Photographer: Aviva Klein
Location: New York City
Style: I would describe my work as connected. I am very in tune with my surroundings and my subjects, always connected to what the light is doing and how my subject looks and behaves under it. The type of work I shoot for assignments and personal work is the same. I’m a portrait photographer who works in the studio as well as on location. My favorite thing to do is to follow someone around and be invisible. I love the authentic moments.
“I would describe my work as connected. I am very in tune with my surroundings and my subjects, always connected to what the light is doing and how my subject looks and behaves under it.”
Equipment: When it comes to analog I like to experiment with using different cameras. They all have their own distinct personalities from the sound of the shutter to their focusing mechanisms. I love that part of shooting. I may pick up a Hasselblad or a Mamiya rangefinder and feel like I’m seeing an old friend. When it comes to digital I’m a Nikon shooter. Most recently I’ve tried out the D800. I love how Nikon images have this certain ‘snap’ to them, I also like the way they interpret color. Their lenses are super crisp too.
Lenses: My go to lenses are 50mm, 35mm, 85mm, sometimes 100mm and a 24-70 zoom. I use all of these for portraits; it really depends on what my assignment is. If I’m in the studio, I’ll use the 85mm or 100mm. If I’m going outdoors I’ll grab the 35 or 50 to get more environment in the shots. I’ll use a the 24-70mm zoom if I’m doing documentary work or if I don’t know exactly what the environment that I’ll be shooting in looks like, it gives me room to play with different focal lengths in one lens.
Filter or nah? I’ve definitely used gels on set before. For example, if you’re mixing hot lights with strobe lights and you want them to have the same temperature. If you’re referring to Instagram filters, I don’t use them for my personal work but I can definitely see how they add a creative element to post production for people who are not photographers.
Can't live without: I definitely can't live without a reflector. Sometimes that’s the only accessory you need.
Favorite photographers: Pari Dukovic, Goerdie Wood, Andrew Williams, Mario Sorrenti, Cartier Bresson and Bruce Davidson.
“When it comes to analog I like to experiment with using different cameras. They all have their own distinct personalities from the sound of the shutter to their focusing mechanisms. I love that part of shooting.”
First experience: I took a class in the 8th grade. I’m not sure what drew me to the class because at that time in my life I didn’t even know what art was. But I liked it. For years after that I never touched a camera. I took a class in college. I was really into it. I loved looking at Master photographer’s work. I loved how it made me feel. At that time in my life I never consciously thought that I was going to one day pursue a similar path. I was just having fun playing around. But the little that I was exposed to changed my life. It was like a really slow, slow burn. I shot for years after that. It was all trial and error. No mentor, no Internet to look up tutorials. Just a camera and some film and a desire to photograph the people in my life. In 2007 I left my career to pursue photography full-time. At this point I hadn’t even touched a digital camera. I then sought out a lot of photographers. I was hungry for a community who knew more than me. A community of people who have a similar life purpose and passion. If they were doing it, I knew that there was a lot I could learn from them. There have been a handful of photographers who supported me in different ways including, Kutlu, Jonathon Mannion and Mike Schreiber. One thing that Mannion taught me was that no 2 people’s path is the same. That was something he said years ago that only really landed with me this year.
Why Photography? I’ve been interested in photography since college. My fascination grows deeper and deeper as the days go by. My favorite moments are when I come across an image that feels like ‘this is it’. It could happen while I’m shooting or when I get film back or going through digital files after a shoot. There’s usually just one, sometimes a few more- that to me, scream THIS IS IT. I chase that feeling at every shoot. All of my portraits are memorable. They all have a story; I would say that they are all equally memorable.
Tips / Secrets:
Always pay attention to light when you’re not shooting.
2) Make Friends.
Find some cool people you can geek out with over photo nerd shit.
“I was hungry for a community who knew more than me. A community of people who have a similar life purpose and passion. If they were doing it, I knew that there was a lot I could learn from them. ”
Tag a friend to feature and ask them a question: I would like to ask Andrew Williams. What constitutes the decisive moment for you?
Andrew Williams answered: "The decisive moment for me is that moment when I recognize experiencing something new. That is the moment that I take a photograph so I can have that moment forever. It is personal and subjective but hopefully it conveys that feeling in the end, but it doesn't matter because its my photograph. I am really horrible at telling stories so they also serve as proof or an introduction to that experience. The decisive moment changes throughout projects as well, so it is safe to say just experiencing something new...
An example of this recognition is when you are going to a job interview and walk into the location. The space creates a fresh perspective... You get the job! A few weeks pass by and you start to learn where everything is. Now you cannot see the space the same way that you did when you had fresh eyes. Your perspective changed. This goes for almost any situation whether it be traveling, a bus seat, hotel, campsite, lake, or mountain."