Please welcome our week 20 featured artist, .charlie. (Charlie Homo), as curated by calanan.
1) I see from your Flickr profile that you are a Parisian living in San Francisco. How has your photography changed since you moved to the US?
I moved to the US after a 4 year stint in London but I never took photography seriously until I moved to the US and bought my first Nikon FM in the mid-90s. The first camera I owned back in France was an Olympus XA (the clam…). From the start, I have always been drawn to people and this hasn't changed much. I would say that I do more 'music' related photography now that I ever did in France.
2) On your web site you mention your mother and her camera as the source of inspiration for your photography. Tell us more about her, her camera and how both shaped your photography.
My mother was a great 'family' photographer, not artsy so much as real. I don't think she ever owned a big zoom or long portrait lens. Her shots always seem to incorporate subjects and environment. When I bought my first Nikon, I used a 35mm 2.0 and this was my only lens for many years.
She took this shot: flickr.com/photos/victorhugo/584109179
3) What is your favorite camera and lens combination for portrait work and why?
I use a Canon 5D and prime lenses, either a 35mm or a 50mm. I like the full frame I get from the 5D and the very shallow depth of field I can get from the fixed lenses. I recently got an 85mm and a 24-70 zoom which I rarely use but come in very handy at times.
4) How do you get the emotion you want from your subjects?
For me, it's about catching the moments 'in between'. These are the moments after the subject comes out of a posed, sterile situation and becomes themselves for a split second before 'posing' again. It can also be triggered by something I say or do (I sometimes intuitively use the fact that I'm French as an excuse to say something weird and trigger a response…). It's also about knowing when the subject is being real and that doesn't last long.
5) What are your long term goals for your photography?
I have so much to learn technically, about my equipment, lighting, the business side of things, etc… I'd love to go to art/photography school. Photography as a fulltime, rewarding job would be the ultimate.
6) Of the portraits selected for Spotlight Seven, which is your favorite and why?
This is hard…
I really like this one because it's more of a 'setup' shot with artificial light, which I didn't know how to use until a few months ago. It's also a good example of a moment 'in between' where the subject had his eyes closed for the first 2 shots and when I asked him to really open his eyes, he made this face for a split second.
7) What is you favorite portrait that wasn't chosen for Spotlight Seven?
This is from my film days, taken with my Nikon FM & a 35mm.
8) Share with us a photographer or two on Flickr who has influenced your work.
9) You have a series of photographs of kids participating in the School of Rock (Flickr set). How did you become involved with that and what was it like photographing so many talented kids?
I got married 3 years ago and my stepson joined the Paul Green School of Rock around that time. This is an afterschool program for kids that started in the late 90s in Philadelphia (www.schoolofrock.com). It is also what the MTV movie 'School of Rock' was based on. This experience has been amazing as it has allowed me to be involved with music through photography. Kids also tend to have more 'unrehearsed' moments, and that makes for great photographs.
10) Finally, show us a photograph on Flickr that you wish you took.