Easy Conversation: Jorge Camarotti

Jorge Camarotti is a prolific and gifted photographer. With features and covers for Nylon, Trace, and Neo2 - to name a few- Camarotti is a passionate and fine esthete who's work is as rich and fascinating as the character himself.

A couple of weeks ago, we met for a cup of tea and it went a little something like this...

Can you please introduce yourself ?

My name is Jorge Camarotti, I’m originally from Sao Paulo - Brazil but I’ve been leaving in Quebec for about 7 years.

Do you have any formal training in photography?

No, I studied communications and packaging design and worked as an art director for seven years before I decided to become a photographer. I worked for sometimes in the advertising industry and then by coincidence I kind of changed path.

As a young kid I use to buy photography magazines but I did not know why. Then I had this teacher who was in house photographer at an agency and he was able to get me an internship. Ever since the first day I put my foot in the studio, everything has changed.

I really enjoy being a photographer. The more you enjoy what you do the better you get because you have a drive. I have now been in the profession for 10 years.

Describe your creative process ?

Music is always first. Sometimes, I listen to music and the lyrics and at some point in the lyrics I find a word or a sentence and wonder how to translate that into photography.

Do you work with a big team or stay by yourself?

Now I am getting bigger and bigger teams, just because I don’t have any choice. -I do like smaller teams better. I recently worked on this shoot with 21 models and it was almost like a movie set.

Tell us a bit about your experience with musicians ?

When I do a good portrait it is because the person trusts me. It is a transparency. When I shot Feist for Trace Magazine, it was just her, myself ,my 35 mm camera in a Brooklyn apartment; we were just talking and taking photos and asking her about how she started her career. When I shot Santigold, - who’s by the way just an adorable person, I had heard of her music just couple of times before meeting her so I was not really familiar. I photographed her in a tiny studio in Brooklyn it was a very laid back shoot for NEO2, At the time of the shoot, we did not know we had the cover and we shot the day before Obama was elected. Also, I had tried to work for them for 3 years and to find out I had the cover was major. Overall it was a huge week.

Soon after I shot her, she came gave a sold-out performance, in Montreal that’s when I realized just how big she was!

Who are some the artists that have influenced your work?

Richard Avedon, I like the simplicity and the path he followed in his career. He’d go from the super glamorous to the really strong portraits - like the Kennedys to Janis Joplin. The way he photographed them, he would catch SOMETHING and this is really inspiring. As a photographer, you have the freedom to do almost anything you want with your subject. You can make someone look super cool or super bad. Great photographers have this power to show truth.

Basquiat. I did my university thesis in school on his work. I’m also a fan of Alejandro González Iñárritu really like the guy that 21 grams. His movies almost give you the feeling feel that there is no script. I love how he works with his screenwriter and also the editing work.

Would you be interested in experimenting with other art forms

I see things in motion and that’s why I have a more lifestyle brand for photography, When I have my insight, I see in motion and not shots. I always had this inclination to film but I find the process long. I’ve been doing short videos for my clients more and more. I’m currently finishing a documentary “Viuvas da Secas” about an unusual group of widows in the dry and arid Nordeste of Brazil.

Are you working on any other projects?

I want to start this project about waiters and I want to take pictures of them. For a lot of people, it’s their first job. I’m Interested in their stories and I want to make a book and possibly a video interview.

Visit Jorge's website for more of his work + news

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