10 minutes with Taylor Castle

Interviews with Photographers December 9, 2012 8:11 pm

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?

It sort of came in two waves. First was when I was 14 and skateboarding was my life. All I wanted to do was make skate videos and shoot photographs for Thrasher or Transworld. I took a high school photography class as soon as I could and definitely fell in love with it. I stuck with it through high school and eventually went to art school where I spent my freshman year as a photo major. But right after that, I decided to move out west and sort of lost focus. 

The second wave was when I was 20. I was living in Oregon and started working for 2 photographers just as a way to make some money. The industry wasn’t very big, so they were happy to have someone they could train to be their assistant. This is when I discovered that photography could become a viable career option, and a potentially lucrative one at that. I learned so much from them and quickly started to reapply myself towards a career in commercial photography.

Taylor Castle

Taylor Castle

Taylor Castle

 

Do you remember some of the first photographers that inspired you? Who inspires you today?

Yes, Jerry Uelsman. We were shown his photographs in my photo 1 class in high school. I still get chills thinking about how my imagination took off after seeing his work.

I have so many favorites now, the list is too long. In the commercial/editorial world I love Nigel Parry, Nadav Kander, Uwe Duettman, Danny Clinch, Chris Buck, Erwin Olaf, Carlos Serrao, Dan Winters to name a few. I’m constantly looking at new work, trying to stay fresh and inspired. And humbled i suppose.

Some of my favorite classics are Yosef Karsh, Diane Arbus, Wynn Bullock, George Hurrell, Arnold Newman, Melvin Sokolsky, Eugene Smith, Cecil Beaton, Herb Ritz, Irving Penn.

 

Taylor Castle

Taylor Castle

Taylor Castle

Have you ever thought of what you might be doing if photography hadn’t worked out?

Not really, it sort of scares me to do that. Sometimes I think about what I might do if photography doesn’t work out. I think I’d love to make furniture or be a helicopter pilot.

 

Taylor Castle

Taylor Castle

Taylor Castle

Who is your dream subject?

To be honest, I don’t really know. I love working with people who make me laugh and who not only trust me but really enjoy letting me take their picture. I can’t tell you how much fun it is when your subject starts giving you ideas and a collaboration takes hold. I guess those are my dream subjects. I don’t really care who it is. But maybe Bill Murray.

 

Taylor Castle

Taylor Castle

Taylor Castle

Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?
I think it’s important to have a plan. Know what kind of photographer you want to be. Don’t just wait for the world to send you a message telling you what to do and how to do it. Find your inspiration and go after it with a full head of steam. Find someone you can map your career after, someone you can learn from. You must Immerse yourself in your craft and have the desire to become the best at it. Learn and apply, and make sure you’re having a blast doing it.

 

(Taylor is based in Chicago. See more of his work, here)

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