Bradley Spitzer is a incredibly talented portrait and fashion photographer with a gifted eye for seeing and capturing beauty currently living in Nashville, TN.
One of my favorite things about him is that he does what he wants the right way. No cutting corners, no fast tracking, no finding a cheaper option. The right camera, the right film, the right setting, and the right moment to capture.
I was lucky enough to accompany him on a shoot recently and get to document him at work. Check out the photographs and interview below…
1. How did you discover/decide that photography is what you wanted to do?
Photography is something that I stumbled across a little over five years ago, well after my high school and college years. I have always enjoyed art but never saw photography as my thing. In 2005, my wife and I bought a digital camera and it immediately intrigued me. I started exploring the Midwest and taking photos of everything that caught my eye. I was mortified of turning my lens onto people in the beginning but I slowly came around to it.
Finding and creating images for me boils down to having an excuse to get out of my routine and explore the world. Whether that is a run down hotel in Indiana or asking a stranger for a portrait, I find joy in experiencing new things (places, food, music, people, etc.). Photography just happens to facilitate that for me.
2. What do you think is different about you as a photographer from other photographers?
I’m really interested in getting to know the subject I am collaborating with and helping them enjoy the process of being photographed. I’m interested in making great photos and having fun with them.
3. What are some of your biggest influences?
As generic as it sounds, the internet has been a huge source of inspiration. I remember back in college the internet was just beginning to be an avenue for information and inspiration. But now everything is at our fingertips - who is shooting what and where and how they’re doing it. So many people are creating fantastic work that it’s hard to keep up.
I wouldn’t say that these folks have directly influenced my work but I am absolutely in love with how they capture the world: Dorothy Hong, Bradford Gregory, Cary Norton, Brigitte Sire, and Tim Barber.
4. What are 3 essential “tools of the trade”?
Some form of caffeine, a subject to photograph and a camera bag outfitted with a couple cameras and way too much film.
5. If there were a fire in your workspace and you could only take what you can carry with you, what do you save?
As many hard drives and negatives that my hands can carry.
6. What is your favorite part of photography?
Meeting new people and capturing them in a single or series of photos.
7. What one piece of advice would you give to someone that wants to do what you do?
Don’t give up. Don’t give up when you’re out of ideas, when you can’t find someone to photograph, when someone says no to your request to photograph them. Don’t give up just because you don’t know your destination or how bumpy the journey is going to be. Don’t give up when your work doesn’t live up to your high standards. Look for progress in your own work every 6 months and you’ll see it. Be open to experimenting with different gear to see how it influences your process and the final work. Get to know other photographers and support/encourage them in the work they are pursuing. And try, try, try to photograph your very own, self assignment at least once a week.
Check out Bradley’s website at www.bradleyspitzer.com and his blog (where he features his most recent work) at www.undertherain.com.
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