„I only shoot when and if there is a subject or a idea or a person that really piques my interest.” – Exclusive interview with british artist, Stuart Sandford.
Could you tell us a bit about your background? What got you interested in taking photos?
I got into it totally by accident really. My boyfriend at the time pushed me into taking a fine art degree (and I’m glad he did so thanks Matthew!) and I concentrated on photography and the movie image which is really where my passion has always been. I started off acting, then wanting to write and direct, and that lead me to pick up a camera and start taking photographs.
Do you have interest to make short films?
Oh yeah I’ve been involved with filmmaking longer than I have my artistic practice and have had both short and feature scripts produced and optioned. I’m just in the process of submitting a new experimental short film to this years OutFest which I’m really excited about, it’s based on my time at the Tom of Finland Foundation here in LA.
Tell us about your creative process. How do you decide who and where to shoot?
It’s totally organic. Because I’ve been concentrating on my sculptural practice mostly for the last few years, my photographic practice has taken a sideline and so I only shoot when and if there is a subject or a idea or a person that really piques my interest.
Your photographic style is often naughty, do you consider yourself more naughty or nice?
I wouldn’t say naughty per se, but definitely playful. Nice? Maybe. I always wanted my work to be fun and celebratory as mostly what I saw whilst growing up was the opposite.
What do you like the most in polaroid photography?
I love the immediacy and the intimacy of Polaroid and intimacy has always been one of the focuses within my practice, be it real or imagined. For example, with the book I just released, I initially planned it to be all Polaroid’s of my then boyfriend and show the intimacy and obsession that comes with being in love with someone. However, he ended up breaking my heart and, mostly as I way of getting over that, I created a fantasy world of intimacy with those around me and that became the book. As Carrie Fisher said ’Take your broken heart, make it into art.’
Does you book’s making helped you to move over on difficult times?
It was definitely cathartic to make the book and helped me to find myself again after the breakup and also reinvigorate my passion for taking photographs.
You got a bunch of selfies on instagram. Do you enjoy being in front of the camera? Nude or clothes on? If you can pick one photographer to photograph you, who would it be?
Ha well I mean I don’t enjoy being in front of the camera really, I’ve always said I’m a voyeur and not an exhibitionist, but the older you get (and I’ll be 40 this year) the more comfortable you get with your body and the less you care what others think of you. I’ve also been doing CrossFit for the last year and I’m pretty proud of the results so why not share them? Hmmm oh I would love to be photographed by Wolfgang Tillmans, he’s one of my photographic idols.
Are there any living artists you admire?
Oh many. Along with Wolfgang Tillmans (mentioned above) and Nan Goldin, both huge influencers on my early photographic practice, I’m a huge fan of Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, artists who work and question the very nature and role of the artist.
Art is subjective. For you, what’s the thin line between art and porn?
It’s simple, pornography is by its very nature designed exclusively to titillate but art exists to do so much more.
Does the current political and social climate in the US affect your work?
Well all artwork is political, the very act of making art is political action in and of itself, so one can’t fail to be affected. Mostly it makes me more passionate about the work I want to do and more intent to get it out there.
Cal & Nigel
Ryan close up
Self portrait with Leo
Find Stuart: www.stuartsandford.com @stuartsandford
Models: Brandon, Jake, Sebastian Sauve, Brent, Bryce, Nigel, Ryan, Ed, Leo