Name: Grayson Hoffman
Birthday: February -Pisces
College: Georgia Southern University, BFA - Photography
Favorite Color: I am into a dark red, right now - a special red inspired by the bricks in Long Island City.
Favorite Book: "Deus Ex Machina" by Ralph Gibson. Gibson's use of corresponding images is such a powerful way to tell a story. And, most of the photographs in the book are from NYC.
Favorite Movie: "Sherlock Holmes" Watch this movie a second time and think about some of the camera work. Director Guy Ritchie is really under-appreciated for this one.
Favorite Food: Vegetable lasagna, Chicken salad with crackers, Mom’s spaghetti, a good club sandwich with Italian dressing. Wash it down with a Blue Moon, and I'm all set.
Favorite Quote: "Live everyday as if it were your last, because someday you're going to be right." -Muhammad Ali
How long have been interested in photography? For at least 16 years. I remember as a teenager going scuba diving during a family vacation and wanting to bring everything I saw back to the surface. I think that's when the "photographer" inside me was born.
How did you start? When I was In high school, my art talent got me into a photography program at the local college. --That really got me hooked! I began to read everything I could about photography and realized that I was starting to see things differently. When you are paying attention to the details, beauty can be found everywhere. By the time I headed off to Georgia Southern University, I knew I wanted to be a photographer.
How would you define yourself as an artist? As a photographer, I have been told that I am a technical guy. But, I think that's because I am always having the assistants move lights and tweak the little things. I take pride in good lighting, whether that's a dark dirty light or a full commercial setup, it is always on purpose. As an artist, I'm in the middle of a big change - I can feel it. I have progressed in a staircase-like motion, with steps varying in size. Right now I am taking a large step.
Where do you find inspiration? When I was a child, my dad showed me a picture of a sunrise with sand dunes in the foreground and a couple silhouetted on the beach. It was beautiful. When I learned that my dad was the photographer, I had that "WOW, you took that!" reaction - it was like being around someone famous because he had made that image. Now, when I'm looking for inspiration, I think about the image I'm creating, what it will represent, how it's going to be seen and why I am making it. But, in the back of my mind, I'm always hoping it will get that special "WOW!" reaction.
Other than brainstorming, what other creative methods do you do to create new concepts? So, I'll let you in on a little secret. First, you have to know that I can juggle knives and ride a unicycle. That’s not the secret. The secret is - when learning a new trick, like juggling, practice it right before falling asleep. When you wake up the next morning, you’ll be much better at it. Same thing applies to creativity...think about your concept as you fall asleep, try to dream about the shoot, see the images you want to make. When you wake up, you just might be surprised.
Can you please tell us about photography and digital technology? I spent a lot of time in the darkroom in college - thinking about and developing images slowly - one at a time. Now, with digital technology it's so much easier and cheaper to take a lot of images. With digital, I sometimes find myself taking a lot of pictures to work a subject. This is good and bad. When this happens, I like to slow down and take one shot at a time and really think about each one - just like when I started out and was working with film and developing my own images.
What type of camera do you use most? I use the PhaseOne FX camera with a 60 mp system. I tether 99% of the time to Capture One.
What is your favorite lens? the 80mm on the Phase; the equivalent is a 50mm on a full frame.
What has been your most memorable assignment and why? A project called "Boa." We had a huge Boa Constrictor, accompanied by its handler, on the set. I'll never forget that one!
What are your favorite three images you have shot recently? "Ghost," a recent editorial with model Li Xiaoxing, some experimental images taken with my infrared and a basic shot of a chair in a coffee house that I took on a quiet Sunday morning.
How important is an awesome website for your business? A professional photographer’s website is his storefront. Social media is your outreach arm, your blog is a moment to show your personality, but your website and portfolio show your work and give a glimpse into where you are going.
What’s the most important quality a photographer needs to have? Passion
Which of your projects has given you the most satisfaction? It was a personal project. At the time, I was in the middle of a series of commercial shoots and I was grabbing inspiration from everywhere. And yet, there were other images in my mind; it was like they were faint blurred faces that hadn't been made yet. Then I realized the faint blurred faces were the image. So, I set out to make it in studio. I love this project because I created the exact image in my mind, I didn’t settle or compromise with the end result. The piece is titled "Future Memories" and it was exhibited during Art Basel Week in Wynwood, Miami. I am hoping to show it soon in a New York gallery. Stay tuned for more!
List of your clients? I work for Magazines, Designers, and Advertisers
Who are the photographers you admire the most? Watch the documentary "Dark Light: The Art of Blind Photographers." These guys prove that photography is in the soul - not the eyes.
What about architects and designers? I have always admired the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. I think Nick Cave's fabric sculptures called Soundsuits are awesome, and I love the designs of Alexander McQueen as photographed by Sølve Sundsbø.
What are your next projects? I am into a harder editorial light and like the feeling it reveals. A stylist friend and I are now working on an editorial series with a darker storyline. And, when time permits, I am also building upon my "Future Memories" series of photography art.