Interview #415: Austin Schermerhorn

19 year old photographer based in San Francisco, USA. “My work mainly deals with the unseen feelings and impressions, often of something greater and mysterious.”

q: You mention you are inspired by Romantic poets and paintings. How does it influence you and your creative process?
a: I draw a lot from the imagery and symbolism of Romantic poets, my favorites being Coleridge, Baudelaire, and Rimbaud. A lot of the origins of my photos come from a passage that stuck out to me, from Baudelaire’s description of a carrion and the eventual decay of his love, to Coleridge’s description of otherworldly music from an Aeolian harp: “And that simplest Lute/ Placed length-ways in the clasping casement, hark!/ How by the desultory breeze caressed/ Like some coy maid half yielding to her lover…”

As for the painters, I am inspired by Delacroix, Goya, and Géricault, and I try to pick up where they left off. I believe we are at another Industrial Revolution, this time technological, and that as a society, our spiritual and artistic needs are going left unchecked, as seen by the type of art the powers that be esteem. I feel we need a remedy for this, and this idea is always at the forefront of my mind when I make art.

q: What contemporary photographers are you into right now?
a: I feel the best photographers transcend photography itself and enter the realm of Art, which fortunately there are many today, albeit a little hard to find. My favorites, who I am forever thankful and inspired by are Robert Tepiak, Margaret Durow, Benjamin Goss, and Rebecca Cairns.

q: Do you like house plants?
a: I do! I love being surrounded by growing, living things whenever I sit down to make art or write. Also I hear green is the most inspiriting color for creative thinking, so there’s another bonus.

q: Photography equipment?
a: I shoot a Pentax Super Program and Olympus OM2 for 35mm SLRs, an Olympus XA2 as my camera on me at all times, and a Pentacon Six for medium format. I have been experimenting with large format with cameras from my school (specifically a Toyo 4x5 Field Camera) so I would like to use that more in the future, as well as go up to 8x10.

q: Upcoming projects or ideas?
a: An Idea I’m tossing around right now is a sort of mixture between Japanese/Chinese ink painting and photography. I want to make a sumi-e landscape, and superimpose a portrait of a person in the foreground, using darkroom techniques, so both art and photography are merged, and the landscape behind represents a sort of mental state of the person as well. I am really interested in the melting, foggy landscapes that are capable with ink painting, and the idea of a landscape conveying an emotion.

q: Any new music to recommend?
a: My good friends Adam Houmam and Ryan Daniel’s band ION recently released their debut album, which I was lucky enough to do the art and cover for. Check them out if you like ambient/psychadelic black metal, they’re also currently on tour in the Pacific Northwest, so if you’re in that area you should go see them. Myself, I’ve been listening to a lot of Suuns, Chelsea Wolfe, and Liars’ new album.


Interview #414: Carmen Alt-Chaplin

q: Give a short introduction about yourself:
a: I’m a German-born photographer living in London, where I also take most of my photographs. Urban environments are very inspiring to me.

q: Your work often shows isolated figures in a large built environment. What’s the idea or inspiration behind this?
a: I feel that in the grand scheme of things we humans are not that important. The universe is huge, and we are just a small part of the whole. My work reflects that. I like to look at details, but I’m also interested in the big picture.

q: Does photography affect the way you see the world?
a: Photography is helping me to really look at things, to see things I wouldn’t normally see.

q: Photographic equipment?
a: I started out with film photography, shooting film for years. I resisted digital photography for a long time, but once I embraced it, there was no turning back. I now shoot only digital, using a Nikon D7000.

q: Do you prefer cold or hot showers?
a: Hot showers. Definitely.

q: Upcoming projects or ideas?
a: I’m having an upcoming exhibition in Vienna on the 28 of August. The exhibition runs till 25 September 2014.

q: Any new music to recommend?
a: This week, I’ve been listening to “Video Girl” by FKA Twigs.


Broken Telephone Magazine is about visual associations and mental successions based on the game of the same name. Featuring 50 artist from all over the world including Jackson Eaton, Theo Gosselin and Lukasz Wierbowski. Published in Norway, the second edition includes a mix of photography, illustration, collage and artist interviews.

Get a copy here. Check out more publication reviews at our bookshelf.

Interview #413: Marcel Rollock

q: Give a short introduction of yourself:
a: I am 25 and a student at New York City College of Technology, studying Medical Imaging. I was born in Oakland, California and raised in both New York City and Perth, Australia. Travelling, taking photographs, talking about philosophical shit while high and making Seinfeld references pretty much sums me up!

q: Does photography change the way you look at things?
a: I am in the middle of reading a book called Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography by Roland Barthes. His ideas about what sets photography apart from all other forms of representation has so far blown my mind. Photography is everywhere and at the end of the day it simply is what it is. I think if photography changes the way you look at things then you will always be trying to force something when taking a picture, a scene, an idea or reaction. That’s not what I am about so no, I try not to let photography change the way I look at things.

q: What time do you usually go to sleep?
a: Sleep time is whatever really 1, 2 or 3am depends on what’s up for the next day. I do really enjoy sleeping for 8 hours, waking up and lying in bed for another 2 or so and watching TV!

q: Do you like noodles?
a: I am currently working at a Thai food restaurant where 90% of the menu consists of noodle dishes. So yeah I love noodles and I eat noodles of all forms about 3 to 4 times a week. My friends and I in Australia ate these cheap Indonesian noodles called Mi Goreng all the time growing up, chuck a fried egg on that shit, so good.

q: Photographic equipement?
a: Yashica T4 and sometimes my girlfriend lets me use her Olympus Mju II. 35mm point and shoots always and forever!

q: Upcoming projects or ideas?
a: Going on a road trip from Miami up the Atlantic Coast back to NYC with my girlfriend in a few weeks. I am sure it will produce some rad adventures involving cool people. I plan on using pictures for that trip as well as snaps from a road trip to Yosemite National Park we went on earlier this summer for my second self-published photo zine.

q: Any new music to recommend?
a: I go through phases with music. I’ll be on a blues rock / psychedelic rock tip for a while, bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre then listen to fuck / soul a bit, The Menahan Street Band and Thindercat are both sick. Right now I’m on some rap / hip hop shit. This dude Bobby Shmurda from Brooklyn has blown up in the past few weeks. His track Hot Nigga is on repeat on my iPhone at the moment.