10 minutes with Grant Cornett

Interviews with Photographers September 26, 2011 8:48 am
When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?

 

bit of story coming to that moment though ill keep it short.  a year after i moved to brooklyn i met a girl who shortly after we started kissing, it being spring and all, became pregnant.   that summer we flew back to my hometown in texas to attend my sisters wedding.  laura, the mother of my daughter brought her camera, a canon ae-1 which i took up as way to slow down remove myself from all that was going on.  i was already confused when i entered my 20’s and now all the more.  the camera settled me down on that trip, it gave me a vehicle to lose myself with.  we returned to new york, the film was developed, my friends of which many were photographers loved the work though i reckon it was awful stuff and that was that, i would become a photographer now.

 

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

 

 

Looking at how you originally got into photography, when and how did you learn the technical skills to be the photographer that you are today?

 

as mentioned in talking about my finding photography i had many friends who were photographers at the time.  one friend had a b/w lab set up in her apartment, she taught me how to process and print and then gave me a key to her apartment.  another friend worked at print space ( colour printing studio ) in the city, she taught me colour printing and gave me some deep discounts on time there.  not that any of that knowledge is put to use in my life today but it was great to be able to go out and make images and be able to view them so quick, daily.  i spent a lot of my life then in the dark and on the street.  then i started to assist, friends at first and then some bigger named folk.  largest amount of my assisting career was spent with a commercial still life photographer who in hindsight i didnt learn to much off of and a commercial beauty photographer who was a total ass of man but i gained a lot of lighting knowledge and an idea on how to not treat people.  from there i fell into a career that i am not so proud of but learned heaps.  the digital editorial world of product photography began.  conde nast started the game, built their own studios and cut out the film, studio and equipment fee and assisitant and gave one all they needed along with a good day rate.  ive spent years doing that work, reckon it started in 2003.  it paid well, afforded me a lot of free time and gave me all the time i needed to learn how to light.  bit like getting paid to go to the gym, you get strong at what youre working on but the end result, the image did absolutely nothing for my career but without that knowledge i wouldnt know what i know now.  to really break it all down though, i learned what i know by making many a mistake and then fixing it.

 

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

 

Who/what would your dream subject or location be?

easy one that question.  i’m looking to buy a camper in australia and spend a year wondering around working on what i find and then come out with a document of that land.  as far i understand it is one of the last western countries that has not been investigated as a whole.  america has been tramped over and over, europe since the birth of photography, africa, india, south america all great lands that have been explored and photographed.  true there’s many fine documents of the surf culture, landscape, aboriginal culture etc… but there’s something about a one person narrative that comes out of a long look at a place with no other initiative other than just being there then seeing what grows.

 

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett


Are you currently working on any personal projects?

currently i’ve been working on still life’s with my girlfriend who’s a painter which has been rad and quite educational.   this winter i’m planning on working on some motion pieces.  earlier this summer i found a way to to change the light within a single image that when sequenced it appears time is changing.  its quite time intensive and i’m thinking this winter will offer up some hours for me to improve the process.  you can see the summer made piece here.

 

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett

 

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

make yourself vulnerable.

 

(Grant is based in New York. See more of his work, here.)

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