20 May 2013 / Featured post, Interview, Musée, New York City, Photography, Steven Sebring
Steven Sebring Interview




“If a shadow is a two-dimensional projection of the three-dimensional world, then the three-dimensional world as we know it is the projection of the four dimensional universe.”
-Marcel Duchamp

Steven Sebring is a New York City-based photographer, filmmaker and multimedia artist. He has contributed images to magazines such as Vanity FairWL’uomo VogueGQ and Elle, shot international campaigns for Ralph Lauren, Maybelline, DKNY and Coach, and directed the Sundance Film Festival award-winning film Patti Smith: Dream of Life.


You don’t shy away from new technologies, including being part of developing apps for your work. What do you want your viewers to take away from that sort of interaction?

I love the idea of looking at objects from all dimensions, and touch screen technology enhances that. For example, I photographed George Harrison’s guitars for an iPad app where you can view each guitar in 360* from all different angles. Plus, I have been doing a lot of film work, including a movie with Patti Smith and some work with Donna Karan for DKNY, so my clients look at me as more of an “all media” type of guy.

I like the film making aspect, that you can create stills from. So digital really helped a lot in that respect. I remember when I shot Polaroid all the time and I remember when you could start scanning your Polaroids, and you were able to recreate the Polaroid. I thought that was such a break through, and then Photoshop and stuff came along and then I wanted to manipulate the Photoshop because I didn’t want everything to look so perfect.
I’m not using the CGI stuff, I am actually keeping it human and organic, and in the tech world that’s what being lost. I think that it’s important for people to see what I am doing in the art world, because if you have an idea then you will understand it in the commercial world and the endless possibilities of where it can go.


You have collaborated with Patti Smith for many years. What are you two currently working on?
We are always collaborating. Patti Smith will be featured in the Armory installation. We did a short film on the Revolution. Her daughter Jesse scored it and Patti did a psalm over it called ‘A Revolution.’ Patti Smith will also be a part of these beautiful wooden boxes with all the images from the show and I am having her do things from that work, so we are constantly collaborating. We always think the same way, it’s really quite exciting. She thinks that what I am doing right now with the ‘fourth dimension photography’ is something completely in the outer space. When we were working together on the new device I built she understood it really quickly and got excited about it. Whatever you dream we can do. We are achieving things and the sky is the limit.




Can you explain the different kinds of equipment that you typically use?

We are using a lot of cameras. Just as Eadweard Muybridge, the godfather of pioneer film making, did back in 1860. With the development of the software I own and created, we are able to tell the cameras what to do, how to do it, when to do it, sequencing however we want, capturing however we want, photographing with strobes however we want, and we are still only touching the surface. There are infinite possibilities. We started discovering things that were considered the fourth dimension, which is very rarely seen. And I love the idea that I am able to pull a still from any one of the hundred revolution cameras, touch screen it and make a 3D print of the fourth dimension. Since I am shooting in revolution, I have all perspectives of a human and can make a 3D print of one with a very fast turn around and make it in to a 3D model.
It is an interactive portrait.


How is the software set up?

All cameras are sequenced on rails in a circle. The subject would be placed in the middle of the dome with plenty of room to move around. We are working in a ring. It is really about how you work the cameras and what you make them do. The software developed for us is very complex technically.


What do you wish to express when working with nude subjects?

Working with nudes is incredible, beautiful and glorious.
In the show we feature a replica of ‘The Nude Descending Staircase’ by Marcel Duchamp which is one of the most important contemporary paintings in the world. Duchamp’s first show was at the Armory 100 years ago. Ever since Marcel Duchamp painted Eadweard Muybridges’ photo of a nude wailing down stairs people have been trying to recreate this, we decided to do it and nailed it. We had the perfect Marcel Duchamp and Eadweard Muybridges collision, and then we messed around with it. We had the subject going backwards, crawling up the stairs all kids of poses. Then we took ‘Nude Descending Staircase’ and photographed it in the fourth dimension. We have six photographs in the fourth dimension and a perfect replica of Duchamps’ painting. You will be able to see them revolving in the photographs including a touch screen that you will be able to play around with.




What do you think of when you hear the words “nude” and “naked”?

I think of beautiful imagery. Naked feels a lot more humble. Naked is vulnerable and nude is visual.


Do you feel your app work takes away from the work in any way?

It enhances it all. If you can hit upon another emotion in somebody, then I am doing exactly what I want to do. We create our own scores with the musician I work with for our revolutions, that I believe will strike a note with the viewer, using different senses.


Who are some of your favorite people to photograph? Which of your photos holds the most personal significance and why?

I would say my family actually on my iPhone. My wife and son.


Are the prints from your projects available for collectors?

Yes, things are available. The interesting thing that I am doing with photographs that has never been done before is that each photograph is a one off. Each photograph comes from a revolution of a hundred cameras. So each edition is a different camera. For example if you purchase ‘camera 43’ it will be that specific photograph or you can own the whole revolution of 100 editions, but each edition is different and original. You can be a collector and only purchase ‘camera 43’ from every revolution I create. Imagine that. Each revolution has so many incredible photographs. Plus, all the prints can be turned in to a sculpture.




What would you like to do in the next year?

Collaborate with different countries to work with artists and do monster installations. Spread the revolution.




Interview by Marsin Mogielski

Photographs by Marsin Mogielski

Revolution’ Images Courtesy of Steven Sebring Studio


Steven Sebring presents ‘Revolution’

May 21-23 2013

69th Regiment Armory
68 Lexington Avenue    New York, NY


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