In our first interview with a Photographer, we have the talented Cody Winfrey.
What was the most interesting aspect of being a photographer?
Interesting aspects? Well I would have to say I had no real direction in my life up until I was in my Senior year of high school and was on the verge of not graduating due to insufficient credits, and I was placed into Photography for some added credit. I was very into the process of developing film, and making huge prints and was a very hardcore film lover in the class. I loved the fact that black & white had a real nostalgic feeling and knowing that it took work to produce the image really instilled a since of pride into what I was doing. Later on down the road my teacher forced upon me a portrait assignment, which I had only been doing still-life, and handed me his Nikon D3 and I was hooked. The lazy in me loved the ability to adjust lighting, and how much quicker I could produce work. I love that as a photographer, I get to meet so many wonderful people, when I was really getting into it in high school I had a full team of makeup artists, models, hair, stylists, the works. I love the synergy that comes along with that art field in general, I guess is my answer to this question.
Big, Small, Well Known or Unknown… What 3 models do you dream of working with?
Models…. Hmm…. Well I can’t really say I have many famous and established models I strive to work with, I mean if I get the chance to, amazing. But I really have this instinct that just knows, I was always looking for that girl that was sitting in the library, glasses on, taller than everyone, and just saw herself as an awkward gawky loser, these often turned out to be the best models I have had. All the girls I have worked with have all had no real modeling experience, I really enjoy bringing out the beauty that I know is there. It’s just a matter of fishing it out. Give me a strong cheek-bone, eyes that have a story to tell, and I am set!
Where are you hoping to go with this? Is it your forever job or are there other things you hope to achieve?
Where am I hoping to go with this? Well right out of school I had planned to attend SFCC and get my AA degree as fast as I could in the photography program offered, but all the instructors I had met with gave me the impression that they loved what I had been doing so far, but they wanted to break me down, and work my strengths to more of what’s seen around the Spokane area, and let’s face it, there’s no real market for a creative portraiture photographer in this town; at least not yet. So as I further my portfolio I am striving to get myself out there, gain exposure, hope to get a show or something planned soon. And go to school in Seattle in the near future. At the end of the day I would really just love to work for a magazine such as V, I like pushing the envelope.
In your own words, what is the difference between style and fashion?
Style vs. Fashion… Hmmm… I’ve never really dissected it like this. To me, style, is the ability to sift through the sea that is Fashion, and find what speaks to you, there’s a finesse to it. You can tell when somebody has their own unique style, it catches your eye, it can make you want to know more about that person. And Fashion, is a lifestyle, and a business. Fashion is an art form, fashion is really just a primal form of creativity to me. And style is a refined view of the spectrum that is fashion. On a person to person case.
Big, Small, Well Known or Unknown… What 3 designers do you work to stay current with?
3 Designers – Well, as many of my friends can tell you, I have a large Alexander McQueen tribute piece tattoo’d on my back, So I would have to say he is number 1. When I was starting in the field of digital photography, my teacher told me to go home and Google ‘Fashion Photography’ since he saw me headed in the fashion direction. And when I did, McQueen’s work was the first think that really intrigued me and he really showed me that art is something more then on paper. He taught me to be an artist and dream. For number 2… Well I’m a huge fan of leather, studs, extremes, severity… So I would have to say…. Mugler? And not at all due to all the Lady Gaga related press (Though, it does not hurt) but they really take risks and it’s always interesting, I mean Chanel will always be timeless and beautiful, but give me some edge! And I suppose the final spot would have to go to Gareth Pugh, because so many garments I would love to photograph. It reminds me of the weird junk I used to sketch as a child… Haha..
What inspires you?
What inspires you? – Well, since I was about 3? I had always insisted on watching Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, and I feel that took a toll on my creative pathways, because I really get excited by darker concepts, such as my bird series, and Monster work. I like the idea of taking what scared you as a child, and turning it into something beautiful. I also love when I am able to tell a story with my work, when I have a platform to jump from, like when I did Disney-inspired works. And music, of course. When I first heard the song ‘Monster’ by Lady Gaga I was so inspired to give this man a face, and a story. I ended up at one point where I would but my speakers to the floor, but only have the bass going and I would sleep with my head to the floor. And actually changed my dreams and painted the picture I was looking for.
Is there one photo you love over any other?
Favorite photo – I mean, I stand by all of my work, but if I had to pick a image that I adore over all others…. It would have to be the picture of Gemmina in white acting as if she was snow. I say this because if was the first real shoot I ever did, and when it clicked and people started to see something in me. I was onto something. And that’s when I really fell in love with Photography.
Where can we find you online?
online location – Well, I have a modelmayhem, diveantart, facebook page…
What advice would you give to other photographers?
Advice – I do go back to my high school and teach a lot of the kids, and what I end up telling them, is if you are going to try and do something, go for it full force. If you have an idea, stick with it, it will get stronger as you keep at it. Try to have a thick skin, but don’t let your ego get out of control. Do not steal other photographer’s ideas, you need to take it rather as inspiration, and channel that into your own unique work. And to above all else, honor your creativity, because if you don’t, it can strike like lightning, and not come back for a looong time. Like my tattoos say, “Stay loyal to your ideas, create & stay hungry”.
Any final words?
Closing words – I just want to thank you so much for the chance to get interviewed! First interview! Woo! I feel like I got most of my ‘wisdom’ out from all these great questions, and I’m only 21, so what do I know? Haha. I suppose that I hope to network around and get a chance to work with some of you!