Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Joey L.: Ripping!
Joey L.’s youthful appearance may fool you into thinking he’s the assistant, but his sophisticated and multidimensional style is the product of experience and his collaborative mind-set
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An Aghori sadhu in Varanasi, India, covered with human ash, the last rite of the material body.
Joey L.: Growing up in Lindsay, Ontario, an hour and a half northeast of Toronto, I was kind of cooped up in this rural town. I was always watching the History Channel and National Geographic documentaries. I wanted to explore the world. As soon as I started making money from photography, I used it to travel. I went to all the places I had seen in documentaries. When I first started, I did more photojournalistic-style photography, which you don't see in my work these days. But those early trips helped develop the way I shoot now.
DPP: If you had to label your style, what would it be?
Joey L.: Environmental portraiture. I have a more cinematic approach to subjects that are tired and fatigued by photojournalism. I use a very contemporary approach using a flash. The mission statement behind this work is although these tribes and religions are old, they're still present, they're still living. When I do something on how things are changing with the Karo, Mursi, Hamer, Daasanach and Arbore tribes in the Omo Valley in Ethiopia—the modern things that are happening there—it makes sense to do it in a more contemporary style.
Seeing the photographs of Pieter Hugo, his 'The Hyena & Other Men' series, and Phil Borges' ethnic portraits have helped me shape my personal work.DPP: How do you do the lighting in these distant locations?
Jesse Johnson as John Wilkes Booth and Billy Campbell as Abraham Lincoln from Killing Lincoln, which aired on the National Geographic Channel.
DPP: It's interesting that you grew up watching National Geographic and the History Channel, and now you're photographing for them. Do you think your interest in their programming had anything to do with this?
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