Due to a government ban, there are now only 13 of the animals left in the city, all microchipped and owned by a few families who mostly live together in unkempt fields under the same bridge.
Dev Hynes, New York, September 2014. Photo by Matthew Leifheit.
Hobbes Ginseberg is a 20-year-old Los Angeles-based photographer who doesn’t want to make a big deal about their gender but prefers the pronouns she or they. They moved to Seattle after completing high school, and a year and a half after that followed their dreams to Hollywood. We met when I was in LA visiting artists on official VICE business last month, and I was immediately struck by Hobbes’s alert, inquisitive presence. After having known each other for no more than five minutes, we decided we should work together on an issue of MATTEmagazine to be released at the New York Art Book Fair this week at MoMA PS1, and went to the roof of the hotel, where I made the above cover portrait. I only had four frames left on my roll of film, but somehow each picture turned out to be interesting. Hobbes is someone who uses their self-image as their art, so this wasn’t actually that surprising. A mix of politically engaged self-portraiture in photography in the tradition of Catherine Opie, Cobain-scented soft grunge internet phenomena, and something indescribably glamourous and completely their own, Hobbes’s Selfies made me want to find out more about them.
VICE: How did you start taking pictures?
Hobbes Ginsberg: I used to do a lot of street photography. Taking pictures started for me on a trip to New York in the summer of 2010 and I had this “professional” point-and-shoot camera that I borrowed from a friend. I started taking photos of all the people I saw on the street who interested me visually. I had a vague idea of what street photography was at that point from deviantART, and on that trip I saw an exhibition by Henri Cartier-Bresson and some other old guy I dont remember. It took off from there. I did a lot of street work in Nicaragua.
When did you start taking pictures of yourself?
About two years ago I stopped shooting outside for a long time, and felt a need to turn inward so I just took a ton of selfies. It was easier for me to try new things that way. I borrowed some lights from the yearbook team at my school, and thats how I first got into studio work.
What kind of role does taking pictures of yourself play in your life?
In terms of my oeuvre, most people care the most about my selfies, and its what cemented my current aesthetic. It also the work I make that is the most cathartic for me. I get into these moods where I feel really shitty, and the way to fix it is to take photos.
The Ballad of Bimbo the Deer
Check out Baltimore artist Ben McNutt’s queer perspective on wrestling in issue 24 of ‘MATTE’ magazine, available now.
Photos by Natalia Mantini and styling by Miyako Bellizzi.
An Objective Perspective – An Interview with VICE Photo Editor Matthew Leifheit Speaks
Kathleen Hefty recently sat down with founder and editor of MATTE Magazine, Matthew Leifheit to get a unique perspective on independent publishing and curating. Not only does Leifheit produce each issue of MATTE largely on his own, he is also the photo editor of Vice Magazine and has an active photography practice. Since 2010, MATTE has dedicated each issue to one photographer; the current one—the magazine’s 23rd and largest yet—features photographer Rachel Stern. The following is a conversation on MATTE’s beginnings, what it means to be an “emerging” artist, and Leifheit’s exciting upcoming collaborations.
Kathleen (Blonde Art Books): I think that the people that follow Blonde Art Books are really interested in gaining insight into the inner workings of small press publishers as well as individual artists’ and curators’ practices so thank you for taking the time. Can you tell me a little about MATTE magazine and how it began?
Matthew Leifheit: It started as a print publication; it was my college thesis. I went to the Rhode Island School of Design, and I worked with this agency one summer—a photo agency in New York— and it dealt with photography in a businesslike way, which is what they do. I feel like artists want to work with other artists, and I don’t think photography should exactly be sold as a product. I think there should always be something sacred aboutprogram was very hands on. And especially now looking at [how] MATTE deals with emerging photography and so does Vice, and I feel like that’s like my area. So I pay a lot of attention to the schools. I think if I had gone to SVA or Parsons or something like that I would have come out of it with a much glossier portfolio and a lot more connections and stuff. But at RISD I learned to make things, which is important to me.
We Talked Delayed Gratification with Photographer Eric Kim
Eric Kim is one of the most popular street photographers the internet has produced. His shots dominate Instagram and Tumblr, and his Youtube videos have lead to a dedicated following of fans. He’s a tech-head’s tech-head, one who also manages to take interesting, thoughtful street photos that are thankfully not of graffiti walls. He was recently in Australia presenting a series of workshops, so we thought we’d interview him and scam some free advice.
VICE: This is your first time in Australia. Have you seen anything local photographers might underappreciate?
Eric Kim: Australia has the best light in the world for photography—number two is Istanbul. I don’t know if it’s because you guys have a wild ozone system… I think it’s because of the longitude and latitude. The angle the light hits, it’s really edgy—and the lights, the shadows, are absolutely incredible. Look at the work by Trent Parke. The light here is just phenomenal. You can’t get this anywhere else in the world.
So you mostly shoot film—is it practical, or are you a bit sentimental?
I started shooting film because I visited friends in Tokyo and everyone there shoots film. At first I’m like, “You’re all just a bunch of hipsters; why are you shooting film?!” I had my Leica M9 and thought I could shoot digital, use post-processing software, and make my shots look like film. It just seemed pointless to me. They’re like, “Nah, Eric, you gotta try it out.”