The MISSBISH Photography Workshop | Driely Carter
Photographer: Driely Carter
Location: I am currently based in Brooklyn. I am originally from Brazil and I travel a lot, but coming back to New York always feels like home because it is such a melting pot of cultures. I think a good home base is anywhere that nourishes you creatively and sustains your curiosity.
Equipment: I will shoot with anything these days. Really, I mean it. I always joke that the best camera is the one that you have on hand at the time you need to capture whatever it is you are about to capture. I shoot with anything from 19th century cameras to most analog formats, to digital when it's the only option. Even an iPhone if that's all I have. I just make the best of it. The equipment you use is mostly irrelevant. As long as the image you capture is interesting, nobody cares what camera made it. Cameras don't make photos, photographers make photos. You can have the best gear money can buy and make mediocre, boring images. You could also have the worst camera on the market and produce meaningful work. This is a question that I feel should be banished from photography interviews, because it gets young kids too fixated on equipment when the emphasis should be on the work itself.
Style: I don't think I have a style yet. I am working on it. I think for most artists, you don't develop a style per se. It's the reverse; the style finds its way to you. You just do things so often that a pattern starts emerging. Unless you are that once-in-a-decade raw, young talent that has something really original to wreak havoc on the world. But that is very rare. For the majority of artists, it takes time.
How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience (and your first camera!).
I got into photography because cinema was too expensive and it required way more people to execute. But since cinema is nothing more than 24 frames per second, photography just made sense as a way to cultivate my eye.
I have had many firsts with photography. First time in a darkroom, first time with a large format camera, first time shooting on the streets; I think the idea is to always keep accumulating first experiences. My earliest photography-related memory was crying as a child to play with my parents' cameras. Both of my parents say I wouldn't shut up unless they put a camera in my hands. I also remember really wanting a Spice Girls polaroid camera when I was 9, but my parents just could not afford it.
What are your thoughts on iPhone-ography?
Every form of art is valid. The medium is irrelevant so long as the final product is interesting. I see so many great images made on iPhones. Like any other technology, it's always valid if you can put it to good use. If they had iPhones when I was younger, maybe I would have stayed in cinema. The movie TANGERINE is a perfect example of that; it's shot entirely on an iPhone and better than most million dollar blockbuster films. I am not against any form of technology for making art. Think of all the talents we never got to see because they could not afford a camera back in the day. Imagine if they had iPhones! Just make good images and make people's time worthwhile.
Do you shoot things differently/look for different types of shots when you're shooting for Instagram as opposed to say a larger editorial? If so, can you give us an example?
Never. Instagram is such an organic, natural thing to me. I don't spend much time debating what I will post. I tend to delete stuff that I post, if for some reason I don't like how it integrates with rest of my feed. But it's not like I have a strategy to post or attract followers. I think because I have been doing triptychs for a while, folks assume I spend a lot of time strategizing how I post. But I don't put that much thought into it. It's actually the opposite, which is why I take down stuff from time to time.
“Cameras don't make photos, photographers make photos. You can have the best gear money can buy and make mediocre, boring images. You could also have the worst camera on the market and produce meaningful work."
Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot…
Do I have any memorable photos? I don't really think I have any yet. Ask me again in 10 years.
What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
EVERYTHING! For real, every little mundane thing. It could be something super abstract like the way the light comes through my window at 11am when it's raining, to an interaction with someone, to movies, music, and other art. Not just as a photographer, but as an artist, you should be a sponge by all means. The way you live, the people you love, the way you love them, the words that come out of your mouth, will all become raw material for your art.
Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
I think Joni Sternbach was the first woman that truly shaped my photographic life. Seeing her work with a giant camera in a way that I never thought possible, and then learning from her and keeping up with her trajectory as an artist. I learn so many invaluable lessons just by observing. You can learn a lot from people just by the way that they move through the world. I think one of the things I've learned and cherished the most is finally understanding that most of us do not know where we are going until we arrive there.
Three of your favorite Instagram accounts to follow and why...
It changes a lot but at the moment:
@Jonas_lindstroem - I just like that he is always pushing to do something that feels true to him and never compromises his vision.
@__nitch - Great quotes by great people. No brainer.
@webb_norriswebb - I am convinced Alex Webb has never taken a bad photo in his life. I love getting access to some of the bigger and older photographers' archives and unpublished work now with Instagram.
Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
The secret is that you are just the vessel, most great photographs just happen and maybe you are the lucky photographer who was there at the right place and the right time to press the shutter. So always show up. Be ready, be present, and let it just be.
Tell us three photography tips.
These are not photography tips, but art tips. I once came across artist Teresita Fernandez's commencement speech and I truly do listen to it at least once a month, sometimes once a week, because her practical tips are so wise. I feel like I should tattoo them on my body at some point because they honestly are words that I live by.
When people say your work is good, do two things. First, don’t believe them. Second, ask them, “Why?" If they can convince you of why they think your work is good, accept the compliment. If they can’t convince you -- and most people can’t -- dismiss it as superficial and recognize that most bad consensus is made by people simply repeating that they “like” something.
Nobody reads artists' statements. Learn to tell an interesting story with your work so that people can relate to you on a personal level.
Not every project will survive. Purge regularly. Destroying is immediately connected to creating. This will save you time.
(If I were to add one of my own, it would be to do nothing for prestige or status, or for money or approval alone.)
If you could shoot anyone, who would it be, where, and why?
BOWIE. Anywhere. Because, BOWIE.
Finish the sentence...
If I weren’t afraid I would… never have a home and just drift around the world shooting.
I wouldn't be where I am today if... I wasn't willing to sacrifice. Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.
I've been listening to... Iggy Pop BB6 Radio show always gets me going. I always discover great new music of all genres.
Kids these days... Have me constantly contemplating if society is getting stupider or evolving.
I look and feel my best when… I have a camera in my hands or I am inside a darkroom.
When no one is looking I… Cry. Even though I like to say I've cried all of the tears I've had in my body.
Traveling... Is my excuse for taking photos. Really, I just want to discover the world.
I respect... Sheer passion. When people are truly, madly passionate about stuff. I may not even like the person, but if you are passionate enough about what you do and it is genuine, I will respect you while simultaneously disliking you.