Capturing Spirits with Photographer Rob Perri
Photography has always fascinated me. When I was little, my mom would take pictures of me holding daisies while dressed up as a bunny. Our small bathroom would serve as a makeshift darkroom where she would develop black and white photos of me. It’s always felt magical to me. Seeing something come to life in front of your eyes, while surrounded by moody red lights. And in a way – it is magic. Capturing a moment and manifesting a memory, being able to touch it, to hold it in your hands. I love to have a peek into the minds of creative people. And that’s exactly what I did with Rob Perri, a Los Angeles based Photographer and Director.
Originally from New York, but currently living in LA, he describes himself as someone who enjoys escorting people out of their comfort zones. I first discovered his work because of one of my favorite bands – The Pierces. Rob has directed several videos for the band as well as done a lot of projects with Cat Pierce, including shooting her beautiful album covers.
I’ve always been very fascinated by what inspires artists to create, so naturally, that was one of the first questions I asked Rob. For him it’s the quality of different types of light and how that can solidify an experience. Also interesting human beings inspire him. “It’s like trying to momentarily capture their spirit and trap it on a piece of celluloid as a way to express a specific moment that you can relive over and over again. As you change, it changes“. He adds that he rarely experiences creative blocks when it comes to his work. “My main problem is that I have more ideas than I have the resources to create“.
Picking up the pieces
When asked about his creative process, he tells me that it all starts with visions and ideas that bleed into his consciousness. After that comes an agonizing need to manifest those visions in the material world. “Then there’s the process of phoning and emailing people and begging them to help me achieve these ideas“. He jokingly adds that he’ll even resort to threats and elaborate plans of destruction to make those ideas come to reality. “Then comes the heartbreaking task of production where the constraints of the physical world force me to compromise my vision in some way, at which point I weep as I pick up the pieces and assemble them into something that I would consider showing to others“.
He notes that unfortunately a lot of his work is largely ignored on social platforms. And that is the whole purpose of Ciao Amore – to provide a platform for creative people who do amazing things. I want to put a spotlight on talented people who deserve more recognition. When asked which artists have been influential to him, he admits that he hates this question as the list is massive and ever evolving. “Some names are Kubrick, Scorsese, Helmut Newton, Francis Bacon, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Garry Winogrand, Eva Green, Diane Arbus, Tamara Jenkins, Robert DeNiro. The list goes on and on“.
A Full Circle – From The Pierces to Jesus and Cardi B
Naturally, I wanted to know more about his work with the Pierces. “The Pierce Sisters are angels. Cat is a massive talent and very easy to take a picture of“. Jokingly adding, “She keeps me chained in a damp basement and will occasionally throw raw meat down until it’s time for us to shoot again“. He directed the videos for Glorious and I Put Your Records On. Currently Rob is finishing up a short film as well as working on several movies and TV shows. “I’m always shooting new photographs and I’d like to make a book soon“. If given the chance he would love to collaborate with Jesus Christ. “I’d like to collaborate with Jesus Christ, possibly shooting the crucifixion. I also think Cardi B is interesting“. When asked what is something he wishes people were talking more about, his answer is simple – “Anarchy“.
Focus on what’s interesting to you
Finally, I wanted to find out what his advice would be to an aspiring photographer. “Become the most interesting person you can and then point your camera at the things you find interesting and unique to you“. Rob emphasizes to not be too worried about the equipment, “It’s easy getting lost in all the different camera systems available today. Just have a perspective and get out and shoot with whatever you’ve got”. And I find that to be quite inspiring. Focusing on all the details too much is a sure way to get distracted. If you feel passionate about something, go out and do it, everything else will find it’s way to you with time.