Pin It

True Romance

New York photographers Pete Voelker & Chad Moore present loving looks into their lives

New Yorkers and Ryan McGinley protégés Pete Voelker and Chad Moore are taking their photos on the road to Europe. Personal photographic glimpses into their lives as self-proclaimed “Swifties” will be on display in Amsterdam’s bedrock, the red light district. The main artery that runs through their languid imagery is one of pure Americana, featuring subjects whose names vary from 'Coley' to 'Kirby'. The intimate photos, casually revealing a tit or two are the bread and butter of Chad Moore, whereas Voelker’s signature lies in coy portraits and detail-heavy landscapes. In the weeks ahead, their curated oeuvres will sit side-by-side at Oz.Amsterdam in an exhibition they’ve titled “Hurry Up & Wait”.

Dazed Digital: How personal are these photos?
Chad Moore:
Really personal. I’m really only interested in photographing someone who I have a connection with. I think I can speak for Pete as well by saying that most of the subjects in our photos are close friends or family. I think you can easily tell when someone making a photograph doesn't really know the subject; there's something missing in the eyes.

DD: What’s the meaning behind the title, “Hurry Up & Wait”?
It relates to the way I think of my life in New York City. For every ball that gets rolling there’s another stop where you’ll have to pay your dues. But with all of the demand comes reward.

CM: To me, it has to with the pace of New York City. It's the best city in the world, and there are so many awesome opportunities, but you have to be constantly working your ass off – a lot of times those opportunities take a long time to come to fruition.

DD: How does it feel for people to have a glimpse into a moment that you were actually present for?
It takes a certain type of person to give up everything to pursue any artistic endeavour, and most people aren't really wired with the mentality to actually do that, but I think the people that aren't would like a glimpse into our world. Pete and I definitely live a very different lifestyle than the ‘average’ person and I think it's cool for people to be able to peek into that. New York is such a fantasy world and I think people really like to see what's going on here. The photographs are really personal, but I feel like even if you don't know the subject, you can still take a lot away from it.

DD: Chad, you mention your photos are inherently romantic. Is it more nostalgia or was it truly romantic in the moment?
I do feel that my photos totally have to do with nostalgia; maybe you could call it imagined nostalgia or something. I often find myself becoming really infatuated with certain people and taking their picture incessantly. I guess I kind of make up what I would ideally like to happen with my relationships with people and I create a fantasy world by incorporating photography into that relationship.

DD: What’s with all the naked images of your friends? How do they feel about their junk being on display?
CM: They're okay with it. I don't think I've ever actually asked anyone to get naked. It just happens from time to time. I don't see the nudity in my photos as sexual or perverted at all. Even photos of people having sex – I feel like it’s the furthest thing from it. It's more innocent. 

DD: Do you feel, having moved to NY from other states, that you still have an outsider’s perspective on the city?
In a way, but then again, everyone's perspective on NYC is kind of from the outside. I think it's rare to meet someone who's born and raised in the city.

PV: I’ve always enjoyed traveling to create my photographs, and I think the outsider perspective was a major part of that process. But in New York I’m photographing my everyday life, sometimes the same things repeatedly. I think there is more of an insider’s perspective for me now: this lifestyle and the subjects I see here daily.

“Hurry Up & Wait” debuts April 26 at Oz.Amsterdam and runs until May 10. Oudezijds Achterburgwal 66, Amsterdam, Netherlands