INTRODUCING JUSTIN VISNESKY
I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It feels like home. I’m 34. I first started taking photos in college (about 12 or so years ago). The stuff I was shooting was almost exclusively black & white. I took a bunch of classes, processed my own film, printed in the darkroom, all that stuff. Then, when I was done with school I got a job as a graphic designer and I focused more on that. I still took photos, but I wasn’t taking it very seriously. Then about 6 or so years ago I really started taking it seriously and began shooting way more color film. I still work as a graphic designer, so taking photos is kind of a way for me to wind down and not be glued to a computer. I think that’s why I still shoot film—I feel more connected to my camera. I love being able to physically hold the film and negatives in my hand. It’s kind of the opposite of what I do at work all day—still making things, but in a much more slow/analog way. I’ve been a skateboarder since I was a teenager and was heavily influenced by that culture as well as the punk/indie rock DIY culture. So seeing photos in magazines/zines was really inspiring and what I think ultimately led me to photography. I want to freeze feelings. My life has really changed with photography. My wife says I probably wouldn’t have her, so there’s that. But really, there are so many things… One thing recently is one of my photos will be on the cover of a book published by Little, Brown, and Company. I’m pretty excited about that. It’s called “An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination” and it will be out in February. And just meeting (physically and virtually) so many amazingly talented and kind people has been awesome. Doing things like this little interview is great. I love it. I love photography. I mainly use a Pentax 645 and am really happy with it. If anything I’d like to upgrade to an autofocus version. The older I get the harder it is for me to focus quickly. Makes me feel like an old man. I grew up in a small town about an hour north of Pittsburgh. My family still lives there and we visit quite often. When we do I like to get up early and take a walk with my camera. My wife is almost always still asleep. This is the first photo I took that day. There are so many photographers I love. I’m just going to list a few that I’ve been looking at lately. It’s just too hard to choose one. I’ve always loved Tobin Yelland’s work. Ed Panar is a friend and fellow Pennsylvanian who takes amazingly simple and smart photos. Michael Worful is a great friend and photographer who lives in St. Louis, MO. Jacob Koestler is another good friend of mine who takes beautiful photos. And finally Daniel Shea is making some really socially important work right now about the coal industry in appalachia.