Jan 15, 2019 | By Sarah Housley
Dec 01, 2017
By Sara Radin
In our increasingly digital world, it’s easy to lose yourself while scrolling through endless photos of cool kids on Instagram. Or maybe that’s just me, since I am, after all, the Youth Culture Editor at WGSN. Luckily there’s emerging creatives like Joshua Aronson, who are using their platform to shed light on some of today’s rising stars and also foster a sense of community.
We sat down with Aronson to talk more about his photography practice.
Tell us more about you and your background. How did you first get into photography?
Joshua Aronson: The camera has been and will always be an excuse for me. It’s a very good excuse for me to do what I want to do. I’ve always wanted to create a community. If every camera were a tool, I think my camera would be the tool that brings people together.
What inspired you to start shooting emerging artists?
Joshua Aronson: Photography is a reflection of civilization. So my responsibility as a photographer is to reflect the times I live in. In my microcosm of civilization, emerging artists are essential. I feel like now is a particularly rebellious moment, when young, emerging artists are stealing the spotlight. If I’m inspired by these emerging artists, it’s because they reflect the now. I’m always searching for that feeling of the now and, at the same time, trying to work within it. The question is how can you reflect something that you’re trying to be a part of. Maybe this series is a study in that. Maybe it’s a study in finding a solution to merging a reflection of a thing and the actual thing.
Who are some of the artists you’ve shot so far?
Joshua Aronson: I’ve always felt that a photographer’s first task is to create a community. I’m constantly searching for ways to not only make great photos but to unite a community. I’m looking at the role of a photographer in the same way I look at the role of a museum. Any museum could put on a great show of Marcel Duchamp’s, let’s say, but that wouldn’t be enough to draw people in. What draws people in is the trust they’ve built in the museum to put on consistently strong shows. Building trust over a period of time–to me, that’s longevity. Like a museum, I can’t rely on showing great images as my only source of longevity.
When I approach an emerging artist, it’s because I believe they’ll make sense to my community. Artists like Dozie Kanu, Alexander Muret, Corey Damon Black, and Bryant Giles each makes sense within the microcosm I’m building. As well as artists like Arvida Byström, Julian Consuegra, Kai and Adrian Schachter, Henry Stambler–there’s a trend here. I’m looking at artists who are young and not confined. It’s a search for the people who think across all platforms. I’m documenting young artists doing this in unexpected ways.
Who do you aspire to shoot in the future?
Joshua Aronson: I think photography is a lot like poetry in that the way a series of images is weaved together says something. Each image functions like a line in a poem. I aspire to shoot artists who make sense within the poem I’m writing.
Tell us more about the process of shooting each artist — what factors influence how you choose to capture them?
Joshua Aronson: It has to feel real. But it also has to feel balanced. I want to create a space where photographer and subject can coexist. It’s a tug of war, really. It’s a constant search for that sacred middle ground.
What do you hope to reveal through these portraits?
Joshua Aronson: The beauty of analog photography is that it reveals process. I think understanding the experience of making is so important for the viewer. They might not ever get to witness it, but they have to know it was there, and that there is space for it in their imaginations. The fucked up, imperfect parts often do for the portrait and, thereby, the subject more than anything perfect ever could.
Any plans to compile this body of work and share it with the masses?
Joshua Aronson: 2018!
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