Met this guy, 78, who wanted to sing Elvis to us

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Really loudly I might add, as we were on the boat to Manly Beach... Even this girl was surprised at how well he kept the tune. He also, sadly, beat me in an arm wrestle.
Posted March 10th, 2007 by Tony Bennett is Matt B's cousin
Did you just walk up to that girl and snap a photo of her?I'd be mad if someone did that to me.
Posted By: Jgonzalez on March 10th, 2007 at 03:32PM PST
Not really. She was hanging out with skater-kids at the video premiere...
Posted By: ed on March 10th, 2007 at 05:03PM PST
So you were taking photos all over the place?That seems more normal than if you just walked up to her and snapped one.
Posted By: Jgonzalez on March 10th, 2007 at 07:34PM PST
i hate how happy people with the will to live have to die, when there is worthless pukes like myself, just iching to snuff it and it just wont happen.
Posted By: Reae on March 10th, 2007 at 09:03PM PST
hey rease,go join the army.Then all your troubles would be snuffed for good.
Posted By: Uncle Sam wants you dead fer goo on March 10th, 2007 at 10:04PM PST
Some responses for ICANTADD,
I'm not done yet. Lemme know if you get these.

Your photos are often accompanied by text. When you’re shooting, do you make a conscious effort to take photos with the intent to adding words to it, or is it an after thought?

I never shoot with text in mind. Photography is such a pictoral storytelling device, but it is also very limited. You are cutting out so much compared to what the eye really sees. Not only are you editing your field of vision, but also editing time, only catching a fraction of a second when each time you take a photo. It is these shortcomings that drive me to sometimes write the broader story or set the scene for a photo. I just don’t think that the print itself should be considered so precious, like some schools teach. It’s still a piece of paper, and should be written on, used in a collage, cut, whatever helps tell the story.

While the subject of teenage smokers is obvious, what was the intended message behind the book?

There was no message really. I intentionally left out any judgements so that the viewer can make his/her own conclusions. I mean, I don’t smoke, and think it is vile, but I don’t think that sentiment comes through. People accused me of glorifying smoking with that book! Anyway, I suppose I hoped people would see the sadness of it, but also enjoy the rich visual contradiction it illustrated.

Some of your work is overtly sarcasitic or ironic; can you trace that influence back on anyone or is it just a by-product of your personality?

I don’t know. I never thought of anything I did as overly sarcastic, but if it is, then it would probably come from the books I read. I read a lot of social studies type books, media commentary and such. I feel like the best way to get your point across sometimes is through comedy. A good photograph often shows the irony of something without saying a word. Look at a TV show like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. That show has done a great deal of informing to the youth market because it uses irony and comedy. It candy coats the issues, but the underlying theme gets perfectly expressed.

Where do you personally draw the line of what is too controversial to shoot?

Nothing really. But I say that because I don’t go out and choose subjects to shoot like many photographers. Obviously I would draw the line where any reasonable person would. If I was sent to cover a war, I would photograph every aspect of it, even if that meant killing and rape. I would try to stop such things if it was within my power, but not at the risk of my life. I would hope that living to tell the tale and express it to the world would be moral grounds enough. But luckily, I am not in such a dire position. I shoot whatever lies in front of me as I travel the world as a skateboarder and artist, and anything that I see is fair game in my book. My grandma fell out of a moving car a few years back, and she was laying on the ground face down. I was sitting right there with my camera in hand. It looked amazing. What did I do? I put my camera down and jumped to help her. I hope that answers your question.

Do you think that moving to an area with a larger art community would benefit your art work? Or has living more separated from those influences helped you to better create your own brand of art?

In truth I am not really sure. I have always lived in a mildly isolated suburbia, so that is my excuse. For all I know, it would be way better to move to Los Angeles, or New York. There are great people living in those places, and lots of opportunities will come your way in those places. But for me, I am close enough to LA to reap the benefits, and far enough away to not be an LA douche-bag. And for sure living here in the suburban waste has an effect on who you are as a person. Seeing the world has given me a new perspective on where I live. It ‘s weird, and sorta lame sometimes, but it is home. All of these things naturally factor into what someone will create.

The work that you’ve done with Beautiful Losers is being highly regarded as a new trend in art. What do you think the biggest appeal of the exhibits is?

Being regarded as a new trend sounds really scary! My favorite part of the show is seeing artwork from people I love. Barry, Margaret, Thomas, Tobin, Chris, Jo, Clare, Glen, Craig, and more! A huge list of names. I consider all of these people in the show friends of mine. I think seeing Margaret Kilgallen’s work is the best part of the show.

A lot of your work focuses on suburban settings and suburban lifestyle; do you think that the advantages of suburban childhoods almost make life seem too simple and easy as opposed to kids who grow up in areas where money is short?

I did grow up in suburbia, but not the one you described! We had no money! I lived in a trailer park in Corona the year before starting to skate. I was the only white kid in the poor kids’ lunch line. My only skateboards came on Christmas and my birthday, everything else was a hand-me-down. I guess that misconception is part of what I am trying to say. People are the same anywhere you go. City or not. But in the suburbs people are delusional, its mostly a façade. Right behind that white picket fence is a daughter getting molested, a wife being beaten, and there is a homeless man behind those bushes. It’s the same shit, just made up to look like it’s not. At least in the city it’s right in your face. There are a lot of rich kids too, but I only see them in passing.

When you shoot photos do you approach it objectively, or do you ever try to direct the photo to create a better shot?

95% of the time I am shooting total documentary style. Objectively like you say. But then there is that 5% where I will, if possible, go and move a water bottle that is in my shot, or ask someone to let me take a photo of them. If I ask someone, I pretty much want them to be doing what they were doing when I saw them, so I sometimes ask them to just be natural like they were of not smile. It’s the worst when you see a great looking person, and you ask them for a portrait, and they smile and make a peace sign! I always wish I had just went up and shot them without asking. That is why I usually do! But to be clear, I never stage or set up a shot. I know photographers, like Ryan McGinley, who ask their friends to come to a certain place, get naked and do a certain thing, like acting in a movie. You get exactly what you want, but the authenticity, or reality of it is lost in my opinion. I am after reality. That doesn’t make Ryan’s photos not beautiful, because they are, they are just a constructed reality.

Your photos obviously will project who you are and your beliefs, but do you try to stay away from promoting those values, and why or why not?

I have no problem making a statement. I think it is spinless to go through your whole life wandering in the middle and having no opinions. I have opinions. And often times you can see where I am coming from in my artwork. I’m cool with that. I am a political animal. But I don’t want to be defined as a political artist. I feel like I am working on a much broader scale than any certain political system.

Have you ever been asked to remove a print from a show that you felt was either too important or the message behind was too important to be taken down, and what was the ultimate outcome of the situation? If you haven’t been asked, how would you react in such a situation?

I have been asked before, it was the first show that I put both photos and paintings up together. Some people at the place, Space 1026 in Philly, saw it as simply shock value. I passionately expressed how it was not such a thing, and left it in. I have dealt here and there with censorship, but nothing too bad so far. Nothing where I had to draw a line and possibly pull out of a show. There has been talk! All the artists were going to pull out of the Beautiful Losers show in Cincinnati, Ohio at one point because the museum directors wanted to censor Terry Richardson’s photos. We were all gonna walk in protest, even people who hated his photos. If it happens, I will take a stand if needed.
Posted By: ed on March 10th, 2007 at 11:16PM PST
"I am a political animal"

Sweet! Way to quote Aristotle Ed! haha.
That was a nice little question and answer session. I liked it
Posted By: Phil on March 11th, 2007 at 09:18AM PST
a few questions for ed.

What do you think the meaning of life is?

Do you ever secretly eat meat?

Has anyone won the Grif letter writing contest yet?

Who is your favorite skateboarder of all time other than yourself?

Posted By: money is cool but, hot ass bitch on March 11th, 2007 at 11:44AM PST
What is the meaning of existence?

And to that answer,Why?

Damn.No one knows the definate correct answer.I'm gonna ask god(if there is one) that in the afterlife(once again if there is one).
Posted By: Jgonzalez on March 11th, 2007 at 02:15PM PST
That dude just came
Posted By: Random Teenager on March 12th, 2007 at 02:20PM PST
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