HIROSHI WATANABE: THE DAY THE DAM COLLAPSES

California-based Japanese photographer Hiroshi Watanabe has released his latest body of work: The Day the Dam Collapses. Unusual for Watanabe (and you know this if you’re a fan), this new drop consists of digital snapshots taken over the course of 5 years—since his son was born and he had to replace his Hasselblad with diapers and milk bottles.

 

The series has a few gravitating visual metaphors that paint a plethora of dwindling life cycles and desolate beauty reigning as a focal point. In other words, we’re all gonna die but life is precious, fragile. Grab your copy here, but more importantly, take in this interview with the artist we found on Lens Scratch.

 

Q & A: LANCE GROSS + GREYSCALE EXHIBIT

On the 4th floor of Siren Studios in West Hollywood, actor and photographer Lance Gross is scolding the showroom, looking at his pieces, making sure each matte black frame is hanging as flawlessly as the art it houses. White couches and a single bar in effortless sight accents the spaces minimalist décor. Just as the sun nestles into the crevice of Saturday’s back pocket, he’s anxious and excited as guests start to arrive.

Lance has been busy traveling across China as Howard University’s newest global ambassador, wrapping up acting gigs with the season finale of Crisis airing just a few weeks back. He’s also preparing to welcome a baby into the mix with longtime girlfriend, stylist Rebecca Jefferson and now, hosting his first private exhibit. We got the invite and an exclusive with this creative to shed some light on the inspiration behind the exhibit—and to pick his brain about photo taking technique.

LA CANVAS: What is the first thing that comes to mind before opening your first exhibit?

LANCE GROSS: The details. I’m a stickler for details. I’ve been to a lot of shows […] I don’t want to diss anybody on presentation but I’m all about the details. I want it to look good, I want everything to be uniform, framed, matted and I emphasize that.

LAC: People hear Lance Gross and could immediately jump to Marcus Finley, Calvin Payne or any other character you’ve played on TV. Tell me about Lance Gross the photographer + what about expanding beyond performing arts sparked your interest?

LG: I know it sounds cliché but there is something about capturing moments that are timeless and that can live forever. I’ve always been interested in it, since I was younger. Photography for me, it’s mine. When I get called to act in a play or movie or TV show, it’s not mine; it’s someone else’s script. But this is truly mine, my outlet, my therapy if you will. It’s a hobby I’ve had for a while and I just enjoy doing it.

LAC: What was the inspiration behind Greyscale?

LG: This is my first show and brainstorming the concept, I wanted to do something that was important to me and that was darker-toned African-American women. It’s because I’m a darker-toned African-American male. I was picked on when I was young for being that and I feel like there’s a void still. It’s getting better. I don’t want to turn it into a light-skinned versus dark-skinned thing but I am team darksin so I wanted to represent what I know.

LAC: Judging by your work, you’re no amateur. You showcase a series of portraits, landscapes, architecture, and even a little bit of glamour via your Instagram account. How would you describe your style?

LG: My style switches up a lot, so it’s really just based in the mood I’m in. It’s really about capturing a moment with an image that I love and so I like to switch it up often.

LAC: How do you choose your subjects?

LG: It’s really just something or someone that catches my eye. It could be an agency model, it could be celebrity or just someone walking down the street I think is interesting.

LAC: You would stop them?

LG: [Laughs] Yea, well it’s a constant struggle. I’m shy and nobody really believes that I’m shy and that’s the awkward part, asking people to shoot. I’ll have my friends ask for me or sometimes I’ll have my fiancée ask for me. That’s the part I’m still working on.

LAC: Tell us what we can expect from Lance Gross the photographer in the future.

LG: It’s growing; I’m getting a lot of clientele. I just shot the cover art for Goapele’s new album. The sky is the limit at this point. I do want to stress that this is a hobby, my side hustle, my outlet, my therapy. I’m an actor and it’ll always be my first love. This is the fun stuff for me.

Lance Gross Photography ONLINE Gallery will be launching on Sept 15. It will be open for viewing as well as purchase. To view his gallery of one-of-a kind art pieces, click here.

21 QUESTIONS: PHOTOGRAPHER ALEX DE MORA

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Lifestyle photographer and London-native Alex de Mora has snapped everyone from Shaun White and Kreayshawn to Slash and the Queen and you can peep his work in publications like Vice and i-D mag, as well as LAC’s very own Future issue. We’ve always wanted an imperialist (we kid!) pen pal, here’s to hoping he gives us a call next time he’s on this side of the pond.

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So, what’s up?

I’m currently stuck behind my laptop screen editing a bunch of pictures.

Can we get you something to drink?

Sure, I’m a bit under the weather so I’ve been drinking tea with fresh lemon and whisky. One of those, please.

Favorite thing to look at?

My laptop screen, evidently.

Rock, paper, or scissors?

Scissors, as it doubles up for a good old British hand gesture.

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Do anything last night?

I went with friends to a football match in London. I’m a big Chelsea fan.

How late did you stay up?

I was still up at 4.30am trying to rescue my cat after she got stuck in the basement. Crazy, crazy night.

Meals or snacks?

If I’m shooting I often forget to eat, so definitely snacks. Savory snacks.

Do you sit down in the shower?

I used to do that when I was a kid but, alas, no more.

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Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party? Have to be alive.

Emilia Clarke, José Mourinho, Bjork and Elton John.

Your biggest fan?

Strange question… maybe that bored person who went through and liked every single picture on my Instagram.

If life could resemble any film…

The Big Lebowski. I like dressing gowns and white russians.

Who would you commission to take your portrait?

Juergen Teller.

Your favorite hiding spot in LA?

Griffith Park is  a pretty sweet spot. You mean dead bodies or just to hang out?

Blue or black ink?

Black. My friends actually call me ‘Black Al’ because I wear a lot of black.

A shoot you most regret?

I don’t have many of them to be honest. I love what I do!

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Cotton or wool socks?

It’s more about the design of a good sock, than the materials for me.

When was the last time you really froke out at someone?

I had a personal freak out with myself earlier.

What was the first thing you said aloud this morning?

Probably “cough, cough cough.“

Are you listening to music right now?

I’m listening to Jon Hopkins album ‘Immunity’ for about the 100th time this year.

Your dream project?

I like to combine fashion with documentary, so probably a big campaign that documents a real story at the same time.

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If we gave you $50, what would you buy?

Probably some rolls of film and a few beers.

Last 3 Google searches?

Fred Herzog, Metal veil, Mel C.

What are you doing later?

Drinking more tea with lemon and whisky.

Can we come?

Sure, just be careful you don’t catch my cold or get stuck in the basement.

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All photos by Alex de Mora

Stylist: Kylie Griffiths

Hair and Make Up: Lydia Warhurst

Models: Brian Balchin @ FM Models and Rebecca Arnold @ Nevs

 

 

IN FOCUS: BI-COASTAL PHOTOGRAPHER, ANDREW KUYKENDALL

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Andrew Kuykendall claims the east (NYC) and west (LA) coasts as his points of origin – and it shows. He takes his high fashion clientele from the NYC likes, and gives them a laid-back and often hazy photographic vibe, much like the attitude of us Angelenos. Whether it is the technical skills he carries behind the camera or the power to bring out the rebellious side of his models and the scenery – he gives us more than pretty faces in expensive clothes. His little black book is filled with contacts from Nylon, Oyster, and even Target. The man has been everywhere and currently his work resides alongside Jason Lee Parry at Park Studios Hollywood until November 7th.

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GIRL WONDER: PETRA COLLINS

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Once again, we wonder what these pregnant moms were drinking in the 90s. The young talent pool is filled, and we are jealous – okay, not exactly jealous, more like intrigued

At the age of 20, Petra Collins has a list of titles: Curator, artist, photographer, muse, model, creative director, etc, etc. Her work has been featured in Vice, Rookie, i-D, Bullet, Vogue Italia, and the list goes on.

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She is part dreamy and part controversy. Inspired by the age-old idea that young female sexuality should be kept hidden, she uses her photos to bring the conversation to the forefront. Using nostalgia and scantily clad females she plays with the male gaze phenomenon, ultimately turning the idea on its head. Her work is the epitome of the female gaze. The subjects are empowered with only a hint of natural vulnerability, as they go through everyday life – not always doing what you want them to do. Sex, menses, high school, feminism and badass babes are words only attempting to sum up the perfection that is Petra Collins and her art.

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PICTURE PERFECT: LEICA GALLERY LA

Since its introduction in 1925, Leica’s reputation has preceded itself, its commitment to excellence never faltering among the millennial generation’s lust for instant gratification. So when Leica decided to open a new gallery space in the heart of Los Angeles, they, predictably, took their time and did it right. Upon entering the 8,000 square foot space, I am greeted with a flood of natural light, a well-clad staff on deck, and a gargantuan, metallic Leica sculpture built by Chinese artist Liao Yibai. It is one hell of an introduction, as “after all,” says Roland Wolff, VP of Marketing and Corporate Retail, “everyone knows that you only have one chance to make a first impression.” Tiffany’s window-shopping be damned, this is a gadget-hoppers dream, a camera-lover’s heaven, a photojournalist’s paradise. You are entering an elite club, and you’d be a fool not to take note.

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But geeking out among the pristine cases of vintage and contemporary lenses will have to wait. Upstairs, the gallery beckons. I am given a tour of the space by curator, Annie Seaton, who describes in detail the incredible history of the brand and what’s in store for the gallery’s upcoming exhibitions. Breathtaking prints by iconic photographer, Mary Ellen Mark line the walls of a space that has been retrofitted to host Leica Akademie workshops, with projections built into the ceiling and hidden walls appearing as if out of thin air. There is a small library curated by celebrated Magnum photographer, Martin Parr, where guests are invited to peruse his selections of some of the best photo books the publishing world has seen. Double glass doors lead to a gorgeous outdoor (why yes, there’s an outside!) patio. I grab one of the books from the gallery and find my way to a shadowed corner on the patio and read away, mesmerized by images and totally relaxed in this hidden oasis just off Beverly Boulevard.

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Below the gallery, lies the equally well-curated store, home to the entire range of new Leica products, along with a number of their rare and vintage pieces. From a gold-plated, special edition Leica created for the Sultan of Brunei, to their entire line of the brand new and highly coveted Summilux motion picture lenses, the store is an optical sanctuary, housing some of the most cherished and influential cameras in photographic history. I am enthralled with the staff’s knowledge, and they are quick to school me on all things photography. Many of their cameras are made by hand in batches of 15, taking up to four to six weeks to produce. Apprenticeship in their factory can take up to a full year before handling the precious cargo is even allowed. And with their technologically advanced rangefinder system, it’s no wonder that photojournalists across the world are keen to call this camera their own.

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READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN OUR ISSUE HERE

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text + photo RACHEL MANY