Interview with Documentary photographer Brian Finke

Interview with Documentary photographer Brian Finke
International Photography Grant 2019

– How did you get into photography?

My interest in photography began when I was a freshman in high school when I took my first photojournalism class, with the idealistic motivations of social awareness and from reading about the amazing life and work of photojournalist W. Eugene Smith.

– Where do you get your creative inspiration from?

Reality is the best, I feel like I can never make anything up that’s better than discovering and photographing what’s actually happening around me.

I love my friends’ work, like Darin Mickey and Michael Schmelling. And classics like Larry Clark.

– What is it like being a documentary photographer this days?

I love what I do. I love the process of it .. being out in the world, photographing, meeting people. And there’s the travel, I’m always on the road, it’s pretty great.

– Which series/project was most challenging for you so far?

The U.S. Marshals project for sure. For that book I photographed sex offender round ups in Las Vegas. Photographed a prisoner transport coming back from Cuba. My first day photographing was in Houston, a prisoner had escaped from a Huntsville prison. We were driving a hundred and twenty miles on the freeway going to get this escaped convict. It was incredible to see.

– What do you do besides photography?

I spend my time traveling and photographing, and when I’m home I’m cooking on the grill and BBQ’n and hanging with my boys and friends, riding bikes and enjoying Brooklyn.  And making more pictures.

– What is your favourite photography book?

There’s so many, to name a few.. Atlanta by Michael Schmelling & Raised by Wolves by Jim Goldberg.

– What are your future plans with photography?

I’m always working on something. My current project is about the models in hip hop videos, “Hip Hop Honeys.” I’m hanging out on set of everything from B-level to high end stuff with Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes and 50-Cent, and photographing the women that are in the videos. The project came to me through a photo editor that I work with at D Magazine in Italy. We were at a photo festival and she had seen a BBC documentary about it and she said, “Brian, you’d love this, it’s so perfect for you.” I love it when friends and people that I work with recommend things. It seems like story ideas come very naturally that way.  I started shooting a little while ago, it’ll be my next book and exhibition.

Website: www.brianfinke.com

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International Photography Grant 2019