Much of the world takes its cultural cues from America. Growing up in Canada the closeness was obvious, as were some of the glaring differences. 'My Americana' is a growing body of work reflecting on a close outsider's perspective of the idea of the American experience. The series is an effort to encapsulate some of the vignettes unique to this country both beautiful and absurd, familiar yet foreign.
- Landon Speers
Where do you look for inspiration?
Sometimes I chastise myself for not going to art galleries or museums more- I always enjoy myself when I do. But most often, I find inspiration in just being outside or around other people. Sometimes it's merely riding the subway or walking to an errand in the city, or going to a park & people watching. Other times it's planning a hike going somewhere rather removed from humans. I guess ultimately just placing myself in places where I'd be inclined to shoot but also just trying to be present in those times as a person too.
Describe one of your most challenging moments shooting.
Every time I think it's a smart idea to walk in front of someone & shoot them while I walk backwards. It so rarely ends gracefully.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done for a shot?
In college I went hiking in the in the half frozen run-off sewers of my home town in the winter with all my gear. I walked across a frozen river to get there & proceeded to break both flashlights about a half hour in without a good record of which way I came from. I didn't tell anyone because I knew they'd talk me out of going but figured it was an ideal spot for this particular assignment. Looking back it could have been a great way for a dumb college kid to end up in the news papers as a skeleton in the spring once everything melted & water flushed my dumb ass bones out. I eventually managed to scale up a tunnel & push a manhole cover off. I rolled down a hill into a ravine & realized I wasn't too far from a friends so showed up in the middle of the night soaked head to toe & asked for a ride home.
What keeps you motivated/ excited about life?
Music is a big one- both listening to, going to shows & also making it. There's a cathartic release that certainly seems shared by so many people but it's also a really personal thing as well. Also just talking to people too. It's really simple but pretty profound how easily you can step outside of your own head & experience by just talking with other humans.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned since you started photography?
Give into curiosity. If you like shooting people, just be around people more. Get to know more people. If you like shooting nature or what ever, give into impulses that take you places where you feel like you want to explore or try new things. Sometimes you'll find you don't feel the same way you thought you might after you carry through, but that's okay too. You wouldn't have known otherwise if you didn't give into that curiosity.
Describe your favourite part of the world (aside from home) and tell us why.
I grew up in a landlocked place & have always loved water & swimming. This answer might be a cop-out but really any ocean spot anywhere. As to why- it's the place I feel most easily humbled & reminded of my insignificance. Waves don't care what I do with my life, seagulls can't be bothered with what I'm worried about, sand from rocks on the other side of the world is entirely indifferent. I find those reminders really peaceful in putting perspective on what I might be thinking I'm consumed with or distracted by at the time. It's a reminder to be present & a reality check for your place in a bigger picture.
Who is one of your favourite people to work with and why?
Eric Cheng is a dear friend from my hometown back in Edmonton. He lives in LA now & his spirit & personality helped the genesis of a series I've been working on for a couple years now. It's called Frolic & is about performers, dancers & characters exploring their own uniquely inherent body language & personas. Eric's trust in me & his excitement to play & try new things inspires me. He's got a jubilance & curiosity I connect with & it makes for an exciting experience as we try things with out a set destination.
What’s your favourite photo (ever / at the moment) and why?
I don't know if I have a favourite photo of all time or even at the moment as much as I have a favourite kind of photo. Doesn't matter whether it's portraits, landscapes or a still-life but colour monochrome work has always & likely will continue to be my favourite kind of work. There's a painterly quality too it that I really love when working with more limited colour palettes & really connect with that in work I admire. A few examples that come to mind are Charlie Crane's Welcome to Pyongyang series as well the work of folks like Damien Maloney & Tracy Nguyen.
How do you want to be remembered?
As a good human & a great artist.