PHOTOGRAPH SLAYERS-A SERIES OF FOLKS WHO KILL FROM BEHIND A LENS:
I met Flash at one of Belle SF’s nude sketch parties. He had shown up fashionably late, or maybe it was just that he was stuck in this whack ass Bay Area traffic. Anyhow, the dude was instantly chill. He was there to meet the editor of Belle SF, David, and despite the vast age difference between the two of them (and, actually between Flash and myself), he held his own with one of those “old soul” type of vibes. He is like that. Mega positive. Not in a cheesy, impastafarian kind of way but, a genuine, “no looking back” “let’s make this happen for ourselves” kind of way. It’s refreshing to meet dudes like Flash. Not a big ego but, big dreams and someone who wants everyone to succeed. His Instagram is full of inspirational quotes, poems, funny stuff, not very much negative shit and not to mention a bunch of epic pictures. He recently had some editorials in Fuse, SodaPop, HIGH TIMES!! Watch out for this youngster. He’s talented, motivated and his shear positivity will take him a long way. Enjoy.
1. Who is Flash? Is that your real name?
Well, I like to consider myself a visual artist. But if you want to be technical and s***, I’m just a guy with a camera, a photographer. But Flash isn’t my real name, it’s Zeke, but i’ve been called Flash since jr. high school. It’s short, catchy, and easy to remember so it just stuck on me through the years.
2. It seems that you like to shoot women. Haha. I don’t blame you. What is the motivation there (outside of women being mega sexy)?
Women in particular have a certain vibe/aura/essence about that just gets me going creatively speaking. Every woman has a different story and a distinct look. I’ve been called everything, for ex. disgusting, perverted, etc. because of the photography i’m most notable for (Nude/Boudoir). The hate I receive at times is just mind boggling but it evens out because I also receive tons of love for my talent. Believe it or not, women show me alot more appreciation and i thought it would be the other way around.
3. What are you shooting with?
I’m currently shooting with a Canon 5D Classic & Canon Rebel T1i. No kit lens, all prime baby. I shoot with the 40mm, 50mm, & 10-18mm wide angle lens. My cameras are old as s*** but It’s not the camera, it’s the person behind the viewfinder that creates dope photos in my opinion .
4. What projects do you want to share with us? Current? In the works? Old?
I actually just presented my new nude series titled “LLE: Love your body. Love your skin. Express yourself” at the Minna Art Gallery in San Francisco, Ca back in April. I did an interview with “sodapopmagazine” not too long ago. “Fuse Magazine” will be featuring a set I recently shot for their website soon. I recently shot an editorial piece on local bay area metal band, Sabertooth Zombies, for the worldwide known marijuana magazine “High Times”. Not too bad for a so called pervert who just learned how to use a camera last year.
5. Plans the next year?
My plans for next year will involve tons of traveling photography all over the country. I’m actually moving to Atlanta from the San Francisco Bay Area this year. Big change. New environment. But most importantly, new opportunities. I’m also putting the logistics together to open my own studio as well. I’m 23 years old, so im still chasing dreams.
6. What is your dream shoot?
Man, in all honesty, I never thought of that. It would be cool to shoot someone fierce like Pop singer Rihanna naked in the jungle of Africa on some natural black woman in the wild type shit! Super f***ing random, i know! Lol
7. Where does all your positivity stem from? What’s the secret?
I had a really rough childhood growing up in the streets of Vallejo, Ca. so I learned to appreciate everything that brings me happiness. Photography has been my outlet from the streets cause I wasn’t the best kid growing up but i I just needed direction. Photography makes me happy and makes me feel like I can do something constructive and creative with my life. So there’s no secret, i’m just content with doing whatever the hell I want regardless of how anyone feels about me.
8. Photography is such a hard industry to stand out and make money in, what will separate you from the no talent goons with expensive kits?
What separates me is my charisma, creativity, and willingness to work. I’ve learned that money has nothing to do with anything. It’s about skill and connections. So in other words, if you recognize your talent and give it your all, and meet the right people which involves being social, you’ll be exactly where you want to be. The money will come, I guarantee it.
9. What do you do outside of photos?
I’m actually attending school as well for communications. Other than photography, i like to talk. Thinking of starting a travel blog/vlog on my website soon viawww.flashxphotos.com so stay tuned on my instagram for updates @flashxphotos .
10. Shout outs?
I’ll give a shout to the man upstairs my lord and savior for giving me life and blessing me with a talent that brings myself and others joy. My grandmother, Brittie, who raised me and believed in me since day 1 and all of my supporters who keep me grounded and humble. My models also give me inspiration so they deserve a shoutout as well.
Flash Interview End
KAITLIN ELEANOR BLEIER: 09/27/2013
I really like her photos. And it is not this weird perverted side of me either. Yes, Kaitlin takes photos of pretty women, but like our last featured photographer (Charlie Vargas), Kaitlin is more of an artist than opportunist. I first noticed her work through Nighted Life Knick and his blog. He was always reblogging her photos and I was intrigued. Kaitlin takes very modest photos. It does not seem like she is trying to stage or capture anything more than exactly what is happening in the photo. The reaction to her photos more often than not is, “hey, I want to hang with this girl and her crew”. Not to sound cliché but life is hard and it is good to know that some people know how to “let it all hang out.” I asked Kaitlin to send me these 10 photos and then we will catch back up with her at a later time with a few additions. I really hope you enjoy them as much as I do and please look at her other stuff online as well.
What are your motivations in terms of photos? Many of your pictures are of women (hot women) or landscapes or tattoed dudes. I like the range in your choices of subjects. Do you always have a camera? Whats the deal?
I try to always have a camera! For this reason I always carry a purse/ backpack so I can have a camera and film on me. Even when it’s stupid to carry a bag. This summer I hiked into this quarry with friends and had to climb up rocks to get in, then we set our stuff down and swam across the water and hung out on these tall rocks. It started raining really hard which was fine because we were swimming, but I realized I had to swim back to my bag and go hide it under a ledge because my things were getting soaked. And yeah my girls look good! I have some great friends, all who are down to be photographed. I love the company of females. I really hate that whole ‘I hate other girls’ girl mantra. But I have some really great guy friends too, and would say I enjoy their company as well, ya know?
What are you working on currently? Do you have any plans to do shows or anything?
I’m working on a new book with Nighted called ‘Down Home.’ It’s a collection of personal anecdotes and photos. I started corresponding with Nick Garcia (Nighted founder) a few years back when he was doing these ‘Comfy Life’ zines that really inspired me. He had personal stories in them, and it just hit close to home. I thought I wasn’t into wordy zines and that changed the game for me. It’s not contrived writing, just writing like you were sharing a funny story with a buddy.
How can people get their hands on your art or see more of it? Links?
I have a few old zines that may still be on the shelves at Quimby’s in Chicago, they are products of me spending weekend nights at FedEx churning them out before I learned that there are less exhausting means of putting out a zine. Or a zine from last year called ‘I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth’ I put out with Nighted is up on the site (nightedlife.storenvy.com). Ummm aside from that just online- kebleier.tumblr.com, cargocollective.com/kebleier, Flickr.com/photos/kebleier
What is your take on politics?
Ehhhhh I don’t like to get into politics. I guess the only thing political I get into is that I kinda die inside when someone calls a chick a slut/whore whatever synonym. It’s gross. I have ranted about it before, but I don’t wanna get too soapboxy at the moment. Ummm I also told myself I’d never work for a chain business, although I’d make an exception for an airline because I’d love to be a flight attendant. Whenever it starts being okay for flight attendants to have hand tattoos I’ll pursue that.
Have you ever seen a UFO?
Nah but I did see an insane shooting star (I guess technically a meteor?) during this meteor shower last month. I was sitting on my friends’ mini ramp in Austin, which was pretty comfy for stargazing. I won’t forget it, it was a streak all the way across the sky. Really good night/ memory. If I saw a UFO I’d freak. I’d have to start wearing my glasses though which I never do, something that makes me pretty unaware of things over 20 feet away from me. People are constantly all ‘do you see that over there?’ And I’m just over here like ‘see what over where?’
I got that mostly out of my system when I was in high school. I smoke weed when it crosses my path. But I can’t smoke weed around a lot of people or I get ‘The Fear’ …you know what I mean. I recently got ‘The Fear’ in San Francisco on the bay bridge during rush hour after my friend gave me this weed gummy thing. I was melting, So i actually probably won’t smoke again for a while.
If you won the lottery would you take the LUMP SUM or payments?
LUMP SUM all the way
My grandma! My #1 girl.
CHARLIE VARGAS: 08/21/2013
One thing I have noticed since re-taking up photography is how easy it is to manipulate people when you are behind a camera. You tell someone that they would look better with their shirt off and BAM, shirts off!! But there is a difference between a photo of a nude woman with stickers on her boobs and a truly “artsy” photo of a nude woman who is completely at ease (not drunk). This is what I have seen with Charlie’s photos. His photos do not come off as trashy whatsoever because they are not. I think great photographers have a sense of professionalism that does not allow the deviant tendencies of normal humans to over-run their motivations of producing a great picture. When I saw Charlie’s photos and then met with him I jotted down a few word: UN-BIASED EYE, Completely normal perv-ness, dedication. Our meeting also made me think of this quote: “Minds Are like Parachutes They Only Function When They Are Open”. He enjoys shooting people all the same. Male, female, lawyer, crackhead. I am very happy to include Charlie’s photos and interviews in this publication. Please enjoy.
As we are talking at Hemlock in the Tenderloin, his friend and subject of many photos, David Young (well known local artist), walks over to say what’s up and lets me know that Charlie is very talented and that he will do anything to help promote the guy. I never smoke cigarettes but after we each have a few beers and are really getting into some discussion about skating and how pretentious some “industry” people are, we are both pounding beers and chain smoking. This is when the good stuff starts flowing. These are a few answers and quotes I was able to capture during our hour long “interview”. I wish I could have captured it all and I hope that this represents the Charlie Vargas I reached out to.
Shoots with: SD, Leica M9, Leica Z2X, Leica C-1
1. Would you like to say anything about yourself? Who you are, where you’re from, etc?
San Jose born and raised (he spoke of Crazy Eddie). I spent a few years in LA and have been in SF since 2006. Lived in SF before as a Ward of the Court; different foster homes and shelters for 7 years. I think that this was a “good experience.” The group homes made me more interested in people and that was the kicker for me and photography.
2. What are your motivations in terms of photography?
I am “not a people person” but the portraits started with shooting crack heads in downtown San Jose. I have shot nudes forever. My first subject was my mom as an 8 year old. She was a painter. She was also a bartender at a strip club, the Pink Poodle. I was an only child, so I was raised by stripper baby sitters. There was also lots of art and some sex soliciting in my house. Today, my heroes are Estevan Oriol, Araki Nobuyoshi (a group home bought a book of photos and I saw his work, he was killing it). It kinda developed the perv in me. Then I got into Kiyohide Hori and had the privilege of meeting him. He was friends with Ginsburg and Keruoac. He takes photos for Neighborhood and other big names in Japan. Now when he comes to SF we hang out.
2A. Awesome. Ok, so from your insta photos it seems like you are really into portraits , who do you generally like to shoot?
They’re not just people that hang out at Delirium all day and there’s nothing wrong with that, but some of these people are lawyers, strippers, one is attending medical school, models, 1 night stands, friends, Yoga instructors….you kinda learn to be suave with it.
3. What are you working on currently? Do you have any plans to do shows or anything?
Not really, my friend had a gallery and then………………..
4. What types of publications are you into?
Chrome Ball Incident, Tommy G stuff (who is a god in Japan; he does fashion design for big companies there) and much more.
5. How can people get their hands on your art or see more of it? Links?
6. This is a hard one but who is the hottest chick in the world? Or name 3?
Easy. My GF asked me this the other day. That 30 Rock girl with glasses. Jewish girl. Oh yeah, Tina Fey. I’m into chicks who can make me laugh and are raunchy or kinda hipster.
7. What is your take on politics?
Psssst, Liberal on some things and conservative about others. You can’t label people 1 of 2 parties. I’m for everything.
8. Have you ever seen a UFO?
What makes us feel so special that we are the only planet in the universe with life on it?
To each his own, I haven’t smoked marijuana in 8 years. After 5 years of High School you lose interest. Drink and smoke cigarettes. The no to drugs thing has actually cost me getting laid and burned bridges. I was at a party one time and these chicks were passing around a plate with some lines and they offered it to me. I said, “na that’s white people shit.” The chicks turned their attention to some other guy who I am sure got laid and I was never invited to hang out with that group of people again.
10. Where is the most rad destination you have ever traveled to?
They all serve different purposes. Been to Japan twice. Barcelona to skate but ended up shooting photos and meeting women. Getting drunk in 2006 as an 18 year old in Spain. I had sex with a High School teacher from Bakersfield. Bakersfield is only known for KORN and cars. NYC is number 1 though. When I finish school that is the destination. Everything is great there, the art, the musicians. I could talk about Jazz for hours. Basquiat, etc. Bee Bop. It will change your life.
Lump Sum Zine, MOM (RIP), My girl and Hori.