News__ Face to Face: Wyatt Neumann

March 25, 2011 | By

Photo by Wyatt Neumann  from Face to Face at the Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe

When photographer Wyatt Neumann was 8-years-old his mother gave him Kodachrome 110 camera and told him he could shoot as much as he wanted as long he paid for film and developing. He cut a lot of lawns and delivered a lot papers, eventually turning his new toy into a profession. Wyatt now shoots on a variety of  formats ranging from large format professional equipment to his iPhone, and his work has been recognized and awarded internationally. Most recently, his photos were selected to be a part of Face to Face, a portrait show at The Gerald Peters Gallery alongside the likes of Chuck Close, Nan Goldin, and Andy Warhol. As humbling as this is, maybe his biggest accomplishment yet is his son.

We caught up with Wyatt to talk to him about his new show, why he doesn't always have a camera on him, being born in a tipi, hanging with his heroes and his adorable son.

Do you still have any of the photos you took when you were a kid?

I lost everything I owned in a storage unit tragedy in 1999. Thousands of prints, slides and negatives. Thanks for bringing it up.

How do you think being born in a tipi has affected your life and work?

Huh. Well, my whole connection to radical liberalism and nature definitely shapes the lens through which I see the world. I’m a wildly disturbed cynic, deeply in love with the world.

Do you always have a camera on you?

Nope. I tend to have a feeling when I’ll need a camera, or maybe it’s just when I’m in the mood to shoot. The reality is that I need to be inspired to shoot a photograph. If I’m bored, the shot will be too.

To you it’s the “moment that matters” but moments are often fast and/or fleeting, how are you able to capture them in an image?

It’s about patience and being acutely aware of your surroundings. My wife always laughs about how when the camera goes to my eye, I stop breathing until I shoot. I’m carefully watching and waiting for that decisive moment. Or there’s times that I’m in the middle of some crazy bullshit and I just get lucky.

How much of your work is “staged” and how much is just captured?

I never stage a shot. The closest I’ll come to that is to ask someone to wait for a second while I pull out my camera, but usually I get my camera out and exist within the moment and my camera becomes a part of it.

From babes to babies, are your photos a good reflection of what’s happening in your life at the time?

Yeah, my photography is definitely a true reflection of my life. Everything from intimate family shots, to barely hanging on to the insanity, they are very real moments for me.

Has your son become your new favorite subject to photograph?

Have you seen my son? Fuck, that kid is amazing. He’s ruining my portfolio because he’s all I want to shoot.

For the show at The Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe your work will be next to the likes of work by Chuck Close, Nan Goldin, and Andy Warhol. How does it feel to be hanging out with your heroes?

It was very, very humbling. On the other hand, the reaction to my portraits was that they were some of the best in the show, which has only inspired me to work harder. I mean, if people are thinking and saying that about my work, then a part of me feels like I really better earn that shit before I get exposed as a fraud.

What’s next?

I have a couple shows; a solo exhibition in Chelsea next month and a show of my landscape environments in LA sometime this summer or fall. The curator is still working it out. That and I’m still working on my feature film project – it’s a story set in the Rocky Mountain radical communes that I grew up in. It’s fucking awesome.

Face to Face at the Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe
March 18 - April 30, 2011
1011 Paseo de Peralta Santa Fe, NM 87501

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