An Interview with Noah Dye.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Who is Noah Dye?
I am a photographer and video artist currently
working/living in NYC.
Where are you from?
I’m from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was raised in Santa
Rosa, California. Spent my adult youth in San
Francisco. I now split my time between New York
City and the Bay Area.
What’s the last song you listened to?
Blank Space by Taylor Swift.
How do you feel about photography right
now in the 21st century?
Susan Songtag, where are you? I think it’s been a
little bit of a disappointment to see how the digital
age has changed photographic consumer culture .
It’s sad to see all the films that I grew up on cease
production and become only something you can
only find marked way up on ebay. For instance,
my favorite films growing up were Kodak E6 films
(E100G I love you). Kodak stopped production of all
Kodachrome in ‘09 and feel like I’ve been forced to
go over to Fuji. In a sense I feel like appreciation
for conceptual photography has floundered due to
instant accessibility through phone apps and tethered
digital programs. Yet at the same time I think
all the technological advancements are fascinating.
Nothing is permanent and I don’t want to sound like
a crabby grandpa thinking on the good old days. I’m curious to see where this all goes culturally and technically. I’m not above digital photography in the slightest, I just
prefer the process of doing things on film.
What makes you create photography?
You know, I think initially it started with trying to
impress a girl. I felt inferior and did whatever I could
to impress her. A few years later that was over and
I was left with this interest of how to find my voice
in photography. Something clicked in college and I
went all in. It became a vessel to communicate and
in turn transcend all the angst and anxieties.
Is there a theme in your photographs?
Most of my artistic integrity is rooted
in anxiety with themes of sexuality, humor, self-deprecation. There is a struggle between self acceptance
and refusal with a pursuit of spiritual awareness.
I was a misanthropic and insubordinate kid
growing up. I never fully realized why or how to do
anything about it. When I was in my 20’s I was diagnosed
with generalized anxiety disorder, explaining
my difficulty with socializing and day to day disfunction.
At the same time I was raised by new age parents
who always practiced the idea of self awareness
with an unsubscribed sense of spirituality. Combine
those two and there you go. I would say that I’m
passionate about finding beauty in the odd places.
I like to challenge social constructs by combining
aesthetically appealing fundamentals of photography
with tense subject matter. I make uncomfortable work
as a practice of awareness. My argument being that no matter what type of opinion, feeling, or comment the work evokes, the response is not inherently you.
The brain is simply an organ like the others in your body. Another way of saying your thoughts and ego don’t make you who you are. Your opinions, judgements, and reactions
are taught behavioral patterns. By this simple understanding I have found more depth, open mindedness,
peace, and perspective in my life and am
hopeful that understanding the socialization process
would help to understand the spiritual self.
In the 90’s Harmony Korine really got me excited
about looking at things differently. His first movie,
Gummo, was a game changer for me and still finds
it’s way in my photo work and video. In undergrad I
took a transgressive art class and found modern
artist Paul McCarthy and the 1960’s moment, Viennese
Actionism. It was like I had finally found what
I was searching for in art and within myself. In terms
of photographers, early color photographers like
William Eggleston and Stephen Shore helped me understand the principles. Nan Goldin, Bruce Davidson,
Andreas Gursky, and Juergen Teller still get it going
Shoutouts to any artists?
Chris Gould out in San Francisco (csagould.
blogspot.com). I think he’s still running the show out
there at the Harvey Milk Photo Center. I am forever
indebted to him for seeding my interest in art. Also
Erin Campbell (e-e-campbell.com) here in Brooklyn.
Her disposable camera project is a breath of fresh
Favorite Camera to use?
Personally, I shoot a Mamiya RZ67 with Fuji Provia
100 and Fuji Instant Color FP 100 C for studio, Contax
G1 with Fuji 400 Superia for street.
For commercial, I shoot a Phase One 645DF with
IQ160 back and a Cannon 5D Mark III.
Film or Digital?
I’m definitely a film guy.
There’s a sort of therapeutic involvement with the
camera that allows my mind to slow down. I like to
have limitations with the amount of exposures. It
helps me focus and do as much as possible in camera.
I’ve been told recently on set that I’m one of the
slowest photographers they’ve ever seen. Haha. Is
that a good thing? I don’t know. All of my personal
work on my site and blog are film. I prefer e6 film for my studio, c41 for my street. That all being said, I am in love with medium format digital back cameras. It’s kind of a mind fuck to me still of how differently they capture. I still find it all the various ways to approach image making so inthralling.