Name: Jordan Tiberio
Hometown: Rochester, New York.
Current town: Manhattan, New York.
Film and/or Digital: Both!
First camera: Canon Rebel XS
Current camera: Canon 5D Mark II
How long have you been taking photographs?
I’ve been taking photographs for the purpose of making art since January of my sophomore year of high school. Before then, I had always stolen my mother’s point-and-shoot camera to explore. I ended up breaking it, though, and had to buy my own camera since her new one was off limits. (Sorry, Mom!).
Thoughts about first images ever taken, describe them?
The first images I took are very personal to me, and I sometimes think they’re the most meaningful out of everything I’ve shot. My best friend helped launch my interest in photography a month or so after I bought my camera. She came over to my house one afternoon and asked if I’d take pictures of her running around in the snow with a sun dress on. At the time, I was 16 and hadn’t seen much photography, so I thought the idea was awesome! Needless to say, that photo shoot is one of the most memorable, since the neighbors called to tell my parents about what was going on in our backyard.
From then on, out for about a year, she and I went on photo expeditions almost every weekend, exploring our hometown. She’s also a very creative individual, so being able to collaborate on shoots with her–her being the model, me the photographer–was really special for me. I was very comfortable shooting with her, so it helped me gain confidence in my work, especially when it came to asking others if I could photograph them.
What do you see when you look at your work now?
I don’t see as much documentation of my life in my current work, but more creativity than when I first started out. I’ve started to draw from my imagination much more than the reality around me. I find the odd in the ordinary, and create my own ethereal world with photography. I want the viewer to feel as if they’re in one of those fever dreams where the images they see are very bizarre, yet beautiful. I don’t always like to explain what I’m trying to convey through my photographs because I’d rather the viewer come up with their own story for it. If my photography can be an experience for someone or inspire someone to create a beautiful world of their own than one of my missions is accomplished.
What do you hope others will see in your work, if anything? Their experience?
I answered a bit of this question in the previous question’s answer, but I don’t only hope to inspire others to create. I also wish others will see what I do as a way to hold onto past times and start to do the same with their lives. One of my fondest memories of growing up was looking through a big box of Polaroids my grandmother has in her house of my mom and her siblings, and an even bigger boxes my mom has collected of her own images of my sisters and I as young kids.
With the introduction of digital photography, the amount of physical photographs I’m able to hold and look at has dwindled down to a small number. I started photography when I was a sophomore in high school, and, sadly, can’t remember many times before that year when I or someone else had taken a photograph of me. My mom has photographs of herself from her childhood to adolescence, while I feel like there are periods of my life where nothing physical exists to show someone how I looked at a certain age. Without photographs, it’s hard for me to even remember those years of my life.
In our generation, we use websites to share our memories; we rely on megapixels to show off these places we’ve been and these people we’ve met. But who is to say these websites we share on and these megapixels we post will be around forever? No one! Lately I’ve started printing out at least one copy at a time of every image I’ve created. The Internet helped my photography reach other people, but the Internet can very well make the art I’ve created disappear. It’s sad for me to see this generation explain our lives through images on a computer screen. I want to be able to have images to share with the people I meet in the future, and the children I have when that time comes along.
Photography has been my way to document my life so that my memories will not fade away, so I hope that through my work (or even just by reading this!) others will start printing their megapixels, or start saving those memories through photography if they haven’t already!
What do you look for in an image? What makes a great photograph for you?
Coming to art school has really changed my perspective on photography, and I’ve gained much more knowledge on the subject. I didn’t take much of a photography class in high school, so the photography critiques at college have helped me understand what makes and breaks a picture. When I first started taking photographs, I was really horrible with composition. I centered everything and wouldn’t dare veer from that. The rule of thirds was not a term in my vocabulary! But now a strong composition is something I really look for in a photograph. There are so many small mistakes people can make when taking a picture (which I’ve done plenty of in the past!) that lessen the impact an image has, like cropping off limbs in awkward areas or having a background that doesn’t mesh well with the subject.
Color is another important part of an image to me. Both in my color and photoshop class this year I have learned about how color effects an image, and how to color correct an image so it is more realistic. I used to nonchalantly edit my photographs with whatever color I thought made it look the best, but now, looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking! Color can be a hard thing to master, but I believe it’s something one must understand in order to create effective art.
Wendy Bevan, Guy Bourdin, Tim Walker, Ellen Rogers, Lauren E. Simonutti, Viktoria Sorochinski, Irving Penn, Stephen Shore . . .
Favorite places online?
Show Studio, Tumblr (I can’t deny that!), Rookie, Flickr, anywhere with new and exciting art for me to see!
Irving Penn, Summer Sleep; Sally Mann, Body Farm series; Wendy Bevan, Italian Marie Claire Circus series; Olivia Bee, Portrait of Emily; Alexis Mire, Aquarius; Ellen Rogers, Untitled; Alison Scarpulla, Untitled; Everything Guy Bourdin; Viktoria Sorochinski, the third image in the Anna & Eve series; and Michael Wolf, Tokyo Compression. Such a hard list–choosing ten images is harder than it may sound!
Artist’s playlist: 24 tracks from Active Child, Lissie, Feist & Ben Gibbard, Geographer ft. Kacey Johansing, Grimes, Craft Spells, Why?, Bon Iver & St. Vincent, Son Lux, Quadron, Wild Nothing, Portugal. The Man, Washed Out, Youth Lagoon, POLICA, Supertramp, St. Vincent, Beach Fossils, The Antlers, Slow Club, Lightspeed Champion, SBTRKT, Best Coast, Modest Mouse, here: Featured Artist: Jordan Tiberio.
You’ve been contributing to Saccades Project since January 2010. What’s changed the most about your work since then?
Wow, 2010 seems like it was just yesterday! My photography back then was definitely full of more spontaneity. Like I mentioned, my photography used to be a documentation of my best friend in various locations around our hometown. We’d ride our bikes everywhere and stop along the way to take photographs until the sun set. Now, I’m a lot more organized when it comes to my current work. I carry around a blank book with me where ever I go to write down ideas as they come to me, and I also plan out in detail certain shots I want to shoot.
When I look back at the work I was making two years ago, I see more of a series than I create with what I’m doing now. The photographs of my best friend all seemed to go together to make a story of us growing up together, but now I feel like I’ve lost a bit of that consistency. Living in New York City, with galleries as my next-door neighbors, has inspired me incredibly to start working in series once again.
And you’ve just started working with nudes. Talk about that?
I’ve always wanted to work with the nude body, but have never had the courage to ask someone to take off their clothes for a photograph! The nudes I recently did were of a close friend of mine who was more than willing to let me take nude photographs of her. I shot those images for a class assignment where we had to work with the body in interesting positions. It was so much fun for me to pose her and create different shapes with the bodies that we all have and see every day. I find the human body to be an extremely beautiful thing and hope to do more nude work in the near future.
Where do you want to take your photography, or vice versa?
I have more aspirations and goals as an artist now than ever before, and cannot wait to (hopefully!) take the art world by storm with my imagination. But really I want to take my work anywhere that I’m allowed or offered to take it! I don’t go a day without thinking about what to do next–I am constantly inspired. Being able to travel and see more than the east coast of the United States is in my dreams, and I plan to make that happen for myself within the next few years.
There is so much unknown out there for me to see and document. I hope to return to my original ways of exploring and taking photographs through out the process, but with a new, more mature brain in my head. I have faith that this love of mine will keep me stable in the future, and I plan to keep this positive attitude about art since I can’t see how I’d go about life without it. What a horrible thought!