Friday, February 27, 2009

Everybody Else : Andy Freeberg

Andy Freeberg's Guardians project is a winner of the 2008 Critical Mass/Photo Lucida book award! The first show of Guardians will open at the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon, next Thursday, March 5, with a gallery talk on Saturday, March 7, at 3pm. I was psyched for him and thew out a question. I kept my mouth shut and just took notes:
TA: So did you transition from being a work-a-day editorial photographer to an international contemporary artstar?
AF: When I started out, editorial photography was my art, and I gave it my everything. After a while, they just became assignments for me…I tried to please the editors, please the clients...I mean if you want to keep working that’s what you need to do. I really dug shooting assignment work, but most of the time I came up with shots I thought were great but they never got used. Why am I wasting my time? Around that time the revelation started to hit me...something was missing in all of this assignment work. When I started doing my own projects, I never felt like I was wasting my time...and that felt great.
Assignment work taught me how to move thru these projects, how to execute them and really get them done. And then when you get the positive affirmation, man it really makes you want to keep going. These projects are expensive...I'm not really making money yet, but I'm getting attention, I'm getting exhibitions and now this book. But the electricity rubs off into the commercial work too: the last 5 months have been the best 5 months commercially for me in 6 years. The attention the art has gotten has made my former clients excited….they are just that much more excited in working with me because they know they are helping further the project just by hiring me. Photo editor Eric Godwin saw the first shots of Sentry and he called it right there…he said: Andy, this is a show…you must do this. And he’s hired me in support of this. He’s into it. He's known my work when its gone downhill and I was phoning it in…he’d call me on it. With this project he saw its' potential and really pushed me to do it before anyone else did. He’s been like a coach on this….and I can trust him, he won’t bullshit me.
My first personal project was an Edward Weston-esque series called "Human Nature"...nudes in nature. That was my learning curve on the art world. I thought I could take this traditional style and push it further. I took it to Photo Fest and I just got crushed. They said it was well done, but this subject matter, forget about it. It was eye opening. I realized if I wanted to move foreward in the art world, I needed to drop that subject matter. And I did.

First came Sentry. I had no idea it would do what it did…I thought it was great but I didn’t know it would open doors like it did. Conscientious wrote about it, and then boom, it hit and spread on the Internet. The next day Danziger contacted me and he had an opening for a show in 2 months. Foley Gallery was interested and Peer Gallery was interested…then the reactions started. I thought the project was a metaphore about how humans aren’t connecting….but the reactions...the New Yorkers thought it was about the gallery world, that was the surprise reaction but it resonated. I needed a follow up to that...and I had some momentum. That's when I got the idea to do Guardians.

See more of Freeberg's projects HERE.

Read and interview with Freeberg on Zoum Zoum.


bird. said...

Heck yeah, TA. Thanks for sharing this one...


just what the Dr. ordered...


sexy said...