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Interview with photographer Eddie Christie, part three of three

Figures
Figures
Eddie Christie Photography

You also mentioned feeling as if most of your contemporaries have moved on to do better things as you are starting over. What exactly is the contrast between your path and theirs, in your eyes?

Eddie Christie
Jude Ribisi Photography

Just before and during the time period when I was taking care of my grandmothers, there were about 10-15 photographers, myself included, that I knew of, in the US, doing male nudes in a certain style of photography called, chiaroscuro. Nowadays it’s called Low Key which I think came about because of digital photography. Anyway, chiaroscuro is an art term for the distribution of light and shade or mainly darks in a painting or image. In photography terms, it’s basically the opposite of a silhouette. So, back to the question…because I was taking care of my grandmothers, my photography, for the most part was put on hold. I did do some work but I didn’t have the time to devote to finding galleries and stores to sell my prints or find publications to print my work and so forth. Those other photographers have gone on to make a name for themselves, whereas, I feel I am still relatively unknown.

I haven’t made and sold calendars or published books of my work and I am not getting paid the big bucks for photography gigs. I still have models constantly cancel at the last minute or are no-shows. I feel that if I were a bigger or known name, that wouldn’t happen. However, at the same time, I am constantly being contacted by models around the US and in fact, around the world who want me to photograph them (and pay for travel, expenses and their fee of course). I just don’t make that kind of money to be able to do that. I don’t have the paying job connections that I used to have. It’s a different world and I’ve fallen behind. I’m trying to catch up but I wonder if it’s worth it since I do Fine Art photography and not fashion or a certain popular style.

Plus I work with all kinds of models, body types and in different styles. My most popular work is with the muscular male models and those with big [penises]. Sorry to be blunt but that’s how it is. I refuse to focus only on muscles and [penis] size just to become popular. I also used to photograph handicap people, mostly wheel-chaired bodybuilders that was looked down upon and considered fetish work in bad taste. However, all of the sudden it’s a popular thing to do, especially if the guy is a disabled veteran.

So, yeah, I feel left behind. I feel as though I am an unacknowledged path finder or co-leader. My work is not acknowledged in photography books whereas most of my peers have been. I don’t mean to sound like a sad sack or someone who is jealous, I'm not. In my eyes, it’s just the facts of life that because my life and photography was put on hold and that the world of photography changed from film to digital, as well as the dawn of the internet, the rules also changed. I was a hold out for film because I didn't believe digital would ever be as good as or better than film. I still don't believe that digital images printed on paper will be able to last as long as a silver halide crystal images on paper but I could be wrong. The other problem I see is how this country wants instant gratification or the next novel thing. For example, I think it is totally disgusting that a 16 year old with no formal training, working in digital and Photoshop, can all of the sudden be one of the biggest names in the New York scene, working with top models and getting published in some of the biggest magazines. It's repulsive to me. Not that the person doesn't have a natural ability but that America would choose to pick someone like him over someone who has spent years training and developing their skill and ability.

Eddie Christie Interview, PART 1
Eddie Christie Interview, PART 2

More interviews: KENN, Mary Lambert, SATURN, Stephen Dittmer, Stephan Nance, Mark David Gerson, Eric Himan, Kevin J Thornton, Sammy Crawford, John Carrasco, YogaBear, Bryan Nevin with Christopher Van Etten.

More on Eddie:

Full name: Douglas Edward Christie, I use my middle name as a photographer.

Nicknames: Many, but nothing current. Let’s see. Flash, Bink, Bug, Nukie, Huggie Dougie … those were the most popular.

Height: 5’4”

Zodiac sign: Sagittarius to the T.

Tattoos: Two and counting on my right arm, both mean peace. I plan to have a short sleeve saying the word peace in as many languages as possible. My left arm has plans for my Celtic heritage but just what, I haven’t decided yet. The right arm takes precedence.

Piercings: Left ear, the rest have been removed over time.

Favorite colors: Blue ~ it enthralls my soul.

If you were not human, you would be: A beautiful reblooming flower or bush with a wonderful scent.

Person responsible for driving you into photography: Myself. I’ve had influences but no one drove me to photography. As said earlier, my grandfather, my uncle, my high school art teacher and my college photographer professor, those were my influences.

Best thing about being a photographer: I get to see people naked! No, probably the fact that I can be creative in so many different ways. Photography can be used in 2D or 3D, like in multi-media works of art and the aspects of 2D are numerous. I can use film, digital, or polaroid. I can develop imagesonto paper, glass, cloth or I can use still images to create a video. I could go on but I think you get the point.

Sum up yourself in ONE word: Sagittarius is a good one. Hmm. Dichotomy. Harmony, no, umm … I don’t know, maybe passionate.