April 4th, 2021 // Interviewer: Shane Allen // Photography
What are you trying to capture when taking photos?
I always look to capture something that tells my story of who I am, what I’ve seen, and where I’ve been. Something that feels unique and raw and isn’t just smiles and sunlight. A place that most don’t get to see are the places I love to explore and document. I guess it's my way of trying to pave my own way.
Do you have a good story from taking any of these pictures?
I had the opportunity to shoot Michael J Fox holding a pair of MAG’s for Nike a few years ago. I had about 30 seconds to get the shot in a dressing room at some major studio in NYC after he just got off the air on television for some talk show. It was a hectic moment and really quick but he was awesome and it’ll be something I won’t forget. I watched Back to The Future countless times growing up so capturing this was special.
What are some qualifications of something that catches your eye when shooting?
Symmetry. Leading Lines. Dilapidation. Isolation. Balance. Light.
What’s the best memory you have with your camera?
So many incredible moments. A moment off the top of my head I always enjoy thinking back on was being able to ride along and photograph on Land Rover’s BAR (AC45 foiling catamaran race boat) during one of their practice races in Lake Michigan. Otherwise, photographing in Tanzania was absolutely incredible. I saw a pack of 30 lines, a lioness capture and devour a baby zebra, hyaenas eating the remains of a wildebeest, just raw nature at its finest.
Do you remember how you got your first camera?
A: I had been on Instagram for about 5 months back in 2011 when I reached out to 13thWitness. I sent him a message through one of those 3rd party sites since that’s the only way to have contacted someone privately back then. He recommends what lens and body to get if I wanted to take photography seriously. It was the 5d MarkII (the III hadn’t come out yet) and a 35mm 1.4 prime lens. This was back at the end of November of 2011. My parents blessed me with that kit for Christmas the next month. 3 months later I had my first paid gig and was shooting for Nike.
What was the last photo that got away?
I lose photos every damn day. It happens too often for me to remember a single moment like that. That’s how quick moments happen and disappear, at least for me that is. When I’m shooting, I have to be fully aware, living in the moment, and just go for a shit. That’s probably why photography feels like a form of meditation most days.
How often do you travel? What do you enjoy about photographing a new city?
I haven’t gotten on a plane since Jan of 2020 actually so I haven’t been traveling much these days. With the pandemic still in play and countries around the world requiring 2-3 week quarantine lockdowns after arriving, I’m just not interested. I rather go on road trips around the states which is what I have been doing.
As photographers, we obsess ourselves with details of the streets, buildings, bus stops, trash cans, light poles, taxi cabs, corner stores, train stations, canals, etc. of each city. That said, when I immerse myself in a new city, especially in a new country, I get overwhelmed with info and my brain runs wild. Exploring a new city rejuvenates my brain, imagination, and passion for photography.
How important is an exploration to you?
There wouldn’t be a photo without the exploration. It’s everything. While a viewer could take 15-30 seconds to look at a photo, it could’ve taken me 15-30 hours of driving, hiking, and shooting the shit for just that one photo. If I didn’t love to explore, I’d be in the wrong game.
Most of your photos take place in dense cityscapes, do you think you’d be able to take pictures in less busy areas?
A: Absolutely. It’s just not ideal for me. I love the chaos, the energy, and the grit that comes with dense cityscapes
What’s the coolest abandoned building you’ve been to? Any good stories?
It’s hard to say, a safe answer would probably be the abandoned Central Hall station in NYC. Something just feels special when you’re there. I enjoy shooting abandoned banks the most though. Something about an abandoned vault door gets me hyped. As far as stories go, I fell through the roof of an abandoned synagogue while looking for an entry. I landed on a beam that prevented me from falling to my death.
What does the name trashhand mean to you?
A: It’s constantly evolving and changes all the time. Right now, trashhand is merely an idea that in the right hand or perspective, you can see things or change things for the better. That when you see something dilapidated or destroyed, you can still see some beauty and structure in it. When things feel chaotic and lost, you can still find some symmetry and harmony. But it’s also a mindset of no fucks given. Fuck permission, fuck forgiveness.