Interview with… Brandon Mitchell

Photos by Brandon Mitchell

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Brandon Mitchell currently lives in New York City (after spending time living in San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and his hometown of San Jose) where he records music under the name Altair Nouveau and takes photographs under the name Brandon Mitchell.

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1) When did you start to think about photography?
I’ve only really started to think much about it recently. I’ve taken photos for quite awhile, but with the exception of a short time in college I’ve never really thought much about photography at all (although I’ve always basically enjoyed it and produced a lot of pictures).

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2) What does it mean photography for you?
It’s a hobby that I’m trying to take slightly seriously. But no more than slightly seriously, or I think I get a little hindered by overthinking and self-doubt.

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3) Witch kind of photography do you like more?
I like William Eggleston a lot. I like reflections, lights, shadows, and colors. I especially value work that creates a very strong feeling of place and I’m generally more drawn to color photography than black and white. I like some portraits a little bit, but I like environments more.

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4) When you take a portrait, what is important for you?
I like for the subject to be well integrated into the photo’s surrounding elements if possible. I often dislike photographs in which the background is thrown out of focus since too many subjects are just not-quite-interesting-enough to carry the image on their own. If I can’t have a worthy backdrop then I’m happy with capturing a bit of action or a distinctive pose if I can, but really I just snap away and try for the best. I don’t think I often really shoot proper portraits anyway though. More just like people doing things.

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5) Do you think it’s important to follow a school to learn how to shoot?
Not at all. I’ll bet everyone pretty much agrees on this though, right?

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6) What’s the photo you want to take and you never did?
There are far too many missed opportunities to count. Too often I’ve slowly realized that I was looking at a good photograph while all of the elements quickly drifted away from one another. It’s an instinct that I’m trying to improve but it will probably be a long time until I feel I’ve gotten that one worked out. Then again, sometimes the (possibly) macho virtuosity of the decisive moment can get a little overplayed, can’t it? The world is full of great slow photographs.

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7) What’s your photo-mission?
No mission other than to take more pictures and improve.

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