Aaron FitzGerald.
Faux-tography provides a platform for up-and-coming artists who share this vision; it’s a smorgasbord of photographic styles and concepts, from hyperrealist shots to ‘found photography’, shot on anything from a 35mm compact camera to the latest in digital equipment. Published each month as a digital art book on their website, and on a selected print run in pleasingly slim paperback volumes, Hana Knizova, Lillian Wilkie, and Jan Von Holleben are among those who have graced its pages so far. Now working towards their sixth issue, Dazed caught up with Maxim, whose day it is to assist Juergen Teller, to talk about the inspiration behind the project, and what’s in store for the future...
Dazed Digital: What do you hope to achieve with Faux-tography?
Maxim Kelly: The idea is to make a new photography-based art book every month by a different artist and distribute it digitally, for free. We thought it would be really exciting to be a home for random little projects which wouldn't fit into other publications. We also thought it would be a good way to meet like-minded people who would be interested in exhibiting together or working on other projects.
DD: You mention the idea of taking “pictures for pictures’ sake” in your first issue of Faux-tography. How important do you think it is to maintain a sense of spontaneity in photography, not to obsess too much over the final product?
Maxim Kelly: If you think too much, you never get anything done, this applies to most things. But also as a photographer you should be really prolific because it only takes a split second to take a photograph. The final product is obviously very important, but there's also something to be said for getting things done quickly and going by your gut instincts. Because your instincts are never really wrong.
DD: A couple of your featured photographers work with 35mm compact cameras and lomography; what do you find interesting in this lo-fi side to photography?
Maxim Kelly: I think it's funny now, with digital photography, lighting and retouching that this approach is considered lo-fi. To me it's just photography. I think the interesting point of stripping back to the basics is that subject matter becomes more important. And suddenly everything can be a subject. Particularly if the camera fits in your pocket and you can take it everywhere with you.
DD: The back of every issue says “This Is Not A Showcase” - can you explain that a little?
Maxim Kelly: We want people to make new work rather than seeing their “best” work from their portfolio. We want to inspire people to just go out and take some pictures, which hopefully leads to interesting new ideas and directions. It's also quite good practice to just go out and shoot something in a few days, put it together and get it out there. A showcase shows how good someone is. We are more interested in seeing something we have never seen before, or projects which make you look at things in a different way.
DD: What’s in the pipeline for Faux-tography?
Maxim Kelly: We have two more issues coming soon. One by Leon Chew shot in a safe house in Afghanistan, and the other by Rory van Millingen shot in a swimming pool in Leeds. Next year we hope to put together a printed book featuring images from the year and we may have a little exhibition/party.