Las Vegas based Wolf189 shows off a few of his favourite shots and takes five for a quick chat.
Name: Wolf189 ... everybody calls me Wolf.
Occupation: Photographer, experimental filmmaker, creative director and bits of many other things.
Where are you? What are your immediate surroundings?
Las Vegas ... and within few hours of Los Angeles.
What have you been doing/working on recently?
I work a lot...and I like to work on different styles at the same time... So while I have been shooting editorial fashion stories, I also have been doing commercial portraits as well as erotic photo essays and some abstract and street work just to relax. And I have been playing around with screenplays and short stories and of course making little experimental videos as always.
Please describe a typical day.
That is pretty hard... My days vary radically, however here is a very common scenario. I tend to wake up early - 7AM or so - start cooking breakfast (if I don't have an early morning shoot), work out a bit while cooking, organizing the place, answering the urgent emails/texts and choose three frames that I have never worked on and make them ready for print or online use while listening to music. I usually have at least one photo shoot per day, and I work fast so that would take about 3-4 hours of the day working on unfinished projects, some marketing and social media stuff, more cooking, maybe some private time with friends, feeding these stray cats around sunset everyday, a stop at a coffee shop or a book store for a break or a even romantic rendezvous maybe once in a while. Then back to work, working on negatives, scanning etc. I prefer to edit videos and write at night - this goes on till about midnight. then I watch a movie or read and try to sleep while making notes of ideas that pop into my head, and music is on, if I am working on computer or driving of course. I work about 12-14 hours everyday easily and sleep about 4-5 hours on average if I am lucky, but I enjoy my work a lot, so it goes by really fast.
How would you describe your work? And who (or what) are your biggest creative influences?
I guess committing to the moments is a big part of my work. Even during a formal portrait session, I try to find and appreciate something unique to those very moments instead of manufacturing them or creating a somewhat clever concept. The connection to my subjects is the biggest source of influence for me. My understanding of who (or what) they are, affects everything that I do, and how I do it.
You shoot quite a lot of video as well as still images? Do you have a preference for either? Do have to approach one and the other in a different way?
Yes I make many experimental videos. My approach to videos is very liberal; I am not trying to please any specific audience or taste. It's a very fluid process for me and I do it mostly for me with no expectations. Like playing jazz in your own room or writing a short poem on a train. Now if some people enjoy them too, that would be great.
Three favorite spots on the web to browse?
Google Headline news - I have organised it to bring me more of the stuff that I care about, so it covers a lot from politics to science and art and sports. That is the source of majority of my internet browsing. I love cinema so I guess I visit cinema related sites often too. I don't mean celebrity news and such - film reviews and production notes, stuff like that.
What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?
I try to learn new stuff everyday, it's one of the most important aspects of life for me. They just observed giant Efimov, it's a quantum mechanics research. I studied mechanical engineering, mathematics and physics (years ago and I don't use them at all at a high level, so I am very rusty), but I still read related articles once in a while. So apparently 22.7 factor is a real thing. I would explain it to the best of my ability but it would take a little bit of time to do it well. If anybody is interested, please use a search engine and you'll find the article written by Giovanni Modugno.
What in your opinion makes a beautiful image? What elements need to exist in a moment for the image to be successful?
That is a highly subjective matter, however I try to identify the function of an image. Be it mine or anybody else's in any style. And then based on the function, style, goal etc. I can appreciate its beauty. See, this approach to beauty is a logical one, it might not sound very romantic but even the most romantic visions follows it. That way I can find a pure advertising image beautiful if it has been executed expertly and intelligently and I can ignore an average photograph of the most beautiful woman on the planet. In my case, the moment has to be right without sacrificing composition and aesthetic, so the photograph looks well made, almost like a still life image. And yet the moment was a live and real one - if I don't sacrifice any of the elements for the others, then I am happy.
What do you enjoy most about your hometown? Just in general and the specific things you enjoy doing.
I guess Las Vegas is my hometown now. Couple of things: It's a 24 hours city and many people sooner or later visit it, so I get lots of international clients that way, who have seen my work and would like to book me for a shoot and they combine it with a short vacation in Vegas. On a personal level, I can pretend I am on a vacation as soon as I drive couple miles towards the strip (Las Vegas Boulevard).
You have shot a lot of beautiful women throughout your career.. Is there one shoot that stands out for you for any reason? One that worked better than any expectations you might have had?
That is true, I wish I could say yes, but I often think my last shoot has been the most successful one. That feeling keeps me going and push me to get better too. In this case I love the majority of my photo sessions and ladies who I have photographed.
Do you listen to music when you are shooting? Is it for you or the model? or both?
When I shoot, I listen to my subjects. If they want music, they are welcome to it of course, otherwise I try to get to know my models. We have meaningful conversations often. I listen to music when I am alone usually.
Three of your friends we should check out?
You have to check out Ward Shortridge (http://citylife.zenfolio.com/p1047314495), he has done some of the best street portraits I have ever seen in my entire life. Each image tells a full story about the subject. Hopefully we'll be putting a book of his work together at the end of this year. We've been talking about it for years now, but this should be the year. One of my closest friends and subject of many many photo sessions together is artist, actress and dancer - the lovely Alexandria Bevilacqua (http://alibevilacqua.com/about/). We also have done two exhibitions of an art installation together and with our third collaborator, friend, engineer and creative mind Christopher Kachurak. And Chef Jason Kieffer (http://www.chefjasonkieffer.com/) who I met in a gathering and then became a client and now a friend. Not only does he create delicious healthy food but also he puts together soothing music under the name Blended Beets...
What’s next? What have you got planned for the rest of the year and what do you want to achieve in the near future?
Just more work and hopefully more travelling and opportunities to create fresh visual stories... I will deal with their specifics when it's their time. Cinema in on agenda for sure.
Thanks a lot!
Thankyou very much for the interest and opportunity guys. Cheers.