Artist Profile: Jesse Pollock


GUYS - New work from Jesse Pollock is now on view at Revolver Gallery.  

Q: When did you first begin shooting photographs?

I actually got started quite late. My father is a photographer and spent the majority of my childhood documenting every minute of my life growing up. Subsequently I came to hate photography for many years and it took me a very long time to get over all that. Of course, now I am the exact same way and have to train myself to leave the cameras at home lest I end up annoying everyone around me in the same way. I would say that I have been seriously shooting for about ten years now.

Q: What qualities/aesthetic do you strive for in your photos?

It's quite a struggle not to shoot everything all the time and so I try to only shoot things that I have never seen before. This can be an angle, lighting or strictly content, but most important is creating a photo that will make people stop and look twice. There is nothing more heartbreaking that having someone just walk past a photo like it was a billboard ad, and I don't want to waste anyone's time with mediocrity anyways- so that's the main focus.
Of course, what's new to me may not be new to everyone else but there's not much I can do about that anyways. Hopefully if there is a similarity to another photographer's work, it will be a good one.

Q: Tell us about the GIRLS and GUYS series. Were they originally created as a set, or did one precede the other?

I tend to take a lot of photos of women since there are so many in my life and they often inspire me to shoot in different ways. I put together the Girls zine last year since after realizing that I wanted to see them in one place. The Guys counter-part came into focus this year as the natural follow up to complete the set. I have to say that I could do with a few more men in my life as my Guys zine felt a bit stunted, but I guess that's evocative of my life in general so it's a work in progress. They both are.

Q: Do you personally know all the subjects in your photos? And are these images staged, or are you catching life in the wild?

As a rule, I generally know most of my subjects as the prospect of photographing strangers horrifies me and always has. Occasionally I will feel compelled to shoot someone I have just met, but it's usually something that stems from being close with people. Some photos end up being set up a bit just to get the right lighting, but most of the time I just shoot them like I see them.

Q: There's a raw reality yet playfulness to your images -- what is it that you want the viewer to see in your work?

I try my best not to dictate what anyone should be taking away from any particular photo, however my work often ends up being divided between two different schools of photography. On one hand, I am drawn to the journalistic, gritty taste of street photography while on the other hand, I never want things to be taken too seriously. I want every photo to make people laugh and enjoy themselves. It's a classic identity crisis and one that I enjoy watching evolve.

Q: Someone came in and said your work reminds them of Wolfgang Tillmans -- what do you think of that?

Hmmm.. well I would venture to say that his work is a touch more homo-erotic than mine when it comes to photographing men, but I could see the similarity. I definitely feel at home intimately documenting my immediate surroundings and different groups of friends. And obviously I have a thing for photocopying so I guess that person has a pretty good eye.

Q: Anything else to add?

I rarely re-print zines and am in the habit of giving away even the copies I own (which can be quite annoying) so I would encourage anyone who wants a zine to grab one while they are still around. There may at some point be a book version of the two zines together, but that could be some ways off at this point. People can check in with Unpiano Books about that status of that project.

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