“I associate ridiculously fast, to the point where it annoys me. I see stories everywhere and the message I want to add to them to try to create a paradigm shift.”
Madison (born in 1974) is a Dutch contemporary photographer currently living in Rotterdam. He studied photography at “Royal Art Academy and Photography Academy”. Starting out with fashion and editorial photography, he’s now more involved with personal projects. His latest one is called “Claustrum Corporis” which deals with the assumption that people in modern societies have become visually illiterate and that “reality” has been replaced by symbols. The project is split up in five volumes. On this site you find an interview with Madison about the first part with the title “Simulacra”. For Madison photography means “turning a lot of choices into an extension of your identity”.
“Photography is my window from which I explore the illusions of social constructs, contemporary visual illiteracy and the (concept of) truth and simulation in today’s sea of information.”
“Artist Profile” – Madison
Madison, why did you become a photographer? And what does photography mean to you?
I became a photographer in 2009 after spending over a decade in the graphic design field working as a designer. I needed more creative freedom of expression and the opportunity to tell stories. To me, photography is turning a lot of choices into an extension of your identity.
How would you describe your photographic language and creative process? How do you plan and execute a project? Both technically and conceptually?
I think my graphic design background is clearly visible in the way I compose a shot and look for silhouette, contrast and texture. I have a very minimalist approach to things. But subtle subtext about religion, salvation, identity and pain are always present under the skin of my work. It’s like that in real life. Things that are beautiful on the outside are often darker beneath the surface. We hide that. There is too much fear in today’s society. Emotions play a large part in my work. Both in capturing them and evoking them in my audience.
In my work, what you are looking at is not necessarily what you see.
As for concepts, they comes to me. I associate ridiculously fast, to the point where it annoys me. I see stories everywhere and the message I want to add to them to try to create a paradigm shift.
Technically I keep it very simple: One camera. One lens. One light. One wall.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
There are two. George Hurrell, who made the iconic movie star studio portraits in the 20s and 30s. His dramatic lighting (continuous Fresnel) is so cinematic. That man could turn a donkey into a star. I love his technique. The other one is Helen Levitt. She was Cartier Bresson’s student for a while and did the best street photography I’ve ever seen. Her use of color is poetic and her sense of humor is unique. Her subjects and style don’t influence me technically but the way she handles human emotions does.
Her ‘Boy In The Strawler’ ALWAYS makes me laugh. Every time. That’s power.
What’s your favorite inspirational quote about photography?
“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.”
We focus on speed, efficiency and perfection so much that there is hardly time to truly develop yourself over a larger period of time and truly refine your choices and investigate them on a deeper level.
What kind of camera and equipment do you use?
Camera: Canon 5D MkII (I wish they would go medium format).
Lens: Canon 24-105 F4 L USM. Lighting: Profoto D1 1000W Monohead on Manfrotto Cinema Boom.
Diffuser: Small umbrella. That’s it. Pocketwizards to get rid of wires. Always synced at 1/160th.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
It’s Tumblr. Because you can subscribe to so much to stay surprised. I like that.
What book about photography would you recommend?
Diane Arbus “Aperture Monograph”. It’s a masterpiece. It never gets old.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to get started with photography?
- Who am I?
- Why do I want to study arts?