Ken Weingart, photographer and artist, has had a 20-year career in the art and entertainment industries. Growing up with his family in Los Angeles (his father was a screen writer on major television series), Weingart sees his early exposure to the industry as an early influence in his desire to pursue the visual arts. He watched the development of film in a neighborhood friend’s home-based darkroom. As a young teen, he made his own darkroom out of a space in his mother’s home, so began his adventure into photography.
Weingart went to the University of California, and earned a degree in history. After studying abroad for several years in Italy and Spain, he came back to the U.S. hungry for artistic inspiration, he began his career by assisting several prominent photographers in New York City and Los Angeles. Observing their creativity and artistic visions became the catalyst for him to branch out on his own.
He finds his inspirations from the world around him. He is not the conventional tourist, but rather tends to spend months at a time immersing himself in the cultures and languages of the countries he visits. He has truly explored the people, and art and architecture of the forty countries he has visited, and this interest in the world around him are evident in all of his projects.
What was your first photography job?
I’m trying to remember the official first one. It was more several events of working than just one. I did some consumer work for people who needed shots, which helped get me started. There was work with little films, and magazines here and there. The Village View, which is not around anymore, was like the “Village Voice” in New York, but in Los Angeles. They gave me one of the first big freelance opportunities in that I was able to shoot a few celebrities for them.
Who was your favorite person to shoot?
Your latest project is called Motel Stories. How did you begin?
I was trying to do something I hadn’t seen, or that wasn’t declared as a series as such. I wanted to do something that would be kind of new and fresh and interesting. My series statement (on the website) talks about the voyeur society we live in. For the arc of those stories, I thought out and story-boarded utilizing various dreams, imagination, and musings.
How did you go about finding the people to be your subjects?
It was a combination of things. A lot of the subjects are clients, or former clients and people I know that I had already photographed. Also, sometimes I meet people through friends, and occasionally I might write an ad to see if people want to participate, so it’s a combination of three or four methods.
How long did it take you to complete the project?
The series probably took 6 to 8 months.
You said that you had written a treatment. Are you going to make this into a film?
I did recently write an eight page treatment for Motel Stories. I was telling you that my dad, who passed away when I was a kid, wrote for TV as a screen writer for cop shows like “Streets of San Francisco”, “Barnaby Jones”, and “The FBI”. I read a couple screenplays of his that I have as souvenirs, and it’s kind of in the blood. It takes the fine art series and the imagination of those stories even further. They become more interesting and wild. So yes, it could be a movie.
I was just thinking of this cartoon my mom had on her kitchen refrigerator door. It’s of two guys that are starving in the Sahara desert. They’re on the sand and crawling. Then one says to the other, “What I really want to do is direct.”
Ken Weingart maintains his sense of humor and inspiration through his travels around the world. He continues to delight in immersing himself in the cultures, art, and people around him. He is currently focusing on his fine art series and film-making. To view his current projects and past artistic accomplishments, please access www.weingartphoto.com and www.kenweingart.com