Interview with Lucas DeShazer
-Where are you from?
I’m from Portland, Oregon, where I’ve lived my whole life.
-How long have you been taking pictures?
Like many people I began taking pictures as a child (my first camera being an Olympus point and shoot) but I didn’t attempt to make anything ‘serious’ until I was about 20.
-What is your camera of choice?
I use two cameras - a Pentax 67 and a Chamonix 045N-2. I carry around an Olympus XA as a sort of sketchbook to help me remember locations when I don’t have a larger camera with me.
-You take a lot of images at dusk and night, what attracts you to this time of day?
I began taking pictures at night because I realized it was quite a bit easier to seek out interesting light without having to actively set anything up - I just need to look around for something ‘pretty.’ I’ve found a lot of joy continuously shooting at night as I have a typical 9-5 desk job that forces me to shoot after work or on vacations.
-Your images look like film stills, would working in moving image appeal to you?
I have quite a bit of respect for cinematography and take a lot of influence from movies and photographers like Gregory Crewdson but I don’t have much of an urge to shoot moving images. Controlling a still frame is hard enough as-is.
-There is a sense of mystery in a lot of your work, is it intentional to capture such uncanny moments?
Absolutely. My goal when out shooting is usually to capture unease and tension and it often comes across (in a positive way) as being mysterious.
- How do you go about sourcing locations to shoot?
A lot of my shots just come from ambling around rural areas in the Pacific Northwest. When I was younger, my father took me all over Oregon and Washington, exploring as many towns on maps as we could find. I’ve taken a lot of those faint memories to mind when looking for new subjects and I now spend a lot of my time re-tracing those routes for interesting subjects. I’ve also spent a lot of time in the past year walking within about a mile of my apartment in southeast Portland to find subjects. It’s an interesting exercise to force yourself to stay close to home, making art from the familiar rather than the exotic.
-What artists inspire you?
Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, and Robert Adams are probably my biggest influences. Alec Soth’s “Sleeping by the Mississippi” was probably the first photography project that really spoke to me and Stephen Shore’s “Uncommon Places” urged me to begin wandering. Others include: Taryn Simon, Joel Sternfeld, Bryan Schutmaat, and a long list of photographers I’ve found through Flickr - Missy Prince, Austin Granger, Isaac Sachs, Steven Brooks, Patrick Joust - I could go on for days. Looking at well-done photography of any kind is always an inspiration to me.
-Any dreams for the future?
I dream that Kodak Portra 400 is never discontinued. I will rue the day that color sheet film is no longer available and I’ll have to start all over with new formats. Other than that I’d like to just keep my head down and keep shooting - it’s the only way I know to keep improving.
-What motivates you to shoot?
A constant yearning to create.