GARETH LEWIS

It's still not easy [putting my work out there]. I question what I put out there every single time I release anything, whether it's good enough and if it will be that rung on the ladder that's better than the last but not as good as the next. Everything I have just done is the catalyst for the next to be better. While my images portray ideas far from perfection, my technical approach strives for that perfect shot, that perfect edit, every time. In saying that, having done my own thing, and what I'm now associated with, for a little over fifteen years now, my confidence is drawn from experience; essentially, that's just part of the human experience. Do anything enough and it will become second nature. From this, I can walk into any room, set up, shoot, produce my style, and walk away with something that is quintessentially mine. I was once told self-assurance is a very valuable thing, a hundred people can tell you you're doing great work but if you don't believe it, what's the point?

 

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I don't try and shoot women for the sake of their gender, I try and capture a story within an image, and personally I feel like I can relate to a story as portrayed by a female more than I can a male. I've always had a very strong female presence in my life, be it friends or family. I try and capture all the different sides to a female. I want the askew. I want the raw. I want the side of her she's stuck to the bottom of her bed and won't let anyone near, I trust that side of her, her vulnerability, and it's that ability to tell the truth that I trust and love about this work. I find a hundred times more honest in what I do than I ever would under commercial or heavily directed situations. Love it or hate it, you can't deny that females hold a more delicate power on any street, in any room, and have a far more complex story to tell then by comparison to a male. Let me make one thing very clear, in no way, shape, or form do I see what I do as objectifying the female form. I don't want the perfect muse or the perfect prototype. If there is anything I am conscious of it's that none of us are perfect. I'm just trying to capture that.

 

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Every shoot is a case by case creative journey. I have to relate to people and have a personal connection to them, to her. It's all about trust. These souls don't know what I'm shooting 'til it's shot, stood on the other side of a room with a camera between her and I, asking her to draw out all her fear, and past, and hurt, and presence, and love, to what end? But if there is faith in me as a friend, a person, and as an artist, then it's going to make for an easier ride, and every now and then capture that touch of magic. As far as qualities are concerned, it's all in the perception of herself. If you're not sure you want to shoot, if you're umming and ah-ing, it's not going to work; not at that stage anyway. I'm all for development, for creative growth between two people looking to expel something. Together. So you are right, collaboration is key.

 

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What attracted me to Melissa Mai? It was just one photograph where she has the most piercing eyes; I am a believer that eyes tell you more than anything else ever could. After developing a friendship with Melissa, it's her ruthlessness, her unapologetic attitude, her sensuality, her drive, her smile, her dedication to the cause (the list goes on) that keeps me coming back to her time and time again. It's not very often you'll find someone who's willing to stand on the opposite side of a busy inner city intersection in her underwear and heels.

Personally, I think she's an exceptional example of a woman; she embodies everything I spoke of earlier in relation to rawness, truth, all encompassing emotion, and reliability.

A good collaboration is when two people have a creative connection between them that is not only open to creating multiple stories but also has an incredible, indescribable level of trust. That's a pretty unique combination. That's what Mel and I have.

 

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It breaks my heart when people misinterpret my work. I put so much of myself into what I do and for it to be received on any other level than what is intended, raw beauty, saddens me. And it's not only the randy comments, on the flip side I've had people see what I do as dirty, degrading and immoral; these are the two main extreme misconceptions. I have no control over how someone feels, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I am however always happy to talk someone through what it is I'm trying to achieve. I want to say I do a lot of shoots that don't get published because people are relating to what I do publish, and they want to capture themselves in the same light and way that I do.

As for me, whether I draw out of you a positive or a negative reaction, I've done my job and made you feel something, feel anything. The only thing I won't stand for is not respecting the model. Diss me all you want but the line is drawn at degrading the talent.

 

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One of the most challenging aspects of my work but one that I'm grateful for is: My perfectionism. It's challenging because it is time consuming and it has me question myself all of the time. I'm grateful for it because it's the standard at which normal is measured from for me.

 

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As far as my professional work is concerned, I'm just in the first stages of releasing a book of my work. There I said it, you heard it here first, and you'll have to hold me to it now.

I run two businesses and have clients coming to me now wanting to shoot what is quintessentially mine and that's just the bees knees. I couldn't ask for anything more.

I hope to expand in numbers the people I work with and I am looking forward to shooting another couple series to follow up the 'end of the affair' soon. I also need a haircut. That's definitely in the near future.

 

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The end of civilization will be caused by: Lack of love and respect for one another.

 













01 // Siera Jem // sierajem
02 // Ashlee Gatgens // ashleegatgens
03 // Melissa Mai // _melissa_mai
04 // Melissa Mai // _melissa_mai
05 // Bonnie A. // bonnieandersonmusic
06 // Melissa Mai // _melissa_mai
07 // Hana S. // hanaschlesinger
08 // Bonnie A. // bonnieandersonmusic
09 // Frankie Valentine // missfrankiev
10 // Melissa Mai // _melissa_mai
11 // Hana S. // hanaschlesinger
12 // Melissa Mai // _melissa_mai
13 // Uncredited

 

Gareth Lewis // garethlewis // garethlewisphotography.com

 

JUNNNKTANK is an online zine which has existed in one form or another since 2006.
For over a decade, the focus has been on highlighting the efforts of inspiring individuals and artists from around the world.

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Submissions are always welcome to junk@junnnktank.com.