We met Laidric at this year’s L.A. Zinefest (he was selling zines at the table next to ours) and quickly realized that we wanted to feature his work on the site. His photography is a great look at life in Texas from a truly unique perspective. Enjoy the interview and be sure to visit his website, http://laidricstevenson.format.com and follow his Instagram at @18percentphotographer
Please introduce yourself to the Snapshot Galleria Audience and tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello, my name is Laidric Stevenson, based in of the city of Dallas, in the Great state of Texas. A Father, Husband, son and a photo nerd with way too many cameras trying to burn through as much film as possible.
How long have you been a photographer? What drew you into photography as an art form?
I’ve been a photographer since I was a sophomore in high school, which was 25 years ago. I was always interested in cameras, how they looked, how they felt. So when I found out my school offered a photography class, I jumped at the chance. This class led me to join my school’s newspaper and yearbook staff my junior year, and things just progressed from there. At that time I didn’t consider anything I was doing photographically as art, my interest in photography as an art form didn’t come until later, when I decided to return to my college alma matter in 2004 to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in photography. Unfortunately I was only able to take a few classes before I had to leave school due to other obligations, but it was enough to make me obsessed with learning about photography’s place within the art world, and naturally my own work started to move in that direction.
What is (currently) your favorite film/camera combination? Why?
I use multiple cameras, and each camera usually is being used to shoot a particular series of work; but I would say my current favorite-favorite camera right now would be my Leica M4 with a 28mm lens and I’m either running Portra 400 or Ultramax 400 (because Portra prices are getting insane out in these streets…) for color or Ilford HP5 for black and white. I used to be one of those guys who didn’t understand why people fanned out so hard on Leicas, until I got one of my own, it’s just the feel of the camera and how it operates, plus I just love to hear the click of the shutter in my ear… It’s an experience photographing with a Leica that I’ve never felt using any other camera period, I guess now I sound like one of those fanboys!
Your work seems like it can fit into a wide ranges of categories, how would you describe what you do?
I would say I photograph life, space and time. And that may not be easily apparent when you look at my work, because I think people equate photographing life with photographing people, but I think you can find life in how people live, and that comes from how we utilize the spaces that we create to live in, that New Topographics stuff, but I also like to deal with passage of time, which is one thing that photography does extremely well. Each frame is a moment in time that existed for that one second, or fraction of a second and then without that physical evidence is gone forever. I love to see bodies of work from other photographers where they have re-visited and re-photographed places / areas where a significant amount of time has passed or photographed places associated with past events. I have a strong desire to re-trace and re-photograph the areas in Texas that Stephen Shore photographed for Uncommon Places (I’ve only re-photographed one – M ½ Avenue, Galveston, Texas)
Your photography zines are incredible, tell us a little bit about your zines. Are you currently working on any new issues?
Thank you! I love making zines, I love buying and looking at other people’s zines. They are a great, inexpensive way to get a good representation of your work into other people’s hands. It’s my personal opinion that photography truly shines when it is presented in a book format. Singular prints are nice and all, but for me, photographs are best consumed when they are paired alongside other photographs and are allowed to play off of and speak to one another as an overall statement. And that’s how I shoot as well, my photos are never one-off’s there is always going to be another photograph or photographs that it belongs with, I just may have not shot it yet. So, I’m always working on something that eventually will end up in a zine. Right now I have two black and white series that I’m shooting that both will end up printed as zines, as well as my partner and I will be working on our next issue of Meeting New People isn’t the Easiest Thing.
Can you tell us a bit about your project, “Meeting New People isn’t the Easiest Thing”?
Sure, Meeting New People Isn’t the Easiest Thing (or MNPITET for short…) is an ongoing photographic conversation between two photographers, myself and Janna Añonuevo Langholz (Janna’s website: https://janna-langholz-vl4q.squarespace.com/) that started when we met through completely electronic means (which is so these modern times…). We both had entered a film photography only competition called FotoFilmic back in 2013, and both of us were shortlisted for a final cut of 30 photographers. Janna happened to be moving from St Louis to Dallas to attend SMU for her Master’s, and seeing I lived in Dallas, she reached out and left me a message on my blog. We started emailing back and forth and through these emails discovered that we shared a love of photobooks and zines, and we talked about collaborating on one of our own, which is how MNPITET was born. We setup a tumblr (http://meetingnewpeoplezine.tumblr.com/) and began posting away. Two years later, when Dallas had its first Dallas Zine Party, we decided that we would publish our first issue from the pool of photographs we had taken over the past two years. We met a lot of local people and received a lot of positive feedback. The next year we attended the neighboring Fort Worth Zine Fest, had a repeat tabling at the second Dallas Zine Party (where we debuted our Issue #2), and I drove down to Houston to represent us at their zine fest. It was an honor to be able to come out to Los Angeles for the zine fest, especially meeting y’all out there, because I’ve been lurking and following Snapshot for the past couple of years!
Anything else you would like to add?
I want to thank y’all for this opportunity to talk a little about my photography and showing some of my work, as well as picking up an issue of MNPITET #2 at LAZF! I know something will take me back out to Los Angeles in the near future, so I look forward to being able to hook up and hang out while I’m out there!