Thursday, 6 June 2013

Interview with Tom Bianchi

Interview with Tom Bianchi

Hello Tom! Would you like to introduce yourself to my readers?
Tom here. (Not Mr. Bianchi as I've been called in the press recently.)

Talk me through an average day in the life of you?
Wake up. Make love with my lover - pretty much every morning of our life. Walk Molly (our Ewok baby disguised as a dog). Answer mail. Edit photos for website / blogs / instagram / tumbler. Go to the gym. If I have a shoot - make sure the camera batteries are charged. Drinks at the end of the day. Make dinner with Ben. Watch a TV show perhaps. In bed by midnight - usually.

So how did you discover photography? From what I’ve read you started out on a very different path before 'properly' embracing your creative side!
I started as a lawyer - was given an SX 70 Polaroid camera by my employer (Columbia Pictures) - took it to the beach at the Pines - a guy talked me into making "dirty" pictures - the rest is history.

So what is it about photography as a creative medium that you enjoy the most, and what do you hope to capture every time you take a photograph?
I love that you can record life in an instant. I look for the beauty and life spark in us. I love that a photograph can be a potent political tool for change. I've used my photographs to show the beauty of queer vision and consciousness.

How would you describe your photographic style?
In essence - I look for art in real life moments. I'm a documentarian who loves those moments when reality becomes sublime.

And what would you say influences you and your photography the most?
A question - or questions. Is the image one that expands my vision? Does the image show me something I have not seen?  Does the image convey a sense of wonder?  Does the image turn me on?

You recently released a (beyond gorgeous) book filled with the SX-70 Polaroids that you took in Fire Island Pines in the 1970s. Tell me a little about that time in your life and how you feel today when you look back on this collection of memories?
I was privileged to live in this extraordinary time and place. I look back with enormous gratitude that I was able to record our lives and show the world who we were and are. I look back with pride - and love for those who shared this experience with me.

A recurring theme in your work is the celebration of the male form. How would you describe the men that feature in your photography and what features do you find most attractive in the men you photograph?
The quality I love most in a man is - availability. Is the man available to himself - to his sexual energy?  Has he cultivated whatever he was blessed with physically?  Does he like sharing his energy - does he play well with others?  If he's an exhibitionist with hard abs - I can't ask for more.

You also appear naked yourself in a number of your photos. I take it you’ve always been comfortable about showing your body?
LOL - No. As a kid I was extremely shy about nudity. For years I didn't think I'd be a fit subject for such photos. Then I found out we all were pretty much in the same boat on the self image issue. So I decided that if the guys I was shooting could strip down despite their reservations, so could I.

Aside from your photography, what else are you working on at the moment?
Ben and I are thinking about painting the wall at the end of our pool orange. Of course, that relates to photography since we take a lot of pictures around our pool.

How do you like to spend your time when not working?
No one thinks that what I do is work.

A guilty pleasure you can’t seem to quit?
I read Vanity Fair and Motor Trend - now the New Yorker again - cover to cover each issue.

A song that makes your heart skip a beat?
"Good Morning Baltimore" from Hairspray. I don't know why. I've never even been to Baltimore.

Tom Bianchi Fire Island Pines Romantic Couple

If the world were coming to an end and you were allowed one last kiss, who would be lucky enough to land on your lips?
That would either be my lover Ben or our dog Molly - whoever got there first.

Do you have any regrets?
I don't know how this terrible thing happened - but I was born without a trust fund. (Coupled with great taste - that's a bummer.)

What happens next?
We celebrate the success of FIRE ISLAND PINES | Polaroids 1975 - 1983. Now we arrange gallery shows of those photos - and go to the beach.

Thanks Tom!

For more of Tom's work visit his website and to order your copy of Fire Island Pines click here.


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