Street-stomping reportage photographer Kevin Amato will from tonight exhibit his newest collection, F*ck the Golden Years. The display, hosted at Casa de Costa’s pre-war arthouse in lower Manhattan, studies The Bronx at its most feral and blithe – a scathing realism simmers beneath scenes of play and sun-kissed whimsicality. We caught up with Amato as he’d finished filming the show’s preview video, below.
When did you start taking photos of New York? Was your talent an accidental discovery or the result of a conscious project?
I grew up in New York… between the suburbs and the city. It was the contrast of the two that I found interesting. My brother gave me my first camera- after lifting (stealing) it from some girl’s house party… We were like 15. Was definitely accidental but I always knew I loved photography. In middle school, I would study the early works of Stanley Kubrick, the work of Helmut Newton and obsess over Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine.
What does “F*ck the Golden Years” exhibit?
It shows work that’s a bit more personal to me- in contrast to my commercial stuff… It’s all the li’l things and moments I love about life. I am a part of every photograph – not a voyeur.
If you had to pick a favourite portrait from it, which would it be and why?
Impossible! My favourite part of the exhibition is my photo diary section. It brings back a lot of good.. (and not so good) memories.
How do you typically go about finding/sourcing the subjects you want to shoot? Do you usually know who you want to capture immediately upon finding them?
I stomp the pavement street casting… and shoot a lot of friends… models. Most shoots are spontaneous – some are postured. I leave that up to the viewer.
Have you ever run into any tight/dangerous spots when shooting?
Quite often… I love the element of spontaneity without coming across sensationalised or the ladder-lacking soul and substance. I see myself as a reportage photographer – so images are kinda made by all means necessary. Naturally gaining access and trust within these outside worlds and various subcultures- some often unrepresented in art and fashion can have its drawbacks… But that same access and trust is quite lovely and humbling…
F*ck the Golden Years runs until March 31st.
Words: Jack Mills