For our interview with Adrian Crispin, a Mexico-born, NYC-raised, Paris-based photographer, we asked him to select a series of his photographs for us to showcase. Struggling to select a 'greatest hits' collection of his work across the years, his response was to tell us a story, alongside our chat about his personal work and his inspirations...
"After experiencing certain difficulties selecting a compilation of images, I remembered a story from a while back: Years ago I had a summer job working in quite a famous NYC photo lab. Some of the most important photographers at the time would all bring their film to be processed there (anyone from the Fine Art world to some of the great "commercial/fashion" photographers of the period when film was a prominent factor in the image making process).
Anyway, the story which relates to these images, is the time when Philip Lorca diCorcia brought some 35mm rolls to be developed. Having access to the production department I asked them if it would be possible to look at the contact sheets before they would send them out. To my surprise they agreed to it.
It was an important lesson for me, to see the work of this larger than life Art photographer in a simplified, direct, and personal way. I thought, wow, these are very personal images, his snapshots - at times - over/under-exposed, yet they are great! The images in those contact sheets and their sequence were as interesting as the work I knew of him from museum shows, gallery exhibitions, and book publishings.
I guess the lesson was that it is all part of the same creative flow. Whether you are on set of an important production or photographing a very specific commission or simply snapping away during your summer break. It all comes from the same place. It is a way of teaching yourself to see.
In regards to this, I have decided to present these pictures from my very recent trip to Italy with my girlfriend, the amazing stylist Ann-Kathrin Obermeyer, and her family to Liguria and its Mediterranean coast; as well as a visit to the Berlin Zoo which took place last weekend, and some "snaps" of friends here in Berlin having drinks and discussing the woes and perils of our generation. I think the pictures all fit quite nicely and there is a strange narrative to them all, a certain concern with distance as best seen in the lion shots and the cross shots high up on a hill overlooking the ocean."
Dazed Digital: What are the correlating themes between your personal images?
Adrian Crispin: Daily Obsessions. I often work on a personal project which to a great extent parallels my current living situation at any given time. My work is very much autobiographical and it follows the day to day obsessions whatever those may be.
DD: What is it about fashion that appeals to you most as a photographic subject?
Adrian Crispin: Fashion can be a very creative platform if you work with the right peers. The people you surround yourself with must share your vision or at the very least trust you. A painter turned film director once described his approached to movie making as "in the beginning of the day we all jump into a hole and if we want to be successful we must climb out of the hole together..." Fashion to me is about telling a story in combination with other people so creating the narrative is what appeals to me.
DD: Who has been the most inspirational person you have shot?
Adrian Crispin: My grandfather was an extraordinary person who greatly influenced my life from an early age. He was a big fan of B&W Mexican films of the 50s where the cinematography of Figueroa can be seen, he was a voracious reader who would at times quote Martin Luther. When he was young he worked in an engineering firm and would tell me stories of being in a remote excavating site where a bridge was being built and digging old pre-Colombian artifacts which he would bring home. I always found even at an early age such contrasting elements fascinating, it developed my curiosity. I was lucky enough to take a few snaps of him when I was just beginning to dabble with photography. So in this sense, I would say him.
DD: What are you working on now and what's next?
Adrian Crispin: I am currently editing a portfolio which I have temporarily entitled 'Parallel Lines' (right now I am obsessed with Blondie) comprising mostly of black and white portraits shot in a vertical format. For a long time I avoided photographing people. Simply, I was not interested, but recently it is the opposite so I can't wait to see what the end result will be.