Interview: Anastasia Cazabon

Emily Porter: Do you have a photograph that you have taken in your past that made you realize you wanted to become a photographer?

© Anastasia Cazabon

Anastasia Cazabon: I had been photographing for a couple of years before I had actually thought of taking photography seriously. I was taking a continuing education class at New England School of Photography and the teacher there, Tom Petit, really pushed me to consider image-making in a different way then I had before.

I took this image on a trip with my friends; I was probably 19 years old at the time. In a way I was breaking all the rules that I had previously been taught regarding photography. I was shooting directly into the sun and the image was slightly underexposed. When I got the negatives back I completely dismissed the image on a technical level. My teacher circled the image on the contact sheet and I printed it. After seeing it large I had a kind of breakthrough. Where I had been obsessed with the immediate content of a photograph, suddenly I realized that what really mattered to me was the feeling a photograph can evoke. This photograph was slightly odd in that it was taken from the water, there is a lot glare and it’s hard to make out the people, but all of these elements came together to make a mysterious, dream-like image. I realized I didn’t have to show someone’s face to tell a story. It also broadened my method of shooting; I was now paying attention to light and color in a way that I hadn’t before.

Emily Porter: You use yourself in many of your images; do you find that this helps you get across the message you would like to portray easier because you are in full control?

© Anastasia Cazabon

Anastasia Cazabon: Yes, I’m definitely a control freak and by using myself I know I can get exactly what I want. If I don’t get the result I want, however, I have no one to blame but myself. When I do shoot other people, which I did for my series From the Secret World, they are always my close friends. I’m not the most extroverted person, so being comfortable with my subjects is crucial. If I’m worrying that the person is bored or that I’m not talking to them enough, I end up focusing losing focus on the imagemaking. It usually takes me a few hours to set up and execute a single shot, and during that time I’m almost always mumbling to myself and running around in circles. Luckily, my friends who pose for me are understanding of my process.

Emily Porter: You stated in an interview with the blog Art Space Talk that your images are based on your childhood and you try to make each image relatable to the audience but by still keeping that childhood quality. Do you think this is a phase in your photography or will childhood be the constant base throughout, like your muse?

© Anastasia Cazabon

Anastasia Cazabon: I’m not sure if “childhood” is going to be a recurring theme in my future work, but the “past” definitely will be. I’ve always been fascinated with the past, I guess that’s one of the reasons photography has been my medium of choice. Photography is constantly recording the past and serves as a memory of what once was. For the last couple of months I have been working on a new project about teenagers. It’s completely different then any of the other work I have done, but it still deals with the past in the same way.

Emily Porter: Being a young photographer what would be your advice to undergraduate students who are at a point in their career where they are just trying to get their work out into the world?

Anastasia Cazabon: My biggest advice is to keep on working and shooting. It’s great to get your work out there into the world, but in the end it’s more fulfilling to love what you’re working on. There are now countless competitions for “emerging” photographers, so entering into a few of them is always good. But as for me, the work I make is always much more exciting and satisfying then the exhibitions I’m in.

© Anastasia Cazabon

Emily Porter: When you are creating an image what is the first thing you think about? Do you have notes about ideas you would like to execute?

Anastasia Cazabon: It depends on the series that I’m working on. For From the Secret World and Stories, I would story board everything beforehand. I conceived of a situation and would then decide what aspect, or dynamic, I wanted to photograph. But for all the projects I work on I always take notes and write them, which ultimately allows for a deeper exploration of the ideas that I am trying to express.

More work by Anastasia Cazabon can be found on her website: www.anastasiacazabon.com

1 comment:

  1. Great conversation. From one who is always shooting with little control over subjects at hand, these insights are refreshing, and helpful. Cheers.