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cory schmitz's photography interview

On paper he's Cory Schmitz, graphic designer and illustrator based in Boston, Massachusetts, but when he's not working for his supper, Cory likes to take photos. Photos of fish, the city, his pals and any neat thing he comes across, but always with considered composition and plenty of care.

We wanted to find out more about his photographic pursuits so we got in touch to ask a few questions.

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What is your name and how old are you? My name is Cory Schmitz & I am a 26-year-old boy!

Where were you born and where do you live now? I was born in Portland, OR, and I just moved from Chicago to Boston. I spent most of my life in Seattle.

What areas, things or people in your neighbourhood do you most like to photograph? I like to take photos of anything really. Signs of nature popping up in urban environments, buildings, anything that makes an interesting composition. I don't really take photos of strangers, though, mostly just my friends hanging out.

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What do you shoot on (digital or analogue) and why do you choose to use that type? I mostly shoot analogue these days. I used a digital camera primarily for a long time, but after a while it felt like cheating... is that weird? I just feel like film is more genuine and I like the way it looks a lot more than digital. My primary camera is a recently-obtained Contax T3. Before that, I used a Contax TVS. For digital, I have a Ricoh GR Digital IV.

Is there a certain camera or type of film that you wish you could own? The Contax T3 was the camera I really wanted and I have it now! Although, sometimes I look at the Tokyo Camera Style blog and get envious of everyone's cameras. For instance, the Mamiya 7II looks amazing but it's pretty pricy. For film, I wish it was easier to find Fujicolor Superia Reala 100 ISO. I really like the way it looks, and I've had to search for expired rolls on eBay whenever I want to use it.

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Is there a running theme to the work you create, or do you just make whatever comes to mind? I try to use one-point-perspective whenever I can (I am a big Stanley Kubrick fan) - level, straight-on photos with the subject in the center. That's the only consistency I can think of.

What kinds of ideas and things are you working on at the moment? I mostly focus on my graphic design work, so I tend not to think about photography too much until I'm in the moment, taking photos. I'm going down to Austin, TX next week, and I have a couple of packs of Instax Mini instant film to take photos of my friends with. That should be fun.

What kind of subjects interest you the most? Really anything at all. I just try to have my camera handy at all times. Nature, urban areas, my friends - anything goes.
Do you prefer to create set-up photographs, or just wander the streets until you see a photo? Definitely the latter. I prefer stumbling upon candid moments. I don't think I've ever set up a photo before. Maybe I'll try that someday.

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If you were to teach an photography appreciation class, what kind of lessons would you try to teach your students? To just go outside, take photos of whatever catches your eye and have fun!

What is the strangest thing or thought that has inspired a photo? Sometimes I enjoy taking photos of trash on the ground or gross litter in puddles. I think this comes from art school. We had to go around and takes photos of examples of symbolic, iconic and indexical signs. Art school changes people!

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What other budding photographers do you love? Joe Nigel Coleman, Randy P. Martin, Kazufumi Yamada, Jamie Swick, and Cody Cobb are some of my favourites who I've found on Flickr. Very inspiring. My friends Lauren Colton and Kim Hamlet from art school are also amazing! I love checking out the photographers on the Tokyo Camera Style blog, too.

What do you enjoy doing when not taking photos?
Working (I'm a freelance graphic designer and illustrator). I also like playing video games, going to movies and hanging out with my girlfriend.

Where can we see more of your work? My portfolio is at coryschmitz.com & my Flickr is here.

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