Thursday, January 22, 2015

Artist Spotlight : Tim Flach

We are great admirers of Tim Flach's work.  His photographs capture the essence of an animal, but like any good art form, these images also spark an emotional reaction in the viewer.  Tim isn't afraid to push some boundaries, and his images speak for themselves.  We had the chance to find out more about Tim- how he got started, the underlying message he hopes you'll take away from his books, and what's next!

Q. Did you always want to be a photographer?

A. I drew and painted as a child and always knew that I wanted to do something visual. It wasn't until I did a one year foundation course before university, at age 18 that I actually picked up a camera.

Q. What was your mission as a photographer when you started your career?

A. At first it was survival mode ie. to pay the rent and as time passed I became more proactive at choosing the subjects that I shot, without worrying too much about paying the bills.

Q. How has that mission evolved through the years?

A. As more doors opened for me I saw greater possibility of employing photography as a medium to encourage debate around some of the challenges we face in our relationship to nature.

Q. First Dogs, and now More That Human are among our best selling publications. What is it about these books that create such a strong connection with people?

Flying Mop

A. The dog itself has a unique relation to us; having gone from the kennel to the sofa and thus becoming more part of the family than ever before. As a species we have shaped it more than any other species on the planet. With respect to More Than Human iconic animals as pandas, tigers and chimps have been juxtapositioned against snakes, cockroaches and ants thereby introducing many debates of how we shape the animals and the meaning of the images around them.

Featherless Chicken

Q. What do you hope that readers will take away from More Than Human?

A. To demonstrate how we are both shaping animals and the meaning around their images.

Q. What do you do to prepare for a shoot with animals?

Baby panda Bao Bao at the Smithsonian National Zoo

A. Research into the behaviour of the animals and sometimes using a stuffed toy as a stand in to work out lighting helps reduce the time the animal spends on set. I have always liked the Pablo Picasso quote, “I do not seek, I find.” I accept that one needs some kind of structural framework on a shoot and I try to know the limitations while trying not to presume to know what will occur. In the realisation of work you could break down the creative process into three stages. The first, is planning, having a loose framework and a working idea. Second is the day of the shoot, when I try and be present and allow things to reveal themselves, and maybe to be surprised by what I find. The third is to understand the resulting image in terms of how it works for me, and for others. The end result will often operate differently to how I expected it to, and I have to be open to that.

Q. What are some of your favorite photos from More Than Human?

A. Some of my images I grow away from, and some I grow toward over time. There are however some constant favourites that will always hold relevance for me, such as the fruit bats the wrong way up, horse mountain and the featherless chicken.

Horse Mountain

Q. What are some of your favorite locations you've traveled for your subjects?

A. Some of the most memorable locations don't necessarily correlate to the best pictures. Having breakfast with the cowboys in Rocky Mountains before setting out to gather the mustangs and spending the night in a crumbling palace in Rajasthan discussing Marwari horses with the maharajas are special recollections. Sometimes its not about the place but the people you meet along the way.

Q. What are you working on next?

A. Currently we are putting together an editorial outline of a book with the working title Endangered which will revolve around the various ways in which people are taking action against the environmental impacts on nature.

Thank you Tim!  Click here to purchase More Than Human.

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