Artist Interview – Todd Fisher
I wrote briefly about Todd Fisher on this blog a couple of weeks ago, and then thought – “hey, I should interview this guy”. I got in touch with Todd, and he was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions from myself and others.
1. What is your photographic history? how did you end up becoming a photographer?
In Jr. high I went over a friends house and saw these sort of abstract photos on the the wall. That was the first time I remember seeing photography displayed as art and I knew, then, that I wanted to do photography someday. It took me a long time to get around to it though. There was a little dabbling in it throughout the years, but didn’t really shoot much until just before I moved to NY in 1998.
2. (from Daniel Cuthbert) – Todd, every shot has a snapshot quality to it, a bit voyeur like in a sense. Was this a conscious decision or something unexpected at first, but then used to your advantage?
It comes from the way I shoot and the equipment I use. I’ve always preferred small point and shoot cameras for their ease of use, portability and their stealthiness. I usually shoot really fast. The emphasis is on grabbing the moment more so than trying to make a perfectly composed picture.
3. (from Ben Anderson) Friends or Strangers? which do you prefer to shoot? How much of your photography is a product of time spent pounding the streets compared to hanging out with friends?
I love it when my friends are in my work. Those photographs always have extra meaning for me. The process is really the same though. I pretty much just go about my day and when I see something that I want, I snap it. I don’t really go out into the streets with my camera in my hand looking for shots. I grab my camera when when I see something while on the way to the store, for example, then I might keep it in my hand for a few blocks after and snap a couple more maybe.
4. (from Jamie Stoker) I’d love to know a little bit about what you do now. You obviously have great skill in noticing peripheral objects and occurences that others would miss; with this in mind, how do you approach a party or event? do you arrive with the aim or purpose of taking photographs specifically, or is it very much a more organic approach of just keeping an eye out and having a camera in your pocket?
I usually camera in my pocket and it usually stays there until I’m inspired by something. I only go to events for the events. I never go for photo ops. Probably about 75% of the time I’ll ,at least, take a couple of shots. My intention is not to document an event . I’m not interested in reportage or making a diary. I don’t usually go places with the sole intent to take pictures unless I’m doing a portrait on working on a series.
5. (from Samuel Bedford) Why do you choose to keep your photographs and series untitled and without text?
I’ve always liked being able to just look at a picture and get everything from that experience alone, without having to know the context or read the captions or artist statements. I’m not opposed to titles for my bodies of work. I’m just very indecisive with that sort of thing and if I had to wait until I came up with the perfect title, I would never get the work up. A title can be a very tricky thing. The wrong title could can lead to misinterpretations or put limits on how the work is perceived. I don’t mind, at all, not titling each photo, though. I’m really not sure if there is any real reason to put words together with photographs other then titling, series, exhibitions and books.
6. (from Daniel Cuthbert) The body of work “Series 2” is really impressive. any chance of enlightening us as to what they are all looking at?
Thanks. I like there to be a certain amount of mystery in my work. I like it when a picture asks questions. I find that, often, when those questions are answered, then something is changed. It no longer has the same effect. I’ve always been uncomfortable when people start asking the particulars of a shot. I understand the curiosity, but I like it better sometimes when they draw their own conclusions. That series, in particular, is so much about the mystery. I had always intended it to be an unknown. It also reminds me of the old gag where someone on the street stops and looks up in the sky as if there’s something going on and then everybody else, who sees this, can’t help but stop and stare up at nothing. That sort of chain reaction was definitely part of it.
7. what’s your dream assignment?
I dream of having assignments! Not being represented and not having much of a hustler personality, assignments are scarce. At the moment it’s just odd jobs and selling prints. Fortunately I’ve always been able to sell work. I do have some dream projects in mind. One of which is a little more of a production then I’m used to and I might have to wait until I’m able get a little support for it.
8. finally – some space for a bit of self promo – what have you got going on in the next 12 months? (exhibitions, publications, events etc…)
I plan to put a little self published book together. That’s something I’ve wanting to do for a while. Ive always done zines and handmades.
I will have a few huge prints in an Exhibition at LU in Nantes, France – 6feb to 1st of March 2009.