July 12, 2012
I started to email Jesse Carmody several days ago with the simple purpose of letting him know that we were blown away by, and appreciate his amazing photography! So much so, that we did a short post about it. As I was typing the email, the thought started slowly sinking in my brain bucket… interview this dude. Once the thought had fully uploaded, it was full speed ahead. I continued to express our appreciation and asked Mr. Carmody if he would be willing to do an interview with us. Jesse’s responded with “Well, that rules, I’d absolutely be willing to have an interview.” And here we are today. Get ready to be inspired.
F: When did you first get into photography?
JC: I got into photography, officially, in my sophomore year of college. I’d always been drawn to cameras and making images, as a kid, but I wasn’t the kid who “grew up in a dark room” by any means; I always loved the mechanics of cameras and loved framing my surroundings in a viewfinder and hearing the shutter click. I took one high school photography course to avoid having to draw in a more conventional art class, because I dreaded even having to look at my awful drawings let alone have them graded! So fast-forward to my second year college; I’m in San Diego, in line to go the business BA route and I have this revelation that “you are what you do” and I knew I didn’t want to be a suit. I loved aspects of marketing, the psychology that went into selling, but that wasn’t completely for me. I also really enjoyed graphic design and digital art courses I was taking so I decided to pursue commercial-art; I went around interviewing working professionals to unload my life and lack of direction on them and they all shoved me toward photo-school. It seemed plain for them to see that that’s what I should be doing so I just did it.
F: Who inspired you then and who inspires you now?
JC: At that time, those very people who saw in me what I couldn’t and steered me toward something that felt so right were the people that really inspired and motivated me. Nowadays, I’m inspired by anybody who’s truly head-over-heels in love with a craft or task; I love passionate people and I love when they share there passion with me. My favorite subjects are people who lock themselves up in creative workspaces and get lost for hours on end; it’s fucking magical.
F: What is your “everyday use” camera?
JC: My everyday use camera is the original canon 5D with my all-plastic “nifty-fifty” f/1.8; I have way better glass and better bodies but I started using that setup on motorcycle road trips so that in the event that I drop, break, loose or have it stolen it’d be the least costly replacement. As time went on, I fell in love with the colors that particular sensor and glass made; I’m really into it and it’s my 6 year old ghetto setup!
F: What does a day in the life of Jesse Carmody look like?
JC: A day in the life of Jesse Carmody, as varied as they are, sometimes looks like this: I wake up and I’M READY TO EAT! ( I’m really a breakfast-person, I wake up hungry!) I immediately make coffee; coffee is a HUGE part of my life, I’m super passionate about it. Buying beans from local dudes, sealing them in air-tight chambers, hand-grinding them in a little burr grinder, and manually brewing them through various methods. Next I’m at the typewriter, I try to write my girlfriend, who lives in San Diego, a letter everyday (we got started pen-pal-ing when I was on a road-trip last summer and it just stuck…). An hour here and there on bike blogs, forums, reblog-blogs looking for inspiration pieces. I try to ride my bike a ton so if I don’t have work that day it’s off to the hills; I just built up my dream bike, a Hufnagel cyclocross frame, so I’ve been pretty active on the bike recently; I’m perpetually sore and I love that that’s just become part of my identity… But coffee is a pain-receptor blocker so it’s time for more coffee; immediately!!!! Later on, it’s emails, instagram, tumblr, social-networking type stuff. On to editing, but not before MORE COFFEE! I’m loosing my train of thought here, I guess I tend to go with the wind and stay out of routine so the rest of the day takes on it’s own shape in a natural way by staying open to the randomness that life throws at you and responding accordingly…
F: What advice would you give to someone that is just getting into photography?
JC: To someone that is just getting into photography I’d say “Hey congratulations, you picked a great time to pick up a camera!” This digital age of photography is incredible; beyond the initial investment of a body, a lens, and some form of file-handling and editing software being a photography buff is nearly free. There’s millions of online tutorials, you can shoot till you’re blue in the face and simply delete the shit that’s no good and then editing photos is easier than ever. I’m not at all threatened by the fact that “everyone’s a photographer” these days; I think it’s great that we live in this viral digital world were people can easily share their art; of course there’s going to be a lot of content to sift through, and a lot of bad content at that, but there’s so truly incredible and inspiring creative content out there and this is in no way exclusive to photography. Some of the great musicians of our time may not have even made it past local coffee shops if it weren’t for the viral nature of the world wide web.
F: Do you ever scroll through your photos and think “Damn I’m good”? I guess another way to put this is, what piece of work are you most proud of?
JC: HAHA sometimes I do toot my own horn in the company of NOBODY but of course I’m my own harshest critic… I’m most proud of the work which has the greatest response or impact; it’s nice to share a photo of an experience or a moment and have it touch somebody else or inspire them in some way.
F: I see that your bad ass Hufnagel cross was featured on ProllyIsNotProbably. That is one sweet machine sir. How did you get connected with Hufnagel, and what was your inspiration behind this build?
JC: John Watson put my bike on his blog!? Ok I’m back now… I had to go find that, I didn’t even know that; no wonder my flickr got so many hits, that dude draws a crowd! So anyway, that bike… It’s fucking great right!? I don’t even feel self-centered for that last one; it’s all to the credit of Jordan. I met Jordan through Kyle Kelley (tracko) in late 2009; I was up visiting family near Portland and while my brother and I were on the train into town, Kyle said “Hey can you go shoot pictures of Jordan Hufnagel for the blog?” Of course I was into it but, FUCK!, I left my camera back in Albany (an hour back) so I walked into a bodega and bought two disposable camera’s, went to Jordan’s workshop and shot the shit out of those plastic bastards! I think that might have thrown Jordan off a bit but I reassured him that it would be “RAD!” Since that summer, I’ve somehow managed to wind up in Portland every summer and I’d always make it a point to see Jordan and as time went on we developed a friendship. So back in January of this year, I had a break-in burglary that cost me a ton of photo gear and a couple of bikes, the blow was softened by my choice to be insured for such events and so in a way it was the catalyst to start building my dream bike; it needed to be perfect, minimalist, utilitarian and FUN! I was pretty sure of how I wanted the lines to flow, how I wanted to internally route everything and what components I’d end up using; Jordan took my cues and went for it and what we got was amazing; I’m so incredibly happy with it!
F: Why did you choice Hufnagel over other custom bicycle builders?
JC: I chose Hufnagel because I know him, I like him, I really like his work, and I loved the idea of owning a frame that was built by the hands of a friend.
F: Where is your favorite place to ride?
JC: My favorite place to ride is in the hills and fire roads around my city; I live in the Valley in LA, which has an odd stigma to it, but I’m butted right up in to the back of the Santa Monica mountain range and I use the shit out of them. There are so many routes that I ride that just hop back and forth between pavement and dirt and I love that variety in a ride.
F: Do you feel that there is a connection between people that ride and their level of creativity?
JC: I feel that riding is both an outlet and an inlet; we’re able to blow off steam to come back to our crafts, our lives, and our relationships with a clear head and we’re also able to tune into parts of life which can only be experienced by bicycle and that also inspires and motivates creativity so yes, in short, I totally think there is a connection between cycling and creativity. It’s just downright good for your soul, man!
Big thanks to Jesse for taking the time to answer our questions with great detail, as well as, provide some of his amazing photos! Definitely take the time and head over to his web site, blog, flickr and Instagram. I promise you wont be disappointed. If you want to see the amazing Hufnagel Jesse had built, go to his flickr page asap. It truly is a beautiful cycling creation.
Get motivated Folly friends. Go ride x create!!