You Can Shoot. Can You Talk? by Arek Rataj.
Blake Andrews is a photographer based in Eugene, Oregon. He has been shooting for over 20 years and has used the street approach although he doesn’t like to call himself a street photographer. He says, “photography for me is a daily bodily function.”
Q. What is your first childhood memory?
A. That time is pretty fuzzy with many half-remembered mental images contaminated by photos seen later. The first clear memories I have are from a house where my family lived in Eureka in maybe 1973-ish. I remember a playground nearby with log structures, a tree in the yard, and once when it snowed.
Q. Are you still learning who you are?
A. Yes, but I’m making progress. I feel I know myself fairly well but there is still plenty to learn. So maybe I’m currently a grad student in myself, PhD still a ways off.
Q. Who are you when no one is looking at you?
A. Same person but with more food stains on my chest.
Q. What got you involved in photography in the first place?
A. I took an intro b/w night course in my early twenties. It taught me the basics of shooting, film development, and darkroom work. I had a great teacher (who I still keep in touch with). From that point I’ve been mostly self taught.
Q. Ansel Adams once said: You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved. Could you tell us about your favorite photographs, books, music and people who are closest to you?
A. Favorite photographs: The ones which balance beauty and imperfection. Impossible to pick a favorite. Favorite books: I generally read nonfiction, mostly memoirs and historical narrative. I used to read novels until about age 30, but they don’t appeal any more. Probably my favorite recent book was The Stranger In The Woods by Michael Finkel. Favorite music: I ingest a constant stream of music of all varieties and eras, some of which I share on my weekly radio show. I like just about anything which feels authentic. People closest, in order of emotional proximity: My immediate family, old friends from way back, my local photo community, Eugene friends (mostly other parents), various online contacts.
Q. There’s a thin line between invading people’s privacy and taking their photographs. Why do ethics matter?
A. Taking a photo of another person is by nature invasive. That’s the the nature of the medium. But it can be done ethically and with humanity.
Enjoyed this. Read the full interview in the latest issue of APF Magazine. Download HERE from the iOS store today.
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