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Two Men Looking, Tokyo 2011

Max Farago: Disconnect

Finding visual connections between unrelated subjects, the New York photographer presents his first solo exhibition in Buenos Aires this December

This winter, the New York-based photographer Max Farago is holding his first solo exhibition at the Centro Cultural Recolecta in Buenos Aires. Oscillating between the fashion and art worlds, Farago is mostly known for his contributions to fashion magazines such as Vogue Paris and Dazed & Confused, as well as his many fashion campaigns, ranging from Carven to Opening Ceremony. The show, ‘Disconnect’, features over fifty works of elegant and minimalist photography from his personal work.

Looking for visual coincidences and patterns, Farago is interested in finding connections between subjects which are not originally related. Through a process of assemblage, these images create a sense of coherence, tension and complicity, and reveal new meanings. We spoke with the photographer a few days after the opening of his exhibition.

Dazed Digital: Where are you from?

Max Farago: I was born in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. I grew up in New York City, Key West and Miami, Florida.

DD: When did your interest in photography first come about?
Max Farago: My first real interest in photography was sparked by a professor at NYU named Philip Perkis.  He is a very good photographer and teacher. He came at photography from an emotional as opposed to technical place.

DD: When did you start this project and why did you chose Buenos Aires for the show?
Max Farago: I have spent a lot of time in Buenos Aires. It is the hometown of my girlfriend, Clara. It is a beautiful city full of contrasting styles, cultures, architecture, and landscapes.  It feels right for my pictures.

DD: Why did you chose the name ‘Disconnect’ for your new show?

Max Farago: I am interested in the relationships between images. The way that images with no obvious similarity can gain meaning by existing in the same space. 'Disconnect' is both literal in that the images are not related and also emotional in terms of the response that I am looking for viewers to experience.

DD: What do you look for in your potential image?

Max Farago: I try to be instinctual when I am taking pictures. I try to press the shutter when I have a sense that what is in front of me is interesting. Sometimes I think "I should be closer" or "maybe I should take the picture from a different angle", and instead of listening to that dialog I just shoot. I think that instinct is very important as a photographer, even when taking a still life.

DD: Where have the pictures been taken and what are some of the places that have inspired you the most?
Max Farago: They have been taken in many different places in the world. Thus far, I have not worked in a way that is dictated by location, theme, or subject. I think of the images as raw material with which I can work.

DD: Which photographers have influenced your work?
Max Farago: So many. I am a fan of a lot of photographers. Eugene Atget, Moholy-Nagy, Umbo, Kertesz, Irving Penn, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, Wolfgang Tillmans, Man Ray, Guy Bourdin, Daido Moriyama, Gerard Fieret, Philip Perkis... This could be a much longer list.

DD: Are most of the photos in the show from your commissioned work or personal work? How would you distinguish the two?
Max Farago: Most of the pictures in the show are personal but many were taken in places where I was working on an assignment. I feel very lucky to be able to travel so much for work. Sometimes the difference between commissioned and personal work is more clear than others. My best commercial work happens when it feels most personal.

DD: Do you have any other exciting projects coming up?

Max Farago: I am hoping to publish a book this year. There are a lot of images that I would like to exist outside of my studio/computer. Sometimes being a photographer feels like owning a flee market.

Text by Lauren Houssin

'Disconnect' is at Centro Cultural Recolecta in Buenos Aires, until 22 January, 2012