In Conversation With: Joshua Aronson

Where are you based?
New York City.

How old were you when you started getting into film and photography?
I was into film and movies before I got into photography. But I started around 16.

What made you decide to photograph on film and not digital, how does this reflect on your aesthetic?
Film is an implicitly nostalgic medium. Which is to say that it’s methods and textures are a thing of the past. You and I never got to experience life with film as the only means of photography, right? So, to us, film will always be linked to history. And in that inevitable link to history, film implies fantasy. Because, every time you think of film, you have to use your imagination. You have to stretch your imagination to ask: what was life like when this was a thing? When film was our only means of photo making, how was the image understood? And, in that stretch of the imagination, I find an opportunity, because my audience is already toying with these elements of fantasy, so they’re open and willing to believe. They’re now ready to believe in the story I’m telling.

Do you think it is essential to study the medium of photography?
I think it’s important to understand history. To know where you belong within a lineage.

Which genre do you enjoy photographing the most Music Artists or Fashion?
I’m not one to choose favorites, but I like photographing musicians and artists. I’m also a fashion geek. So all of these three are important to me. I think I see them each as another material. Like another notch on my equipment list. Another ingredient in the recipe I’m building. Music, fashion, artists—they’re all one in the same as these materials at play and, oce you decide on the type of sculpture you’re building, you can choose your materials properly, and make the photo you want to make.

You mentioned to us that you are developing your first photo book, are you able to give a teaser what it will entail?
I’m developing this all in real time, but I’m interested in fragility and so the book is about a journey towards understanding how fragility relates to identity. Masculinity is coming into question right now. Fundamental support systems of our society are being scrutinized, and so I'm using the book as a way to process these things, and maybe propose something. Propose a new lens through which we can understand masculine identity.

What advice would you give to fellow photographers out there who are just starting or finding their way into the industry?
The best advice I can give is to never stop asking yourself “what is photography?”. What makes photography special? When you identify what differentiates it from all other forms—that photography, unlike painting, music or sculpture, can freeze reality, or stop time in its place—you’ll find something, and that something should guide your practice. When I’m lost, I let my answer inform my process of image making.

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