Photography is more than art, more than a technique… It’s all about your passion. After Mr. Fagan’s words now, I’m %100 sure of it! Maybe its not aesthetically pleasing for you in a typical way but emotionally it will hit your heart. Here are Mr. Fagan’s words and his shoots on film, showing raw beauty.
“Young artist out there striving to reach their goal of becoming something through the works of their art, don’t ever look down when people tell you “you can’t.” Tt is those people who in the future come up to you and apologize for criticizing you in the first place but they’ll see you shining one day.”
When did you start getting into photography?
My passion for photography started when I got in trouble in high school. Delinquency brewed in the heart of me as a kid growing up. I didn’t know right from wrong. My father made me take a picture of something as a punishment one morning, and it didn’t turn out to be much of a punishment. Here we are today.
Could you explain how it feels to work on film as oppose to digital as a photographer?
There are no existing words to describe the feeling I get when I get a fresh roll of film, or I see new prints. The closest thing I can compare this to is opening gifts on Christmas day. I think the fact that film is precious to me makes my work speak more; it becomes something more than just an image. I’m a true believer in calmness, and having patience. With film you need to have the patience to get the right shot or else you’re just wasting money (I’ve been there many times). Trial and error also comes with film and you learn from that, I think that’s the best thing along with the feeling of shooting film.
How do social media platforms such as Instagram change the dimension of photography?
I think it affects photography in a negative manner, positive too, but the positive effects are more promotional than image related. What I struggle with currently is the paranoia of platforms picking up my work. I’ve driven myself over the edge trying to do research on which magazine will accept my work when really… it doesn’t matter. I produce the stuff I like, and I show the people who support me that’s what it comes down to. If platforms love my work they will contact me. Now don’t get me wrong social media platforms have brought photography back, and it’s now a booming category of art. Even better, the Super 8 camera is coming back!
Do you seek out inspiration or does it come naturally to you?
Most of the time it comes to me, whether it be a word somebody says, or an emotion I feel. I seek inspiration through films, but most importantly through music. Sun Ra, Lonnie Liston Smith, and Roy Ayers to be precise.
Why do you primarily shoot women?
I have always seen the female body as a work of art, like any part of nature; flower or cloud. I have always seen it presented by photographers, (specifically male photographers) as an object of lust. I am passionate about showing it for it’s raw beauty, even if it means it doesn’t seem in a ‘typically’ aesthetically pleasing position.
I read that you said “There are some photos that are sexual, but the idea takes the sexualisation away from it.” in an interview. Could you tell us more how your work challenges the traditionally sexualised male gaze?
I don’t think you can change how someone looks at something like the female body; men are naturally switched on to lust after the female form. It will always be challenging to prove that as a male photographer, that’s not what I’m about. But other than that, art is up for interpretation, I can only control what I produce, not how people view it and in a lot of ways I wouldn’t want that control.
Do you think photography should be an accurate representation of reality?
Photography documents the lives of the fallen and the living under any given condition, setting, or time. Yes, I think photography should be a contributing factor to represent reality, but what is reality? We live in a world where anything is possible, everyday we are discovering new species, new science, and new corners of the world. Someone may take an image of something that seems far-fetched, but it could represent a future reality. Photography should be like dreams, it is imaginative and outlandish, but you believe it all the same.
Who influences you?
Inanimate objects that soon become my still life photographs make me happy, and I’m learning to appreciate that as the main focal point of an image – it’s nice; colors, things of nature, candid flow of things. But to answer that question more in specifics my artistic influences range from Colin Dodgson, Tyler Mitchel, Tyler Swanner and Joshua Anderson to Tim Walker, and Renn Hang. There are too many! I can’t limit who influences me, it’s a plethora of great excellence. There are two stylists that I’m currently working with (Katrina Guevara, and Ishamail Kargbo), both geniuses. And you should check out their work pronto.
There are no existing words to describe the feeling I get when I get a fresh roll of film, or I see new prints.
Do you have advices for young photographers?
Yes, It’s not about what type of camera you use to get the best shots. Mark Fisher, an American Photographer, told me back in New York “I’ll never get the images you produce, and you’ll never get the images I produce. That’s just the way it is” (and ending with a Tupac quote made the delivery sweeter. ) Young artist out there striving to reach their goal of becoming something through the works of their art, don’t ever look down when people tell you “you can’t.” It is those people who in the future come up to you and apologize for criticizing you in the first place but they’ll see you shining one day. You will realize you’re your determination will change the hearts of many providing unconditional support and you will witness the world change before your eyes.
Outside of photography, what are your interests?
I have a love for music especially jazz; growing up I took saxophone lessons. Soccer is another thing. I’ve been playing since I was a little kid, sports are cool. Nature, Akira, Improv is fun.
Could you tell us about your upcoming projects?
I’m working with one of my favorite artist Nite Jewel next month, that’s all I gotta say for now!