Thursday, 19 May 2011

Interview with Scott Teitler

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Hello Scott. Would you like to introduce yourself to my readers? I don’t expect them to have heard of you as they didn’t know who Rankin was when I posted my q&a with him! (Seriously, they’re such morons!)

Hi Portis Wasp! Thanks for the opportunity. I am a photographer of people; some are celebrated for their talent, some for their beauty, or a combination thereof.


“I wake up at around 7am every morning, milk a cow, take a stroll down to the well for some fresh water, pick some flowers, head back inside for a workout, swim 20 laps in the pool, blend some fruit, cook up some eggs, eat breakfast out on the patio then take another stroll in the opposite direction down to my home studio. Spend the day shooting some terrifically good looking people, skip dinner as it’s a no carbs day, walk the dogs along the beach, return home and edit for an hour or two, recline on the balcony with a glass of wine before retiring to bed with my copy of The Secret.”

Now does the above sound like an average day in the life of you, as 9 times out of 10 this is the answer I get from the photographers interviewed! :)

That is uncanny, as I have the exact same regimen, although I retire to bed with a copy of Linda Goodman's Sun Signs.


So jealous! So Scott, I’ve noticed a recurring theme in your work – good looking models. Now I’m fine with this, don’t get me wrong, I agree that ugly people shouldn’t be captured on film. But I want to know, does spending your days shooting fit bodied pretty faced models warp your view of the world and make it hard for you to do simple things like walk down the street on a day off, what with so much ugliness around?

I don't see that much ugliness actually, as I live in Florida, where suntans and fitness and marvelous plastic surgeons abound. To answer your question a bit more seriously, I do try to find the beauty in everyone, as that is my job. I am not an elitist in that way at all. When one understands how much goes on to "create" a beautiful image, the whole concept gets turned on its head.


Tell me, can you recall the moment when you decided you wanted to become a Photographer or when it at least became a priority for you? (Assuming it is a priority in your life! – if not we might need to cut this short.)

Priorities. Hmm... Well, I can tell you this: At least ten plus years ago, when I was single, photography was very much a priority, and I had a good deal of success. I was traveling a lot and photographing a bunch of famous people - Justin Timberlake, Enrique Iglesias, Sly Stallone, Ricky Martin, Tyra Banks, Isabella Rossellini, and shooting for big U.S. magazines. What I saw was that it was hard to balance that life with marriage and family. I dialed down the career and now have a wife and three children to show for it. Just recently I decided to get back into the swing of things full force. As I write this I am traveling for a month for work, and I can honestly tell you it is not easy.


How do you approach a shoot, whatever the job is? Do you have a ritual/any quirks or special preparation that you need to do each time to get yourself psyched for it?

Homework is essential, the more prepared the better, although photo shoots are organic things that just take their own form once all the personalities are put together, it is a bit like planning a good party - The right people, good food, and music. I try to connect with who I am shooting, or at least find out as much as I can about them. I remember reading years ago that Kate Moss liked to listen to "Guilty" by Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb, (who would have thought?) so if we were ever to shoot (HELLO, KATE!) that song would be playing. Those details can mean a lot.


Got it! If I was to ask you for one highlight in your career so far, it would be?

When I was in my twenties I shot my first national US cover, for Seventeen Magazine. Going to the grocery store, standing in line to check out, and seeing my work on the cover for the first time was an unmatched thrill.

And have you any favourite models that you enjoy working with?

Niki Taylor is one for sure. For those too young to remember she was part of the "Supermodels" of the late 90's. We recently worked together again and she is as amazing as ever.


Seconded - stunner! Can you list some of your favourite photographers working today (or deceased) and talk a little about why you like them?

Cristiano Madureira is wonderful, a big talent. Ryan McGinley challenges me. I still think about the old Benetton ads from Oliviero Toscani. That was probably the reason I became a photographer. I still have a thing for Scavullo; he made so many people look their very best. As an aside, I once was talking to Bruce Weber, years ago, about another photographer I admired, and I mentioned that this photographer always made people look beautiful, and Bruce became very stern and said beauty is never enough. But I would respectfully disagree. I believe beauty can stand on its own. Every photographer has something they want to "say" but honestly after a while we are all just saying the same thing over and over again. Bill King was amazing in the 70s; his work had incredible energy and was so uplifting. Herb Ritts - his work is timeless, iconic. And Bruce, of course. There is a straightforward, solid, optimistic American-ness to Bruce's work. I can put it this way: Most photographers can only make sexy look dirty. Bruce is the master of making sexy look innocent.


Which magazines did you buy religiously when growing up and which magazines do you buy religiously now?

Growing up I would buy everything - GQ and Esquire for sure. Now I can tell you the JCrew and Anthropologie catalogues I receive in the mail are more interesting than much of the photography I see in magazines.

Do you have a bucket list of models/celebs or personalities you are dying to shoot, and if so feel free to share?

I am not so much like that. The person I am shooting, at that moment they are my obsession, let's take the most beautiful photos and make them feel like a star, whether they are one or not.


A celebrity crush for 2011?

I am probably late to this party, but Florence Welch. Brilliant.

A guilty pleasure you can’t seem to quit?

Eating homemade ginger biscotti. Can't stop at one... (or two....)

Would you like to ask Portis Wasp a question?

YES! Who did the collage on the homepage of your site? And how can I hire them? Genius!

His name is Portis Wasp. He made the collage in less than twenty minutes and he feels that while it is fun and all kinds of crazy (as was intended) if he had only given himself twenty minutes more he might already be working for Scott Teitler.

Note: will work for free (one time offer).


If I was to gift you a one way ticket to anywhere in the world, but you weren’t allowed to return, where would you go and why?

As I said, I am traveling for work right now, and my one way ticket anywhere would be right back home.

Thanks Scott, you've been an absolute pleasure! Looking forward to working for you... Monday start suit you?


www.scottteitler.com



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