October 2012

Artist and photographer Casey Moore talks to us about his darkroom, landscapes shot on film and the influence of stamps. Having left his job in advertising in order to pursue his passion in photography, Casey reflects on the joy of being able to choose what you do each day. Casey's work captures the organic, beautiful and unexpected.

You were working in advertising when you decided to switch to a career in photography, what prompted you to make the change?I had worked in advertising for just 2 years when I realised that I didn't like where that path was taking me. Photography was my passion and it was one of those 'now or never' situations.

Were you nervous to venture into the world of photography and leave a stable job for something you were passionate about?To be honest, leaving a stable job was the easy bit. Working out what kind of work I wanted to produce and getting good at that was really hard and I'm still going through that today!

What’s been your career highlight to date?Setting up my darkroom last year was a highlight. Up to that point I had been hiring a darkroom and it was really restricting my workflow and how productive I could be. I managed to get my hands on an incredible enlarger and built everything around that. Now I can make my own prints up to 60 inches wide.

Are you working on any new exciting projects?I've been working on my stamp project on and off for nearly two years. In that time I've sold quite a few prints privately but it looks like it will be picked up by a gallery and I'm really excited about exhibiting them. I'm also working on a series of insects. No glamorous or exotic ones just common ones that I come across in everyday life, flies, daddy long legs - that sort of thing.

You shoot using both film and digital, why?I shoot film for my personal projects, most portraits and all landscapes. I use digital all the time for my commercial work. I really love both processes but film has a magical quality that digital can't match.

For your commercial projects you shoot for the likes of Vanity Fair and Sony but would you rather be concentrating solely on your personal endeavours?It may sound like a cliché but they do feed into each other. I really enjoy the solo, hermit-like time I have when I'm working on my personal projects but I love photographing people and commercial stuff too and I don't want to concentrate totally on one or the other right now.

On your website you have series shots of specimens, landscapes, estates and bodies. If you had to chose one series to shoot for the rest of your photography career, which would you chose?Wow, there is no way I could do just one. It's precisely because I get to choose what I do every day that I love it so much. But if I really had to choose just one area then it would have to be people. Meeting and responding to people from different walks of life is something I love and I can't ever imagine running out of ideas when it comes to shooting people.

You have photographed the likes of David Beckham and Simon Pegg, is it nerve racking working with celebrities? Was there anyone in particular you have shot that stood out as an unforgettable experience?David Beckham and Simon Pegg were both super professional so there really were no issues. Photographing the body builders really stands out for me. They are incredibly focussed on their appearance and this makes them completely committed to the process of having their photo taken. That is rare as most people have some reservations when in front of the camera.

Is there anyone or anything in particular you would love to photograph?The Giant Weta is a very rare insect from New Zealand (I am from New Zealand). It is so strange and wonderful looking and is also the heaviest insect in the world. I spent much of the year looking for a specimen and with the help of the Natural History Museum I have just completed photographing one, along with 4 other amazing insects from New Zealand. Working in the Natural History Museum was amazing and has inspired me for future projects.

Your personal projects feature some incredible cityscapes and urban environments, do you go out especially to hunt for a shot or do you just shoot wherever you are?I am obsessed with always having a camera on me and get anxious if I don't have one. I take 4 or 5 cameras with me on every holiday and even on trips to Richmond Park. I don't really go on specific expeditions but I know when I'm likely to come across something special and I'll always be able to capture it.

You have also created a series of photographs based on retro stamps from New Zealand. Where did the idea stem from?My great grandfather was a philatelist, buying and selling stamps for a living in New Zealand. He wrote many books on stamps and also designed the iconic Kiwi stamp. His collection is kept and added to by my mother so I have access to this incredible catalogue. I use a large-format film camera and hard lighting to show off the craftsmanship in the etching. There is so much cultural and historical information in these stamps and the large printing in the darkroom (up to 5 ft wide) really brings them to life.

How would you describe your style of photography?A celebration.

What did you want to be when you were young?A doctor or a downhill skier.

The Stamp Project - Casey Moore from Slipstream Media on Vimeo.

See the rest of Casey's work at caseymoore.com