Who is Stephen Lorber?
I grew up in NYC and began making photographs and painting at age 12. I worked my way through college and grad school photographing rock and jazz music personalities and groups. I did album covers, ads, publicity, covered parties and recording sessions and made one of the first music videos in 1967. I lived in the Virgin Is., Rome and New Mexico, making photographs, paintings and prints. From 1972 to 1985 I concentrated on painting and printmaking. I had fifteen exhibitions in NYC, Dallas, Santa Fe and L.A. during that period. By 1990 I had gone over to photography full time, mostly working on the large format Mythology project. Some of those images were shown at The Kitchen in NYC in 1994 and at the Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Center, Madrid, Spain. For the last 16 years I’ve been making images dealing with rural life, suburban life, homelessness, crazy skate board people and other related subjects. And I’m addicted to fly fishing.
New York City! You are so wonderful!?
I grew up there and maintain a studio in Tribeca but spend most of my time on my farm in upstate NY. I love the energy, the food, my haircut, galleries, museums and all the beautiful people. I gather most of my cast there.
How does movement affect a photo?
Moving objects in a photo can add dimensional and compositional relevance. The eye perceives where the object has been and where it is going making for a more complex and hopefully interesting composition geometrically.
If you skateboard, you can’t be afraid to have people laugh at you? (Mark Gonzales)
I don’t skateboard and never did, so I can’t directly speak to this. My observation of skateboard people is that they are either fearless or have a serious death wish. They are surfing on concrete. Some of them wear helmets and knee and elbow guards; however, I never use those people in my work. I guess the fearlessness appeals to me and makes the images exciting.
What do skateboarders like to have for breakfast?
I don’t know.
If ‘Illmatic’ by Nas isn’t your favorite Rap album, why?
I’m 78 and Rap music doesn’t really move me.
If ‘Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis isn’t your favorite Jazz album, why?
It is a favorite that I’ve listened to for a long time, but I don’t have an absolute favorite.
Edward Hopper or Jean-Michel Basquiat?
Every picture tells a story? (Rod Stewart)
No, not in my experience.
Do you think that fun and intellectuality are contradictory concepts in art?
Not really. I don’t like when art is dubbed “Fun”. If it’s serious work, saying it’s fun belittles the effort, unless it’s not serious work and then it’s just a waste of time. As for intellectuality I’m interested in visceral appeal rather than an intellectual argument.
Being homeless in Santa Monica is less frightening than being homeless in New York City?
Venice seems to be a place where it’s easy for the homeless to exist. There are groups bringing them surplus food and restaurants feeding them out the back door. Even though they get shuffled around, it’s warm most of the year. They have access to bathrooms and showers on the beach. A lot of them have cell phones and pet dogs are a regular thing. They are everywhere in L.A. In NYC it’s freezing in the winter. Homeless encampments are not tolerated.
Mythology is a subjective truth?
Mythology and religion are one of the great interests of my life. If you look at Greek and Roman mythology, the characters of the gods are a reflection of human personality and a way of explaining nature. Think of the myth of Persephone and Demeter as an explanation of the seasons.
Palm tree is your favorite Christmas tree?
What’s usually your last thought before falling asleep?
A just beneath the surface anticipatory terror.
Favorite place to visit?
Your goal in life? A permanent residence in Miami?
I’m 78 and have achieved most of my goals. I’ve been to Miami once, it’s very nice but I would not like to live there. I like the Westside of L.A. and Topanga and hope to be able to spend more time there.
_Uwe Buschmann (copy editing Silvia Strauch)