Interview with Fred Fraser

by Monday, October 17, 2011

Hello Fred, who’s the first photographer that comes to your mind in a second? 

Paolo Roversi


Tell us something about your upcoming work. What are you into at the moment? 

I am focused on wet plate portraits at the moment, almost exclusively.


When you were 13, what did you want to be? 

A rock star. I lived and breathed drums at the time.


What inspires you and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio? 

I am inspired by artists and artisans – anyone creative really. I find the efforts of these people incredible even if their works fall outside the gamut of my tastes.


Tell me a song that has haunted you. 

There isn’t just one. The music I connect to in a given moment is usually the music that fits my mood in that moment. If I am looking for something full of energy I’ll go for Wide Mouth Mason, if I want introspective I’ll listen to something from Kate Bush’s most recent album. Chopin’s preludes to mellow out, early Yes to excersize my ears and feed my love for careful arrangements, etc.


What type of assignment are you attracted to most? 

The assignment that pays. I have no ego about filling the needs of my clients.


Something you’ve always wanted to do, but have yet to. 

Travel the desert.


Something you want the world to know about you. 

The world doesn’t need to know anything about me. Look at my photos and love them or hate them … or be indifferent, I’ll still be happy when I am happy.


Something that annoys or frustrates you about people. 

I try very hard not to dwell on things that annoy and frustrate me. Life is too short to waste being annoyed and frustrated … which is why I try to drive as little as possible.

Your idea about social networks.

Facebook? Seriously, why is it still called that? I would rather spend 10 minutes being really face to face with someone than hours reading the endless stream of banalities that exist in social media networks.


A word that you hate. 

Life is too short to hate things.


How many hours do you work in a day? 

All of them … none of them … I don’t think of anything I do as work, it’s all just living … life is too short to divide it into “work” and …. “not work”. I know I am very fortunate to be able to make that claim … billions can’t because they have to “work” to live – to stay alive. If I feel like complaining about “work” (too much or too little) I just take a trip through some news headlines and read up on how people are starving or being caught in corporate/government cross fire. I live a charmed existence and I am grateful for it.



If you had absolute power for one day, what would you do? 

Nothing. Absolute power = absolute responsibility and I am just not cut out for that.


What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have yet?  

A lens … in the 12 to 14 inch range preferrably an f4 that will cover 8×10 with room for some movements and made no later than 1920, maybe a Ross cabinet lens. Not a Petzval construction though – I have one already and it’s a little too challenging to work with.


How could you describe that precise moment….The one that makes you say: “Yes! This is great! I did it! I got it!” 

Fresh chocolate cake.


How important is Photoshop in your final images? 

I scan through PS for my large format work, but I don’t really do much editing or retouching – I try to preserve the look of the plates as realistically as possible. The corporate/commercial work I usually shoot with digital cameras makes it’s own demands and while I try and get my shots in camera as much as possible digital images suck inherently and need help in PS.


What’s overrated today? 

We live in a society based on consumption. by the strictest definition of the word, everything is overrated – that’s the universal sales gimmick.

Fred Fraser website.

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