forty five - brian ferry interview

i am so happy to share some words from brian ferry, who very kindly agreed to an interview. he's one of my favourite photographers.

hunt / gather:
how did you get started with photography?

brian ferry: I got started on a whim, really. Probably back in 2006 or 2007, I was looking at photos on Flickr a lot and feeling really inspired, and I thought to myself: "maybe I can do this." So I picked up a cheap point-and-shoot camera to start, and just started playing around. I was in law school at the time, and thinking creatively was a welcome diversion from my studies. In 2008, I decided to take a photo every day for the entire year (a Project 365) in an attempt to shoot lots of photos and learn more about photography. It did the trick, and I was hooked. I've been pretty obsessed with shooting photographs ever since.

hg: your work seems to focus on small moments; a bit of light in a corner, a breakfast spread. why these kinds of shots? what do they mean to you?

bf: I like to take things that seem quite unexceptional and elevate them. My life (and all of our lives, really) is made up of these small moments and I really enjoy documenting them - the process of doing so infuses them with a bit more meaning than you would otherwise think. And I think people really react to this style of photography, mostly because it feels familiar, intimate, universal. There is a quote by the designer Dries van Noten that describes my intentions well: "It's more interesting to have just a picture of a small detail - then you can dream all the rest around it. Because when you see the whole thing, what is there to imagine?" I love that.

hg: why film in particular?

bf: There is no comparison with digital, in my mind. No matter how nice your digital camera is, film has a quality to it that cannot be reproduced. There are often times when I know that a particular shot would not look interesting on digital, but film will infuse it with this inexplicable quality of light or color or texture. And shooting with film feels more authentic to me - the process appeals to me. It's slower than digital, and I tend to spend more time thinking about a shot and composing it than I do with a digital camera (with digital, you will shoot 40 images of the same thing, delete all but 2 of them, and then upload your shots to Photoshop to doctor them up - that is not a process that interests me). Film feels honest and organic to me.

hg: do you have a favourite shot you've taken? a picture you want to take?

bf: It would be so hard to choose a favorite photo that I've taken, but this one is close (I think it's the light, and it is a particularly good memory for me).

As for a picture I want to take, that's also hard. I guess I want to take more portraits, using my Hasselblad medium format camera. It takes beautiful photos.

hg: where are you finding inspiration these days?

bf: Everywhere. The new Bill Callahan album, "Apocalypse." My pinterest inspiration board. My flickr favorites. The changing light at this time of year and the different spots the light reaches in my flat. And I always find a ton of inspiration from other photographers online.

hg: do you have a dream setting or place you'd like to shoot?

bf: I would love to shoot in the Scandinavian countryside.

hg: if you could be a song, which song would you be? why?

bf: I don't know if I'd ever want to be a song! I like being a human.
All joking aside, one of my all-time favorite songs is "Life During Wartime" by the Talking Heads. I love it because I've known this song since I was a kid - my dad was a big Talking Heads fan and we used to listen to this on cassette tape in his car when we were driving around. And he used to sing along all the time, and my brother and I loved it. As I have gotten older, this song is still one of my favorites, it never gets old, and I still sing along when I play it.

thank you so much, brian! have a look at brian's portfolio, blog, and flickr.


  1. Brian's work is truly amazing...thanks for sharing this with us!

  2. great interview. brian is an inspiration!

  3. Wonderful! Brian is simply brilliant.......

  4. a grand peek into one of the best! thanks.