An interview with the talented Glasgow based photographer C.J. Monk. A little something out of the ordinary!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background as a photographer?
I've always had an interest in photography but it's only really in this past year that its became a big part of my life. In terms of qualifications I don't have any, other than whatever I got in school. I am self taught from books and youtube videos, it sounds a bit shitty but it's the truth. I sometimes wish I did go and learn properly in a college or something but I think Im doing ok just now.... Actually Im being modest, I think Im doing great.
Where do you get your inspiration/ideas from?
Right now? Androgyny and gender rules in society. I think its great to see traditional roles of men and women blur and those barriers wear down. Its something I think about a lot and want to bring into my work more.
Have you ever had any strange experiences on a photo shoot?
If it's a good shoot, yes. All my last project shoots were strange. One that proper freaked me out though was during the 'Buried' shoot with my model pal Klara. She let me bury her head in mud inside a box I made with just the front of her face sticking out the top. Really weird looking. It took a lot of mud and you don't realise how heavy it all is. It was pressing on her neck and in her ears and to her credit she was mega cool through the whole thing but I was freaking out a bit looking at it all.
You work with models in the majority of your photographs. What is your technique to get models to encapsulate the vision you have in your head?
I normally have an idea of what I’m going for and I just tell them what that is and try to be as detailed as possible. In the studio it’s just a case of communicating and knowing when something is working and when it isn't.
Do you feel there is a pressure to adapt as a photographer in the age of social media and camera phones? Some would say it can dull our appreciation of great photography, what is your perspective?
I think just because there’s so many photos out in the world right now, it doesn't take away from the truly amazing images. It just means there’s more to sift through to find those great images. Actually sometimes all the crap images just make the amazing images stick out more. I don't think it dulls anything. Personally I like social media as a platform to share and it does make the world a smaller place in terms of throwing stuff around at each other. Its like any other medium though in the sense that you will still get a lot of crap. I like the age we live in. The Internet is still new and the possibilities are endless. Who knows what will happen. Maybe we'll reach a terminal velocity when the Internet just breaks from all the cupcake photos.
Do you have any up and coming projects that we can look out for?
For the next three months I’m focusing on editorial work with some new creative folk I have been chatting with both in Glasgow and London. I've also written a short film that I've been sitting on for a few months so I’m going to get that into production too. I need to find a tall sexy guy to play the lead role but sadly I’m not that good at acting.
If you are a tall sexy guy or want to see more of C.J's excellent work then visit www.cjmonk.com