Interview Excerpt: “Deserted”

I recently did an interview for a photography blog called PhotoWhoa and they asked me about a variety of my work as it is on my site. This is an excerpt from the interview focusing on the non-model photography.

Q: For your “Deserted” series you found what seems like abandoned town to photograph. What was your process for exploring/scouting the town for spots to document? Did any pattern keep catching your eye?

A: I live in Arizona and spend a lot of time in New Mexico, and there’s a long tradition of large format photography of an idealized Southwest. What I actually see is a lot of tourism traps, military history, Native American history, WPA stuff, and there’s a lot of weirdness where those things intersect. Some of it is very beautiful and inspiring, some of it is very negative or creepy, and some of it is plain goofy, so Deserted is my casting off of the Ansel Adams interpretation. It’s very straight 4×5 view camera kind of imagery, except the only human representations are in caricatures of cowboys and Indians and paintings of Jesus and mannequins hanging from gallows or a stuff Yosemite Sam.

Q: Most of the photographs in “Deserted” rely on thoughtful composition to reveal the story behind the image. What advice would you give to other photographers that know they have a special object/location but can’t find a way of conveying it through the frame?

A: For the Deserted material I’m usually stuck on a tripod with a big 4×5 camera and maybe only 12 shots of film on me, so the whole nature of that process forces you to compose in a deliberate manner. What you see is maybe the only shot I took of that object or location with the view camera, but rest assured I have my DSLR and my phone and maybe a polaroid or plastic lomography camera with me. If you aren’t sure of how to shoot something, try multiple ways- do a pano with your digital, get intimate details with your phone. I remember visiting the Eiffel Tower and shooting the same stuff on 3 cameras because I wasn’t sure what I really wanted when I visited.


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I'm a multimedia artist in Phoenix, AZ. Main Site - Instagram @primordialcreative + twitter @dbmillerphoto

One thought on “Interview Excerpt: “Deserted””

  1. That is what I like to do –shoot different angles and with different cameras. I find my best shots are the first ones
    though—weird lol

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