Easy Conservation: Mike Schreiber

He's know as the hip-hop photographer, he's shot stunning portraits of Common, Mos Def, M.I.A, Fat Joe, and the list goes on (...) not too bad for someone who has no formal training in the field. Our conversation with Mike Schreiber was as spontaneous as the man himself, it went a little something like this ...

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Mike Schreiber. I'm a NY based photographer.

Why photography?
I never thought of photography as a career, more like a curiosity. I always loved taking pictures, but I never was interested in taking photography classes because I always felt it was weird to grade on art. I did not come to photography in a traditional way. I'm Anthropology major. I started shooting concerts, parties, and album releases parties to get a foot in the industry. I would sell my images to publications like The Source, Vibe. I built up a reputation and publicists started to know about me.

When did your career as a photographer officially start? What was you first paid gig?
My first paid was for Swing Magazine, I took pictures of Shelter a hardcore band. At the time, I was working at a photo agency, and I got fired because they did not want me to shoot. I can honestly say that it's the best thing that happened to me. Sometimes I find we hold on to a false sense of security and this was definitely a blessing.

Who are some the artists that inspire you?
My favorite photographer is Sebastião Salgado. I love the sincerity of his work. 20 years from now I want the music stuff to be but a small part of my entire work.

How do you come up with ideas or subjects, what's your creative process?
Personal projects touch me the most! For the "Angola Prison Rodeo", I saw a documentary on the Discovery Channel, and I did some research on prison via the Internet. I was, then, able to get an assignment letter to take the pictures. The whole experience was very interesting; although they're in prison, they're still human beings. It was very surreal I was there I went to a funeral. I mean I was there for a short moment while but not them.
I do not necessarily think about a direction I want to take. My body of work comes naturally. I do not consider myself mainstream as I don't do a lot of studio work (even with celebrities). I work on stuff that I like. I want to be able to take on more personal projects and figure out how to make a living from them.

Any upcoming projects?
I recently went to Ghana- last August. I feel like when you go to a less you are responsible to give something back instead of just taking and leaving. I had a contact there, a friend's mom who is living there, and because of my past work, I was really able me to get around. I'm planning a show this spring featuring all the images from the trip. Some of the proceeds from the event will go to a non-profit organization. I'm also working on a book featuring all my Hip Hop photography.

How do you decide to shoot in color or B&W?
Well it is conscious choice for me because I still shoot in film. Although I shoot in color I find it to be a bit distracting.

What’s' playing on you Ipod these days ?
I don't own an Ipod. On my Pandora station I have people like Tom Waits, I love 2Pac, Jay Z, Talib Kweli, Biggie, Willie Nelson, Lil Wayne. I recently re- discovered Lauryn Hill. I love the truth in her music, she sings what she lives. There so much nonsense everywhere, but these artists really mean what the say...

On the evolution of Photography ?
The sad thing with Digital Photography, it seems like technology is dictating the art!

PS: To show is support to the people in Haiti, Schreiber has put on auction of his M.I.A. print; 100% of proceeds will go to Doctors Without Borders. Bid here

1 commentaire:

niki.mac a dit…

He's photography is fantastic! And I love that jumpsuit the girl is wearing in the 3rd photo. :)