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Interview: Jason Kerzinski's Street Studio

Interview: Jason Kerzinski's Street Studio

Lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tell us about yourself, how did you become an artist?

I became a photographer because my circle of friends, who are photographers influenced me to pick up a camera. Looking through the viewfinder opened up a new world of possibility.

What is your background? and how did it inform the focus of your creative exploration or the medium you're currently working with?

I purchased a Pentax k1000 on ebay. I obsessively watched youtube videos on how to operate the camera and then went into the streets to take photos. The camera has given me a social confidence that I didn't have before. My passion is to take portraits of the people in my community. The camera gave me the courage to engage with people.

What ideas interested you in the beginning of your practice, which ideas have you continued to explore, and where have they led you?

People influenced me from the beginning. It was a way for me to engage with my surroundings. The camera gave me a confidence in my self that I didn't have prior to having a camera around my shoulder.

Who were and are the biggest sources of your inspiration?

Lately I've been inspired by two portrait photographers. Andrea Modica and Judith Joy Ross. Judith describes her portrait work as being a short but deep connection. That quote has stuck with me as I make my way around the streets of New Orleans. Hopefully that quote shows up in my photos.

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration from the strangers I meet in the street.  

Is there are a single work, project, or series that is pivotal in your current trajectory?

I just finished a project working in partnership with wrongfully convicted men represented by Innocence Project New Orleans. I want to dive further into wrongful conviction as well as the carceral system in the state of Louisiana.

How did it begin? and how did it evolve?

It all started because friends in my circle were photographers. They influenced me to pick up a camera.

What were important lessons in the process that you’ve carried forward with you?

To be open and accepting of what I perceive to be a bad photo. Every photo taken is a lesson.

What are you working on now?

Currently working on creating a mobile portrait studio that I can set up in different neighborhoods around New Orleans, this way I can represent the diverse make up of the city.

If you could go back in time to the very beginning of your art practice and give your younger self a single piece of advice what would it be?

Don't be so hard on yourself when you think you make a bad photo.

About the Artist

Based in New Orleans, Louisiana

Jason Kerzinski is a street photographer and photojournalist living in New Orleans.

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