The aamora interview – Fred Shively

Aamora contributor Fred Shively has agreed to answer our questions for the seventh Aamora interview.Practical geometry 002, Antequera, Andalucia

Practical geometry. Antequera, Andalucia


Why photography?

Thrill of the ‘hunt’. Satisfaction when a composition works, really works. Substitution: I can’t draw to save my life. Instaneity (is that even a word?!): I’m impatient. Also, because I have spent a better part of my life making a living from words, images make a nice break.


Valid. As with any form of camera, many cellphones are capable of producing great images. Or crap.


Digital v. Film – still a topic?

Not for me. Although I understand the romance of film and its attendant chemistry, I’m not convinced that end results – with notable exceptions  – are invariably worth the effort. And, as I said, I’m impatient.


Is the equipment important?

Yes. And no.  I certainly think that good glass can improve both the rate of successful captures and the captures themselves. But I have had good and bad results with everything from a Holga to ‘serious’ DSLRs. In the end, cliché as it may be, the eye is still the most important bit of ‘equipment’.


How did you learn to photograph?

High school reportage (ever try shooting sports with a Yashica Twin Lens?).  Working in the ad industry with top photographers. Couple of short (but worthwhile) stints at the former Photography Workshop in Rockport, Maine. But primarily by just doing it.


Are photographs “taken” or “made”?

Or even captured.  I think it’s a mixture. Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment. Or where you position the camera. Or how you frame the potential shot…what’s in, what’s out. Or how you use the available light. Or what you add, change or accentuate in processing.  If pressured, I’d probably come down on the side of ‘made.’


Is photography art?

Ah, the ‘art’ question.  Well inasmuch as everything from a toilet seat on a wall to an unmade bed to an exquisite Hokusai seascape has been deemed art by somebody, my reply would have to be: why not?


Where do you go to look at photographs?

Anywhere they turn up. We’re lucky here in Malaga to have a very active art scene with several serious museums/galleries. Consequently I have seen everything from a remarkable retrospective of Dennis Hopper’s photo works to a strange series of Andy Warhol in drag to the mixed media of Martina Abramovic.  I’ve also been lucky enough to stumble upon exhibitions I didn’t even know were on in Paris, London, Washington DC and a few dozen other places. Gotta love serendipity. I also don’t discount photo books (I have a few) and on line.


Who is it for – you or them?

Initially for me. But who doesn’t like to have their work admired by others.

Fred’s work can be found on his website and on his Flickr pages.