AURORA GOES WILD WITH
unusual interviews in the Pussy Pusher’s style.
Episode 7: FRANK PETRONIO
When did you decide to start shooting girls? What was your “mental process” behind the decision?
I had already been a professional photographer and designer for over twenty years but thought that doing photos of models, and nudes in particular, was a challenge because I was still rather shy. Around 2006 I discovered modeling websites like OMP and Model Mayhem. I quickly recognized that it was worthwhile to hire some of the more experienced people like Tiana Hunter and Sarah Richardson to get started and learn how to shoot with good results. Once I had some better images in my portfolio I no longer paid for models.
At first it was just an experiment but my work got a good reception so I pursued it for several years. I figured that “sex sells” and it got me a lot of attention quickly. I was important to me to understand and be aware of how to shoot nudity so that I could judge how I felt about it fairly. Without having done something first, it is hard to make a valid assessment. For example, I could criticize a photojournalist’s war photos but I really have no idea of what it is like to be photographing in the midst of an armed conflict.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Bathroom, Coffee, Internet.
Does your mother appreciate your pictures?
She pretends not to see them but her friends love them and stalk me. It’s creepy.
A movie that we should watch.
2016: Obama’s America. We are doomed, I am a nationalist, conservative, and a Libertarian.
Who is your “dream” model? Where would you love to set your shooting?
I don’t have any. I like new people without much experience, I prefer intelligence and strong personalities. I don’t shoot nudes on purpose anymore but if I do anything relating to beauty, my ideal is someone athletic and healthy, I like fair skin and hair, blondes and redheads, not too obese or curvy. Models who are artists themselves are often the best. Dancers are amazing. But I make plenty of exceptions.
I love outdoors, so perhaps the Alps or New Zealand. I have to admit that I do like interesting boutique hotels, the Ace and Standard chains always have interesting decor. But I am happy enough shooting around here too, the locations are infinite!
Are you keeping your work secret to someone?
It would be silly to do interviews on the internet if I wanted to keep it secret.
Are you usually turned on by the model you are shooting?
Not really, I don’t think about myself or my needs that much when I am shooting.
Name three photographers that you consider masters.
Paolo Roversi, Tim Walker, Dan Winters.
For nudes I like Jo Schwab.
Did any model ever get mad at you because she was looking “ugly” in your pictures?
Yes quite often because I tend to shoot behind the scenes photos without styling, I dislike glamour and perfection. I also shoot with drug users and alcoholics so oftentimes they look wasted.
What do you do in your free time?
I have three children so I don’t have much free time but I enjoy skiing, biking, kayaking. Because of the recent anti-gun propaganda and legislation in the USA I went out and bought guns so we are getting involved in target and trap shooting. I want to go deer hunting this Fall.
What is the difference between a good nude picture and an amazing one?
I wish I knew, it is impossible to formulate. All the great ones I can think of show face and expression more than just a nice body part. Generally I want to imagine a story from the photo.
Who is, in your opinion, the most overrated nude photographer? And the one who is not appreciate yet?
I really don’t like the nude genre and much prefer photos where nudity is incidental - part of the story, more documentary - and not the predominate factor. Most nudes are stale, banal, self-consciously pretentious. I do like the Roversi Nudii series from the 1990s, they are obviously nudes first but the models and technique are so wonderful that there is more depth than most any others I’ve seen.
Overrated? All the people shooting the same old thing, over and over, with shallow depth of field and moody lighting, they are all pretty and meaningless. They blend together. Like Jan Scholz (Micmojo) and all the other copycats.
I also think the current trend for Wet Plate photography is silly, especially when the photographers do it so poorly by intent or incompetence - when they leave defects in the emulsion it is so pretentious.
Your biggest fault.
I am blunt, crude, harsh.
What does your partner think about your work?
She appreciates it but I do a wide range of work so nudes are only a small subset. I think if all I did were nudes then it would create problems for all my relationships, not only with my wife but with everyone.
Do you remember your dreams in the morning? Are you able to interpret them?
Hmm my dreams of late have been very strange and vivid, being chased, looking for something lost, anxious over some misdeed. But they are entertaining and I enjoy them, rather like a movie.
facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/petroniofrank