“You must be so busy”
I am busy asking a thousand questions everyday. Busy pushing every distraction aside to focus on what is in front of me like nothing else exists in the world. Busy pulling up the shades and opening the windows. The mix of work feeds itself – film stars and poets, musicians and factory workers, little and big people, presidents and ice cream scoopers – they all feed the work. The big paying jobs are fed by the free work. My camera is a key on the ring.
“You must be so expensive.”
I work with budgets. I appreciate how much $100 is and how little it buys. I am more expensive than “good enough” and less than Annie.
Boulder is where I live (and the community I love). It is exactly 40 minutes from the Denver airport that takes me away. The site of the Flatiron mountains as you come over the hill welcomes me back. And…..it is glorious.
“Isn’t everything laid back in Boulder?”
How can that be in a place so caffeinated? We say good morning and good night to the mountains. In-between those two greetings, we arm wrestle with the precious time we have to go viral. No, my life is not laid back. Laid back is having time to watch TV. That is a wonderful goal, but not where I live.
“Which picture of yours is your favorite?”
The next picture I take is my favorite. The next person I meet is the most amazing person I have ever met.
“Where do you get your ideas?”
Sitting in the shower each morning with the water pouring on my head. The trick is writing them down while you are still dripping.
“How would you describe your style?”
I have been told more than once that I photograph “joy.” It is the window I am wrapping on. Sometimes joy is not about happiness, but it is always about living. I think my work is more about a “sensibility” than a “style.” I had an incredibly happy childhood, and sometimes I think my photographs are about a search my whole adult life for that place that made me happy as a child. My pictures are a search for that place we are all connected.
“What is beauty?”
Beauty is elegance, style – and a sense of floating above time and space. Beauty is the person I see sleeping next to me even before my eyes open in the morning.
“How important is money?”
Fucking important, but not the most important thing. I used to only take assignments I could really learn something from. Now after having kids, I take the money more seriously.
“Who is the worst person you have ever photographed?”
Many people come in front of my camera with a lot of baggage, and very good aim. I am a moving target. I am only there to glorify people, why would you want to shoot the messenger? No one ever is mean on my shootings. If they would be mean, I would make them scream it. “WHAT WHAT?? I can’t HEAR you?” That is probably not the answer you want. Who? WHO? The problem with this question is even the worst behaved person ever on a shooting didn’t necessarily make for bad pictures. The person who gave me the hardest time, only posing for 12 frames – also was one of the best portraits I have ever done. A dog, a wild waving rifle, and the media magnate on his southern plantation. Only needed 12 frames.
“How important is trust?”
It is the single most important ingredient in the way I work. If my subject does not trust me, we cannot work together. The deal on my end, is to be trustworthy. To not take advantage of the incredible privilege it is to be invited into a subjects life….with a camera! I do not lie. I do not steal. I accept the awesome responsibility of taking your picture like they are the brakes on your car. That is not to say I don’t kick the tires, check under the hood and take it for a spin.
“Do you miss NY?”
I love NY, but I don’t miss it. I visit often, get a haircut from the Russian ladies, run into lots of friends on the street, savor the theater before the curtain rises, move underground without looking up.
“What do you do?”
I take the pictures that people say, “that is me.” I shoot the videos that are about how things feel, more than what they look like.
“What is your favorite video?”
Check out all Lange Studio Original Videos
“How important is music?”
Music is always playing on my shootings. If we can play it loudly we do. If we cannot play music (when video cameras are rolling) there is always a rhythm going, a beat. You cannot take pictures without a beat!
“Do you count up the spoons at the end of a shooting?”
No I don’t. I take it for granted that you always leave something behind. I expect that. Something lost, something gained. I want to leave a shooting a different person than I came in. I have to give something up to get more in return.
“Doesn’t that put a lot of pressure on your subjects and clients?”
No, they expect me to give everything I have – and take everything I can get. If they only want something that is “good enough” they would not hire me. Besides, my shootings are always fun. And we always, by design, leave a good wake behind us.
“What does that mean, ‘you leave a good wake behind.’?”
Much of the work I do involves clients hiring me to represent them. Represent their judgement in hiring me. Represent their company out in the world. Representing myself and what I do. If in the end we all have to feel better about the experience and about ourselves than when we started. Leaving a good wake focusses the work in a way that does not take advantage of people, but engages. Then the wake we leave gets us invited back.
“Isn’t this getting a little too serious?”
Yes it is. It is a funny balance we content providers have to navigate. We are in the business of making images, telling stories, glorifying and (for some, not me) tearing down. It is a business but for me the passion has always been the key I turn. This is my life, not something I dip into as work. Is life serious? Yes and no.