We fell in love with Andre Taylor’s street photography as soon as we saw his Instagram feed. The Brooklyn native manages to capture the fascinating characters and events of his city with photos that are bursting with energy and intrigue. Andre spoke to us about the excitement of using film, being honest and keeping his photography natural.
Hi Andre. Where are you from, where are you based and what do you do outside of photography?
What's going on guys, thanks for chatting with me. I'm currently living in Brooklyn, NY, born and raised here. Outside of photography I work as a Manager for a Fortune 500 company in Manhattan.
When did you begin shooting, what made you start and what has driven you to continue?
I started taking photographs in High School. Since then I've picked up a camera here and there, taking a class or two over the years to try and maintain some connection to photo. I have been shooting consistently for the past 5 years or so. About three years ago I made the decision to shoot predominately on film; I guess I wanted to show myself I could make images on film and not use digital as a crutch. Not that shooting digital is easy, but I felt that shooting on film was more permanent and if I made mistakes I would not be able to use post-processing to correct mishaps. I still make mistakes on film, but I find the process more enjoyable. I kind of like knowing that when I see a new roll there’s a chance I’ll find I missed focus or totally blew the exposure and get pissed off.
What do you shoot on?
I shoot with a Contax T2 and a Konica Hexar, they’re my little buddies. I'm in to the quality of the lenses and appreciate their quirks, when they aren’t making me nuts.
Over what span of time were these photos taken? What make them stand out from your other shots?
These images were taken over the past 2 years. I tried to provide images that seemed to work together while showing some range between flash and natural light. I think they do a good job reflecting my taste right now. I’m into photos that give you a ‘moment’ and have a fun feeling to them. Sometimes photographs feel way too serious, they have a look that you expect from a photo. That’s cool and all but sometimes its just way boring.
The characters in your photographs always seem so fascinating, like each photo has a story behind it. Do you usually know the people you shoot or are they total strangers?
Thanks! I try to shoot strangers while they are doing what they do. I’ve been kind of a puss when it comes to asking strangers if I can photograph them, so I would shoot them from behind. Also I started to realise that I don’t tend to love the posed photos I take and prefer to capture people in their own zone. I like to have a question about what I’m shooting in the street and I don’t seem to have a lot of questions for posed folks with an awkward smile. But who knows, maybe when I get the nerve to ask people for their photograph I might start liking it.
What makes you want to photograph certain people and events?
I try to listen to my gut and photograph things and people that I have a reaction to. I enjoy shooting in the street, it's challenging. The light changes all the time, there is always movement and I have to be active to get images. There are days where it seems like everyone I see has something interesting about them and I want to shoot them. Sometimes I’ll just make the picture in my head instead of shooting and that’s pretty fun too. There are also days where everything sucks.
How do you think your work is affected by sharing it online?
Online is a funny place. I try not to take it too seriously, though I know these days it can be a great tool for exposure and marketing. Since I’ve been taking photography as a craft more seriously, I’ve been trying to keep the stream I have related to photo and only put out images out that I find to be interesting or half way good. I don’t know how much my work is affected by online when I’m shooting, though I will take into consideration what I choose to share based on the web's likings or an image’s context to happenings in the world. The web got me the opportunity to talk to you guys, so that’s cool.
What would you consider to be the perfect shot?
Hmmm, that’s hard because there are a lot of images that are really awesome. For me a perfect shot would be something that provides insight to an artist’s perspective while piquing the interest of the viewer. I find the concept of an artist giving you honesty in their work interesting. Something can be honest and interesting and have more weight than a technically solid work.
Is there anyone you’d like to shout out?
Big shouts to A Dot Sos and the contemporary artists making it rain fire…...