This is Waterfall’s interview with Kevin Tadge in April 2012.
Where are you based?
Right now I’m in New York, but I’m originally from North Carolina and go back there a fair amount.
Could you describe your work for us?
I tend to focus a lot on weird objects or anything arresting that I come across. I use a lot of flash too. I’m always interested in trying to make extremely flat pictures. For some reason, I’m attracted to the idea of photographs as 2-dimensional objects and the idea of the various elements within a picture interacting on a flat plane. The flash helps achieve this a lot of the time.
What do you think makes a piece of your work successful?
There are photos I like that no one else does and photos others like that I can’t stand. So maybe something that’s interesting to me as well as another person is evidence of some kind of communication going on. That sounds like a sort of success. Usually, I have some expectation for the end result of a photograph, but how any one image lines up with that expectation isn’t necessarily a good indication of success.
Do you have a creative process you can share with us?
A lot of the process is just walking around with a camera and trying to be attentive. I also get obsessed with or curious about different things and that’s when I’ll shoot a lot of constructed photos. That kind of work usually stems from having an image in my head and wondering if there’s a way to make it or recreate it physically.
How have you got to the stage you’re at now?
I have no idea what stage I’m at, but wherever I am I’ve gotten here by taking pictures as much as possible and trying to think critically about them. And trying new things, always trying new things, and putting as much as possible out into the world.
Could you recommend any equipment for our recommendation list?
I love my Mamiya RB67. It’s huge and bulky but the 90mm lens and the images it creates are stunning. The world might actually look better through one of these than it does in real life. And I mean just looking through the viewfinder. If it wasn’t so heavy, I’d carry it with me everywhere and use it instead of my eyes. (Kidding, but only slightly)
Would you like to add any books to our reading list?
I recent finished A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again which is an essay collection by David Foster Wallace. It’s as sharp and funny as anything I’ve read, and I’ve noticed it’s started to shape the way I think about things as I experience them if that makes any sense. And I just bought the Errata Editions version of Toshi-e by Yutaka Takanashi. It’s sublime. I could easily look at it everyday.
Have you discovered any good music recently?
I’m pretty excited about the new Danger Mouse-produced album, Mondo, by Electric Guest. It comes out in the next month or so, but a few of the songs are already floating around.
Is there anyone’s work you think we should checkout?
There are far too many great photographers around to possibly just name one or a few.
Are you looking to collaborate with anyone at the moment?
I’m going to be working with Wes Latta on a couple of short film projects in the near future. And also with Frank Adamek on a top secret little thing.
How does the future look for your work?
Great, I hope! Maybe I should ask you how my future looks.