Interview – Creative Motion Design

Some months ago Creative Motion Design conducted an interview with me about my Hopper’s Americans series:

{CMD}

This body of work speaks for itself…Yoram Roth, talented visionary is telling a story and capturing more than just an image…It’s narrative art. Avant-garde, Seductive…worth a second look for sure.

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Yoram Roth was born and raised in Berlin, Germany, but lived in London, New York and then Los Angeles for over 25 years. Although he studied photography in New York in the late 1980s, he ultimately pursued a business career in the entertainment industry. After 20+ years of success he decided to pursue his life-long dream of creating photographic art.

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{Why and when did you become a photographer?}

I’ve been shooting since my university days, but I got really back into it with the advent of digital photography. I have no romantic longings for spending days in a dark room breathing chemicals, so when new technology allowed me to work with my images while sitting at a desk, I got re-engaged. I learned Photoshop a long time ago, and was a very active member of the early photoblogging community. I was still very involved in business, and I tried a number of styles to accommodate that lifestyle… I was doing a LOT of traveling, so I was doing a sort of Street Photography shooting. For a while I was working on a series named “Arrivals and Departures” in which I was shooting my life in airports… and Yes, that title is a nod to Garry Winogrand.

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It was frustrating though because the truly great images were really tied to luck, you had to have something going on to capture something really compelling. I was also trying to shoot Architecture, or at least some Urban Landscapes, and I learned to respect that craft… it takes a LOT of preparation and timing to shoot certain cityscapes – the sun has to be right, the light… I can see why Ansel Adams scouted his locations for years before nailing the timing, and then he still switched out the skies in the dark room to get the perfect image.

Ultimately I found my images boring, I always felt they needed something human in them. And as weird as it sounds, I never really felt they were my images… A good street image is a bit of luck, a good architecture shot is ultimately derivative because it is based on someone else’s building… and so on. I really like to control every conceivable element, so over the last few years I have become very focused on telling stories. Sometimes I do little snippets like Hopper’s Americans where every image is a little question, or longer narrative pieces like Hanjo which is a photographic retelling of a Yukio Mishima play. I build the sets, I control the lights, I determine the models, the hair and make-up, and even make some of the clothes. I don’t want to take too much credit here though. These are my images, but such a production requires a team, almost like a little film production. I have a good team that knows what I want, so we communicate with a good short-hand at this point.

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{How would you describe your style of photography?}

I create narrative images using the language of fashion photography.

{What is your most difficult challenge in the business?}

It is very hard to find a community of other photographers with whom to discuss some of the more conceptual aspects of this art form. There’s plenty of people on the internet talking about gear or technique, but it’s hard to get a dialog going about why a certain decision was made creatively, or where a choice may have failed.

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{Where would you like to see your talents take you?}

I want to find a serious gallerist who will guide me in my creative endeavors, and help me get my books published.

{Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?}

Gregory Crewdson is a role model for me, as is Izima Kauro. But ultimately I come back to literature and especially music as a source of inspiration.

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{Tell us little about your studio}

Ah, my new playground. I just rented a ridiculously large space in an old weapons factory in Berlin. 1,100 square meters (that’s over 12,000 square feet) in which I can build my sets and keep them up for weeks at a time. The last few years always created pressure cookers – elaborate sets were designed and then built, but then had to be shot and struck within a few days… so that left little room for experimentation beyond the initial shot list and certain preconceived lighting set-ups. Now I can spend hours alone in the studio, shoving lamps around my space, playing with various flags, cutters , gobos and lightshapers, and just having fun in general. I’ve also got a small gallery space in which I hang my work so I can see what it feels like – none of this counts as long as it just sits on the website. It needs to get printed and hung.

But for most photography, the perfect medium is the photo book, and I am pleased to announce my newest publication, The Americans. Please contact me directly for sales.

Other than that I am extremely active on Facebook, so please follow me on Facebook where I post mainly maudlin quotes from poets who do with words what I try to accomplish with images.

Thanks, I hope to meet you all online, or at one of my events.

Creative Motion Design is a fabulous company, I have recommended their service to a number of photographers and painters. They provide a full service solution, because they have really cool templates for art and images, they do the hosting, but most importantly: the back-end makes a ton of sense. As an artist I want to show, hide or rearrange images from my series. I want that to be easy and intuitive, and I have no interest in learning any sort of code. CMD does exactly that. Check ’em out if you need a straight-forward solution.

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