Steve Prezant: From the Say Cheese series
Continuing our interview with photographer Steve Prezant, Steve tells us about what he learned as a photographer’s assistant and what David Bowie’s alien in The Man Who Fell To Earth might see now if he paid us a visit
Following our exploration of some of Steve’s influences we look in more detail at his work, a body of photography whose colour, lighting and subjects expresses different dimensions of what we are as human beings.
How did you get started in Photography?
Steve Prezant: I am a twin and my brother and I always had cameras poked in our faces by our obsessed parents. It seemed it would be more fun to be on the other end of that thing. It is.
IMSO: Who has been the most influential person in your photography career?
Steve Prezant: I’m not sure if it’s any one person, but never having gone to art school has actually helped in a way because my idols weren’t the heroes of the photo/art world. A very influential person was the first photographer that I assisted, (way,way back). He was a very good technician but his photos lacked soul. I didn’t want to be that person.
IMSO: How has new technology shaped your photography style (and practice) over the years?
Steve Prezant: When I started I used 35mm for lifestyle and a Hasselblad for portraits and over time, the camera dictated the way I shot. With a larger format I had to work more slowly, more deliberately, working to composing within that square. With a 35mm I sorta bounced around trying to find a frame, a moment, and shot much more quickly. Now I pretty much just use a 35mm digital and try to use a tripod to make myself slow down for portraits. I also learned that it’s helpful to get something in focus.
IMSO: What’s your favorite camera to shoot with and why?
Steve Prezant: My Canon 5DMK3-pretty much because it’s paid for and I almost know what all the buttons do. Almost.
IMSO: In your imagination, who are the people in ‘Say Cheese’?
Steve Prezant: We meet people in real life and also through media. Strangely we tend to think we know people that we never meet in person. In ‘Say Cheese,’ I try to make the viewer feel as they they know the subject…even though they don’t.
IMSO: How did you select the couples for ‘So Lovely Together’?
Steve Prezant: Relationships are complicated. Some of couples in this series are real and some are actors, They are figments of my imagination. I try to add a backstory into each photo to let the viewer think that they see into that relationship.
IMSO: What kinds of scenarios did you have in mind to represent ‘Life on Earth’?
Steve Prezant: If David Bowie ‘Fell to Earth’ today what would he see? I think he would love (and hate) his visit.
IMSO: The subject matter of ‘In My Head’ is vast, How difficult was it to edit?
Steve Prezant: So-So. I had gathered a whole bunch of images and after editing for awhile, I began to realize that if you make your title broad enough, you can include just about anything.
IMSO: Your work feels like it’s documenting, in different styles, with different subject matter, the stuff of everyman/woman. Is this something you have set out to do?
Steve Prezant: Well, the documenting part – Isn’t that why we pick up a camera (brush or pen) in the first place. The feeling of everyman is what I think I know. I sure as hell don’t know what goes on in the White House or Buckingham Palace.