Glovebox Film Festival

Friday, July 8, 2011

Interview with Photographer Paris Visone

Photos: Paris Visone

“It would be easy to say my life is a constant photo session. I see the camera as...more of a limb than a prop.” - Paris Visone
Paris Visone is a photographer based out of Boston, Massachusetts. Visone told us once that Glovebox needs to do more photo shows. Actually that was what she said in an email when she said she would do an interview with Glovebox for this blog. She recently did a shoot with Blondie and won a Getty Images Editorial Grant in 2010, among her other cool projects and professions. She has a solo show coming up at Suffolk Gallery July 22nd with an artist talk. More info on that here.

Paris is a straight shooter (no pun intended). At least that was my first impression of her about 3 years ago when she participated in the Glovebox photo show, Focus. She’s a cool chick and she knows it. I spoke to her about her spunk and her skill recently.

GLVBX: Tell me about your personality and how you would classify the type of person you are to work with.

PV: I am definitely a "let it flow" type of personality. And maybe a little loud at times. I do things seriously, but I don't take myself too seriously. Working with me, hanging out with me, there's really no distinction between the two.  "Working" just means we're actually getting something done.

What would a shoot with Paris Visone be like?

I do a lot of shooting from the hip. So it might seem like I am distracted by a situation and not actually shooting. I get a lot of "Oh, you should take a photo of this" from people who don't see that. While they're thinking I'm not doing my job, I wait for photos to happen. The over-presence of a camera can completely alter a situation. I try to stay as "real" as I can.

Tell us how your personality affects your work? Do you think it effects the quality of the shot?

Personality has a lot to do with the photos that you get. You can be standing right next to someone with the same camera and get totally different photos. I shoot with a 24mm lens. This forces me get close to my subjects, which works since I would say that I'm an in-your-face kind of person. Standing across a room with a paparazzi lens to get that candid shot is poor form compared to a subtle wide-angle shot in the midst of the moment. I like to be all up in the situation, rather than stalk it. The more connected you are to your subject, the more confident you become, and that will show in your photos.

I want to ask you about your artist statement. I think you have a really interesting artist statement for a documentary photographer - you end with three words: Experience, Remember, Relive.

Experience--How do you experience a photo session? Are you living it with the camera by your side as a “prop” or are you experiencing the situation through your lens?

It would be easy to say my life is a constant photo session. I see the camera as my replaceable baby. So maybe more of a limb than a prop.

This relates back to my earlier question -- what role does Paris play in how the session plays out?

I really try not to interfere in a way that a photographer normally would. I have a sort of old school documentary outlook on photographing. Even when shooting with a bulky large format camera, I usually stick to normal conversation. I just feel like you have to let people be themselves in front of the lens. Sometime I will get the question, "What should I do?" My answer is usually, "Whatever."  If you give people the confidence that what they already are is what you want, they unknowingly give you the goods.

Remember--When you take a photograph, is your intention to freeze a moment in time? It is a nostalgic exercise?

For me, clicking the shutter is more of an impulse thing. Usually while photographing I have no preconceived notions. I see something that I think is "worth photographing", and I shoot. I know immediately if I like it without even looking at it.

Why I like it is a totally different story. I usually have to live with a photo for awhile before I can really wrap my head around why I took it.  And there a lot of photos that I am in love with, and years later I still don't know why. I think those might be my best. Or worst.

I wouldn't say that I am sentimental in the traditional sense. But I would say that I am somewhat nostalgic, although photography is not for me to generate nostalgia. I shoot because life simply compels me to.

Relive--What does this sentiment mean, to relive? Are you reliving the moment through the eyes of the author (you) or is someone reliving a memory? Explain this idea to me--how important is it for you to be able to relive moments.

One of my intentions is to let the viewer make the photo their own. I love when people tell me that they know a version of someone in one of my photos. Or they feel that they have been in the same place or situation. I really like shooting everyday moments, because it is usually the first thing people forget, but ultimately what makes someone who they are.

But personally, relive is simple. It stems from the fact that I have a terrible memory. If I don't photograph something, according to my brain, it might as well not have happened. Reviewing photos is how I live my life, not how I review it. You could say that what reliving is for most people, is simply living for me. Life is photo.

Paris Visone Photography tee seen here modeled by Matt Katz-Bohen, keyboard player for Blondie (left)

Check out the Paris Visone Photography tees - send Paris a photo of you wearing your tee shirt and she'll post it! More information after these Blondie photos!!

Paris Visone Photography
Check  out Paris on Facebook and Twitter

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