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Interview: Josh Farria

Image: Self-portrait
Josh Farria
Image: Self-portrait

The Internet is an interesting situation. In a literal sense, one scenario begets another and so on. Back in August, Mark Werner interviewed Lowleaf and at some point, Josh browsed this website and emailed me. Now, he is officially the first photographer to be interviewed on the site since our relaunch in June! Josh Farria is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana and currently resides in San Francisco.

What’s going through your mind when you’re taking photos like this and this?

Josh: Well, when it come to portraits like these, I always aim to capture the true essence of the person. So, I’m usually thinking about different ways to make my subjects comfortable. That way the images look natural.

Your subjects are interesting. Are you selecting them or are they selecting you?

I usually select the models myself. I like to get to know the person before we shoot, it helps.

You’ve mentioned you’re not really on social media? Do you think it helps or hurts you?

Well both, for me, it’s just too much of a distraction. I like social networks, but depending on what your service is, sometimes it’s mandatory and sometimes it’s not. As long as I have an outlet for the work, then that’s enough for me. I did recently decide that I would start an Instagram in 2013.

Who do you look up to as a man?

I honestly don’t look up to one particular man. I do respect different characteristics of a few iconic male figures. Including Gandhi, Bob Marley, and Fela Kuti.

Who do you look up to as a photographer?

Lukasz Wierzbowski, Oscar Santos, and the late great Guy Bourdin.

I have a secret to share. Farria put me onto Duckwrth. I loved the cover, so I downloaded it and you should too. Thanks Farria! Click on the image to download “Party Heart”.

Curiously, what are you listening to?

Tame Impala, Sonnymoon, and Duckwrth.

How did you learn about GrungeCake?

I actually read an interview that you all had online with Low Leaf, I’m a big fan of hers.

What comes to mind when you hear GrungeCake?


You’re originally from New Orleans, yes? What would you say are the vast differences visually? What are some advantages and disadvantages, geographically?

Well, New Orleans is such a unique place. I’m actually here now for the holiday with my family. Here, we have things like the French quarters which is a big tourist attraction. You can see kids tap dancing on the streets and if you’re around on the right day, you may catch a second line. Before [Hurricane] Katrina, the city had so much more to offer visually, but now there’s lots of empty space and abandoned buildings. There’s always been lots of poverty here in the inner city, so it’s really not too much of a difference. The energy is just different in comparison to San Francisco, where I live now. The sun in California is like no other, it definitely comes in handy being a film shooter. I guess I can appreciate both for different reasons.

About how much time does it take you to capture “the one”?

I usually get at least 1 good shot each roll. Sometimes, I don’t get any good ones, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s all practice in the end. I just look at it like layups or jump shots.

Why is film your choice of expression?

I love how intimate film is and it’s just a challenge everytime. Every frame means so much, so you tend to focus and put more effort into each capture.

Would you suggest the world be a place full of film photography or are you fine with the digital ways of capturing life?

That’s a never ending debate and I honestly think it’s corny when I hear photographers always comparing the two. It dosen’t really matter, the key is to take pictures of anything that sparks your interest. No matter if it’s digital or film, the eye is still most important in my opinion. There are certain techniques that you can only use with film. But at the same time, the convenience that digital provides helps everything move faster. In this day in age, you need both, to each is own.

What’s next for you in 2013?

I have a few gallery shows, and I’m also going to open a online shop for prints.

To view Farria’s port, visit his website.

Written by Richardine Bartee

Her unprejudiced love for people, the arts, and business have taken her this far. Join Richardine on her journey as she writes history into existence, one article at a time. Richardine is a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs, and a GRAMMY U Mentor. She is the Director of Content for Duke Concept; Bartee is an Entertainment Creator for Google Web Stories. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.