Exclusive Interview with Day 19: Claire and Jeremy Weiss Part 2Juxtapoz // Saturday, 30 Jan 2010
A photographic duo that shares credit under one name is a rare thing if not completely unheard of. With a moniker that would seem more suited for a design firm or production house viewers and clients alike are left in the dark to their secret, choice, preference or whatever it is that made them become a single unit of two photographic talents. They have shot such a large variety of people and in various locations that would suggest older and longer careers.
With keen knowledge and expertise behind the camera, they have shaped the images of many people and companies over the years. It may be their combined grey matter that enables them to produce the quality and quantity of excellent images or it could be the mastery of their medium. On the other hand it could be black magic, who knows? Their portfolio is diverse in client, publication and subject. If theirs isn’t a life meant to be behind the camera, I don’t know who else would qualify.
Recently they have joined up with three other artists to open a new space in LA simply called, This. Part gallery and part office/studio space they intend it to be a community that will foster creativity and generate a mutual support system for the exchange of ideas, art and good times. Given the variety of their friends and associates, the shows are sure to be filled with great work. --Isaac McKay-Randozzi
Isaac McKay-Randozzi: Film or digital for clients?
Both, and lots of Polaroids.
What do you prefer for your personal work?
Claire: I love shooting black and white. Before Eli most of my free time was spent in the darkroom printing pictures.
Jeremy: I consider everything we do to be personal work so whatever camera looks the most fun when I'm walking out the door.
When shooting someone you’ve never shot before how do you get them into a comfortable place where he or she is open to your suggestions?
Jeremy: I think because we are so comfortable with each other it makes the subject way more at ease so we can get good honest portraits of people. Our shoots are a lot of just hanging out and joking around and capturing that vibe.
What subject is your favorite to shoot?
Claire: Someone who's comfortable with themselves.
Jeremy: Dog portraits.
What is THIS, Los Angeles and what part do you play in it?
Jeremy: THIS is just titled This but does happen to be in Los Angeles, Highland Park to be exact. This came about after we went to Australia and had such a great time speaking to and talking with a ton of kids at the semi-permanent conference. People kept saying they really connected with what we were saying because we were honest about everything. The fun things we've done along with all of our fuck-ups, which there have been a lot. And how there seemed to be this need for a nontraditional gallery in Los Angeles. All the galleries here are in Santa Monica, Culver City, or West Hollywood and they are so far away from where most of the people I know live. Plus, I don't really like galleries in general. The whole have an opening so people can come for free drinks and then if you want to go on a day that’s not the opening; it's super uncomfortable because it's quiet and you feel like you are being watched while you just want to look at some art.
We want to have openings on a Friday but then on Sunday afternoon so the people with kids can come and let them run around and be a part of it, and have the artists come and do talks and Q&As so they connect more with the people who enjoy their work. We found some like minded people (Aaron Farley, Dan Monick, Justin Van Hoy and us) who want to do something more with this big empty box than just have art on the wall that people will look at one night while drinking free beer.
Claire: Our involvement is that we get to have fun with people we like a whole lot and showcase work from the amazing people we've met in our lives and the ones we have yet to meet. We don't want to be known as a gallery but a place where good shit happens.
Have either of you had any experience working in a gallery before?
Aside from those involved in the gallery, who will be showing in the space?
Jeremy: You sent these questions before we announced our first show. The spot isn't to show our work but to showcase our friends. Our first show is a little out of hand but the future shows will be more focused. The 2nd show is a collage show that Aaron is curating and the 3rd show is a Polaroid show we're doing with Jason Lee where he's going to show his 8x10 Polaroids he's been shooting for years for the first time and we'll be showing our Polaroid Project in its entirety. We're working on the book for that now.
What is the best function a web site can serve for a photographer?
Jeremy: It's just a necessity at this point. I remember thinking I'd never have a website and just show the people I met my sketchbooks and that’s all that mattered, but it made it possible for us to meet a ton of great people who've been following our work for a long time now.
Given the progression in the technology of digital photography and the influx of people trying to work in the industry, how hard is it for established folks to keep getting new clients? Is it as bad as people think it is?
Our friend Aaron Farley said to us the other day that photography is now like DJing where in general it's pretty fucking easy to do but when you hear an actual good DJ you are like whoah, they are doing something hard. I feel like there are a lot more serious hobbyists in photography now but how many are willing to live piss broke for 10 years and spend every cent they make on film and paper instead of eating?
I think the people with that passion will stand out no matter how many photographers there may be right now. And the novelty will soon wear off and we'll go back to being the annoying nerds who want to take your picture.
What’s on the horizon for you in the next months?
Jeremy: THIS has been taking up most of our time, and teaching Eli some sweet dance moves he may or may not debut at the first opening.
Every time I see you, you’re wearing black. Goth or beatnik?
Jeremy: Really? I only own 2 black shirts! Maybe this question should be "why are you always wearing the same fucking shirt every time I see you?"
If you didn't read Part 1 of this interview, it lives online HERE.