Thursday, August 8, 2013

Interview with Africa Travelogue photographer Andre Washington

Photographer Andre Washington will be at Foto Care on September 17th form 6:30-8:30 for a photography presentation about his work with Africa Travelogue, his travel across Africa and his Indiegogo project to raise money to further his work.

We were able to interview Andrew to learn more about his career and travels:

Foto Care: Tell us about yourself and how you got into photography?
Andre Washington: I am a self-taught photographer. My previous education and work experience spans the graphic arts, high fashion design, and architecture/interior design disciplines. I began my pursuit of professional photography after retiring from freelance design work (2004).

My medium of choice is traditional film photography (Fujichrome forever!) on medium format camera systems – especially 6x9cm, 6x12cm, and 6x17cm formats. My photographic work covers portraiture, environmental portraiture, and fine art. My main focus is on documenting culture and world travel.

I made my first serious culture documentary photographs while visiting the Rastafari camps in Jamaica (2003). Interacting with the Rastas, reaching that mutual comfort zone that yielded candid images from within a community seldom open to outsiders, was an inspiring experience. Soon after, following similar and equally inspiring photo shoots in Africa, I was hooked.

FC: What was your break out job that helped launch your career?
AW: I began photography with a goal. My years of travel in Africa dictated the direction I took as a photographer and has been my break out job or more of a project. My career is an ongoing launch into new places just waiting to be photographed.

My mission is to enlighten with pictures. I want to use my photographic point of view and travel journals to tell the stories that showcase the intense beauty of Africa – in all its culture rich variety – in order to bring new insight valuable to seeing, understanding, and truly appreciating this magnificent continent.

FC: What has been your favorite assignment(s) to date?
AW: I love all my assignments so they are all favorites!

FC: Where do you draw your inspiration?
AW: I continually draw inspiration from my subjects. I am equally inspired by my opportunities and privilege to witness the life realities of people and places of lesser known or misrepresented cultures and societies coupled with the ability to make photographs that accurately document and help to preserve these rich cultures. I am driven by the power to change – photo by photo – the way we understand and participate in our world.

FC: Do you use Social Media as part of your marketing? Do you think it is effective?
AW: I’m a new comer to social media. I think it is an effective tool for getting your work out on so many platforms. Social media will be a key component in getting my Africa Travelogue project seen and followed.

FC: How has your work changed in the last few years?
AW: After traveling and making photographs in some really amazing destinations I am forced to slow down and absorb everything - the sights, the sounds, the smells, along with the feel of my surroundings. I’m seeing more intensely and observing more patiently with a greater understanding and appreciation of my subject. As a result, I make photographs in response to the moment, the movement, and the sense of place. I try to capture an instant in the lives of my subjects from a perspective that pulls the viewer into the photo.

FC: Where is your work heading next? Where do you see yourself in the future?
AW: Twelve years ago I chose a huge subject to photograph – Africa. I will likely spend the next few years traversing the continent, exploring the culture, and capturing the great shots that best document my experiences. In the future I hope to photograph and document the rich culture found in other parts of the world.

FC: What equipment are you currently using to produce your work?
AW: I currently use Fuji GX-617 camera system with 5.6/90, 8/105, and 6.7/180 lenses; Mamiya 645AFD camera system with 2.8/45 AF, 2.8/80 AF, 3.5/150 AF, and 2.8/300 APO lenses; on Fujichrome RVP50, RVP100, RDP100F, and RXP400.

FC: What equipment would you most like to own but don’t yet have?
AW: The entire Horseman SW617 Pro camera system (5.6/72, 5.6/110, 5.6/180, 5.6/250, and 8/400 lenses), 6x17 roll film holders, 6x12 roll film holders, and one-gazillion rolls of Fujichrome.

FC: How do you choose your locations?
AW: Most of my locations are chosen through research as part of my trip planning. Upon arrival more research and scouting.  Sometimes I just stumble across the perfect locations.

FC: When and how did you hear about Foto Care? What about Foto Care brings you back?

AW: I first heard about and visited Foto Care in 1997 on a tip from a photographer friend. In 2004, I began working with Foto Care rentals to test out cameras for my project. The expertise, professional service, know-how, and friendliness of all the Foto Care staff are a perfect source of support for all things photography.