10 minutes with Noel Camardo

Interviews with Photographers November 25, 2014 7:52 pm

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

I come from an artistic family, but have terrible handwriting. At sixteen I found Photography, and it acted as an outlet for my creativity. I haven’t stopped taking photographs since I got my K1000 in 1996.

Who were the first photographers that inspired you?

Garry Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz, Josef Koudelka, Ralph Gibson and Robert Frank

Can you tell me about your project cellphone? When did you start photographing people on the street on their phones? At this point it feels like we all have become so used to seeing everyone glued to their screens – or we are the ones staring into one – what gave you the initial idea for the project?

I took the photo of two people involved in a collision while talking on their phones in 2012. The absurdity of it stuck with me for two years. I’ve been photographing the streets of NYC for awhile and have seen the steady increase in public phone use, it seems to be reaching a peak this past summer, the majority of the cellphone project was photographed in the spring and summer of 2014. The cellphone has become a part of public life, and changed the dynamic of public behavior. I’m amazed at how people can completely isolate themselves from their surroundings, the lack of self awareness and rudeness is startling. Also, I wanted to make some photographs that show the limbo that people get placed in when they are with another in public and that person takes out their phone, leaving the other person in an awkward communication limbo.

I love the shot of the woman and the construction worker barely colliding. Its disturbing how unaware they both are, but also almost looks like a beautiful dance. Are you still working on this series or any other personal projects?

While cellphone is completed, I am constantly making photographs for my project GIANT, a documentation of the state of the USA in the early 21st century. Also, I am preparing for a winter residency at 100WEST in Corsicana, Texas.

If you could go back ten years, what advice would you give yourself?

Photographically, don’t concern yourself with what you think other people will want to see, work as hard as you can producing what you want to see.

Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?

Don’t procrastinate projects, and take every opportunity to show your work in person.

Noel is based in New York. See more of his work, here.

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