Justin Tyler Close

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m Canadian
I live in Los Angeles
Currently living/working in Berlin on a project.
I write stories and make movies
I take pictures
I fear death.
But it inspires me.
Images help me remember.

Did you have an artistic background growing up?

No real artistic background.
I grew up playing Basketball and that’s all I knew.
I did just find out my great grandfather “Fred Close” was a pretty famous poet.
My mother is a pastry chef and my brother is an actor / writer.
My father was an athlete and now a successful entrepreneur.
I think my brother and I inherited our storytelling urges from Fred.

How did you get into photography?

I went to film school and kind of hated it. Mostly the competitiveness.
Everyone was fighting and begging for approval. I felt trapped.
So I started shooting photos and setting up shoots on my own.
And I loved it because it was all mine. I had total freedom to create.
I think until this day, I’m quite possessive over my creative process because of this experience. Photography was an outlet for my sanity during school, and because I run a magazine now and a pretty busy production company, it continues to be my outlet for freedom and my piece of mind.

What kind of photographer are you?

I like anything that isn’t perfect.
I shoot only film and accept its chaos and mystery.
I search for moments and moments inside of other moments. Hidden secrets!
I am definitely a photographer that documents life and doesn’t really give a shit about technology. I more like forming relationships with people who inspire me, then documenting it. That’s really all I do.
It’s truly about the person I’m shooting and how we get a long.

How would you define your style?

I don’t like this question. I think that explains it. =)

What gear do you use and why?

I use film cameras, disposables and polaroids.
Anything that isn’t crisp and clear.
A lot digital stuff, makes me cringe.

You have photographed many celebrities. Is that more difficult than "normal" people?

Celebrities are definitely normal people. I don’t put them in a high seat, they are human just like you and I. Although, when a celebrity comes with an entourage of managers, publicists, assistants it becomes frustrating for me because all of a sudden ten people are talking at once. I hate that. On my sets, I like it to be intimate, spontaneous and a conversation between just myself and the subject. That’s when the magic happens!
When the air becomes cluttered with opinions, I get angry and shut down.

Who is the most challenging person you've tried to photograph?

Friends and family. I really like not knowing anything about a person I’m shooting, because then you can naturally discover their stories along the way, creating a form of vulnerability. If I know too much about a person it creates a unbalanced awareness and through that I feel like a lot of the magic is lost.

What inspires you?



This interview was originally published on BehindTheCamera.co.


Justin Tyler Close

Justin Tyler Close is a Photographer from the USA.