How I Started. As a child, I wanted to know how movies were made. I started with photography not by making still images, but with a home video camera. I made re-makes of my favorite movies like “Rocky,” using my turtle, dog, and whatever else was available at the time. As time went on, I felt the need to capture what was happening around me, at a faster rate. The ease of being able to capture stills with a home camera was very addictive— an addiction, I couldn’t live without.
Why I Photograph. I view every human being on this planet as a sort of biological camera, reporting back information to the collective unconscious. Once collected, that information cycles back as vibrational energy, through each and every one of us. Before anything can be analyzed, it must first be assembled and that’s where we [photographers] come into play. We select certain pieces of the puzzle and rearrange them on our films or computers, in an attempt to make sense of what we experience. Photography is about remembering who I am and why I chose to be here in the first place. It’s the perfect way to reflect on reality and draw a clear line of demarcation between the subjective and the objective.
My Influences. I can easily say that if there is any one photographer that has and will always inspire me, it’s Stephen Shore. I also appreciate the work of Anthony Hernandez and Roy DeCarava.
What I Use. I use the Lumu! It travels with me, even when I’m not using a camera that "requires” a handheld meter. I don’t want to spend additional time on post processing and the Lumu gives me the exposure values I need, to get it right the first time. All of my images are managed using Mylio – a tool for people who enjoy taking photographs and don’t have time for anything else. It has a clean, fun interface and a kick-ass support team (Matt and Raiza). I am fond of Leica cameras, as they render images with “life” and “energy”. I’m using an Ona Bowdery for the Hassy and a Billingham for Leica– they don’t look like camera bags, so they are less conspicuous. I wish Ona would use different hardware though – I’m always afraid that damn buckle is going to whack my camera! To enjoy photography, you have to have stuff that supports your goal. So much effort goes into making an image, it can be a real let down when the results aren’t what you wanted (or better). Thanks for making a portable light meter that works really well and saves me the hassle!
What I Photograph. I photograph a lot of things and too many people. I actually prefer to work with inanimate objects or alone on the streets. As luck would have it, I end up photographing some of the most beautiful people on the planet – bass players, drummers, guitarists, vocalists, and your typical "L.A. Celebrity.” I’m also fortunate to have befriended some of the greatest Luthiers on the planet, so I’ll frequently photograph amazing handmade basses and guitars.
What Excites Me. Instagram is pretty much the only game in town, these days. Flickr has completely failed and Facebook is just downright annoying. Tumblr is like a cult membership— it has its privileges. Out of the blue, I found a Turkish artist: Hüseyin Kağıt. His voice and playing really got me interested in music again. For a while, I got really bored with Western music. It’s not even music anymore — just noise, made with a computer. There’s a group of guys in Turkey; Hüseyin Kağıt, Serkan Nişancı, and Gürkan Demirez – I have absolutely no idea what they’re saying but now Hüseyin Kağıt follows me on Insta and I can watch and learn from his photographs and videos. Instagram’s power to connect people gives me a little bit of faith, in the sea of technology we have at our disposal. Like Roy DeCarava said, Art is how we communicate and photography— be it professional or recreational, is one of the most effective means of communication we have.
Current Challenges. For some, photography is about problem solving. Aside from my goal to reduce everything that ever was and ever will be to a two-dimensional space for uploading to Insta, I am currently trying to figure out how I want to share my photos. I want a select group of people to see and give me genuine “feedback” on my images. I don’t need a critique as much as I need another perspective. Flickr seems to be all about gear and that’s boring! I want other people to read into my images as much as I do and say what they feel. I want to do the same for them.
A Little Advice. Life itself, is not meant to be taken seriously! Think about it– when you are born, you already know you’re dying. Western culture strives for Life! Life! Life! And finally more Life! Eastern culture says “hurry up and teach me life’s lessons, so I can get the hell out of here!” The fact that we have such polar spiritual opposites coexisting on a single plane should tell you that they’re both wrong! We’ve come here to experience. You can’t know bad unless you know good and vise versa. What you can do is keep a visual diary of what happens in life. You then have the power to look back and rearrange the pieces, so the next experience is closer to what you had imagined. It was Ronnie James Dio who once said “Lyrically, I like to use themes that make the listener use his or her imagination, and to give a little of the lessons I’ve learned in my own life.” I encourage everyone to do the same with photography.
My own website: http://ilan.me
Some of my instrument photographs:
- www.mtdbass.com - all my photos
- http://zonguitars.com - the splash page and a few of the basses are mine
Comment from the Lumu team: don’t forget to follow Ilán on Instagram!