Profile No. 10—J.M. Giordano

Photo of J.M. Giordano by Sean Scheidt. All other photographs by J.M. Giordano and used with his permission.

“They literally rolled over me; just left me there.” That was what J.M. Giordano told me last July when I asked him about an incident in late April 2015 that received international coverage, where he was knocked to the ground by a group of Baltimore police while trying to photograph the protests and unrest that had been going on since the late afternoon.

Earlier in the night, he had driven into West Baltimore with Sait Serkan Gurbuz, a Reuters photographer; and Baynard Woods, a journalist who worked together with Giordano at City Paper. They stayed close together until they found themselves between a group of twenty or thirty protestors and a group of sixty or seventy police, who, as they charged at the protestors, collided with the two photographers. The police arrested Gurbuz and almost arrested Giordano until Woods intervened, shouting, “He’s a photographer! He’s press!” until they relented.

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Profile No. 9—Nick Sabatalo and 35mm Magazine

Nick shooting Charlotte. All photographs by Peter W. Coulson; see note at end for full credits.

“Oh, that’s good. Nice. Amazing. Who are you?”

It’s 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning and Nick Sabatalo is shooting Charlotte, a model visiting the States from her native France, as she poses by the window of his private studio. She is young enough that in another life, she would be a year or two ahead of me in college, but in real life she’ll soon be featured in 35mm Magazine, the all-film fashion magazine that Sabatalo founded two years ago. Her mother sits on a couch at the opposite end of the room, watching closely and occasionally translating Sabatalo’s directions. (“Turn to the left.” “À gauche, Charlotte.“)

Charlotte is the first of four models Sabatalo plans on shooting that day. Some time earlier, their agency had commissioned him to do a series of test shoots: new models like Charlotte need a professional-quality portfolio that their agency can keep on hand, and one way to do that is for the agency to hire an experienced photographer like Sabatalo to spend a few hours shooting them in various looks. In some instances, such as this one, the looks are picked out by a professional stylist: in this case, Kris Tsvetkova, better known as @krisviva on Instagram, who had styled and modelled for Sabatalo several times in the past.

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Profile No. 8—Chiara Zonca (@shadowontherun)

Chiara Zonca wrote to me last July that her “story with photography is split in two.” As a teenager growing up in Milan, Italy, she fell in love with the idea of being a photographer and studied it for three years. Formal study, she explained later, only led to feelings of defeat and of mediocrity. “I kept comparing myself with others,” she said, “and decided I wasn’t good enough.”

Instead of trying to turn photography into a career, Zonca gave up on it for a while, going into business as a video editor and motion designer. She moved to London “as soon as [she] could,” since she had never really felt at home in Milan. Though editing and motion design proved to be a good means of supporting herself, she realized about three years ago that she had become frustrated and anxious again. Its source, she said, was “living in a city and a nine-to-five job and all of that,” and it manifested itself as “the horrible feeling that [her] life was going in the wrong direction.” That was when she rediscovered her love of travel.

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Profile No. 7—Emmanuel Monzon

N.B.  I conducted Emmanuel’s interview in his native French. Any awkwardness or poor phrasing in the direct quotes is entirely the fault of the translator.

For Emmanuel Monzon, his transition from three-dimensional art to photography was the result of a conscious decision. He had used photography and digital cameras to aid his art, but did not consider himself a photographer, having only studied photography in the context of contemporary art. He was, at that point, a plastic artist who used cameras as a tool. But ten years ago, he wrote, he felt the need to “completely dive into photography” after completing a three-dimensional art project that involved taking urban-landscape photographs and reproducing them to 1:1 scale.

Monzon had no formal background in photography. Born in Paris, he attended L’École des Beaux-Arts to study painting, graduating with honors. He remained in Paris after his graduation, transitioning to the plastic arts after a brief period of exclusively painting. Some time later, he moved to Singapore with his wife, where they lived for until she received a job offer that required them to relocate to Seattle, where they have lived with their two children for six years.

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Profile No. 6—Chase Hart (@myfridayfilms)

[Above: not Chase. See full photo credits at end.]

Whenever I conduct interviews, I always ask the interviewee if there’s anything especially important that they haven’t said yet. Chase Hart (better known as @myfridayfilms* on Instagram) just wrote one sentence: “I’m only a love letter away.” Though it may or may not have been a reference to a Voxtrot song from 2005, the sentence still reminded me of the overall mood of his 35mm fashion photographs: perfectly constructed in a seemingly offhand way, entrancing, and beautifully open-ended.

Hart grew up in South Lake Tahoe, a mountain town in northeastern California on the Nevada border near various internationally-renowned ski areas. “A lot of the people from my hometown are or were pro snowboarders,” he said, “and that circle [was] really art-driven.” From a relatively early age, he continued, he was “surrounded by older kids with good tastes in art and film.” The intersection of art, film, and snowboarding led him to start shooting full-length videos of his friends and other snowboarders on the mountain.

* “What’s the origin of that?” I asked him.
“I love the Cure, like a lot.”

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Profile No. 5—Cody Cobb

This is a profile of Cody Cobb.
“Photography has always been my way of capturing escape attempts,” Cody Cobb wrote. Professionally, he’s a graphic designer, and though he finds the work fulfilling, he spends lots of time on a computer and in what he termed the “inside world,” which he feels the need to periodically escape through photography. In his native Louisiana, he escaped into abandoned buildings; after moving to Seattle, Washington, he started escaping into the wilderness.

That was in late August 2005, when he received a job offer from the Seattle office of the design studio Digital Kitchen and moved from Baton Rouge. Cobb later referred to the timing of the move as “traumatic,” as it happened the same week as Hurricane Katrina, but was careful to add that things eventually worked out. Once he had settled in, he wrote, he “really fell in love with the Pacific Northwest.”

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