Sound And Color: Photographer Faith Silva Interview
You might see them squeezed into the front row with a camera pushed against their eye or backstage with one swinging around their neck, music photographers do what it takes to get that one stellar shot. For Faith Silva, photography isn’t just a job, but a sneak peek into how she views the world. Weaving her way through music festivals, backstage or photo shoots on Coney Island, Silva’s gift of highlighting musicians in their raw element is inspiring. Being a carelessly cool fly on the wall isn’t as easy as it might seem, but Silva has a knack for getting artists and bands we love to be themselves behind her lens.
A natural with a camera since she was 13, and originally hailing from the desert of Texas, the photographer Faith Silva now calls New York City her permanent studio. Shooting consistently for the music blog Gorilla vs. Bear, Silva has since worked with Nordstrom, Helmut Lang and Entertainment Weekly, building a portfolio that speaks for itself. Recently we had a chance to sit down with the woman behind the point and shoot to hear her thoughts on using polaroids, her favorite memory shooting, what she’d bring for a day at the beach (hint: fruit and a football are just two).
You’ve taken the portraits of lots of amazing artists over the years- has there been one that stands out as the most fun? How about the most challenging?
Shooting Tei Shi was a lot of fun; We ran around the beach with a bottle of wine. As far as the most challenging, no one specific really comes to mind, but shooting people I haven’t already met can be kind of weird. I'm just shy, so it's awkward for me to roll up to someone I don't know like”... hey!” People are actually really chill the majority of the time.
What was it about photography that originally grabbed your attention?
I just love the way everything looks; People, our surroundings, colors, light, patterns.
How old were you?
I got my first point and shoot when I was 13-years-old. It was red and I got it in the Virgin Islands which, to say the least, meant it lived a very and short sandy life.
Your photography has a beautiful and off the cuff feel, do you aim for your photographs to feel as if the viewer has walked in on a something?
First off, thank you! Second, I don't necessarily set up my photographs or aim for anything specifically. I simply shoot what's in front of me at that given moment; It's nice to know that my photographs are portrayed the way they are truly taken.
Where would you like to see your work grow?
I would love to have more photographs printed in magazines, going down the editorial route sounds exciting to me.
How did you come to work with Gorilla vs. Bear? What do you love about the site?
Chris [GVB creator and founder] and I are homies from Texas. He hollered at me because he was a fan of my work, just as I am of GVB. The blog has a super unique, #rare aesthetic to it. He's not trying to please anyone—he posts only what he genuinely likes and that's why people appreciate it. The same reason why I appreciate it.
Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips
Most of the time you’re shooting with a Polaroid, what is it about this type of film that attracted you?
It's such a unique format and you never know how it'll come out, that excites me. GVB is also really a big supporter of Impossible Project film and Vice Versa, so we work closely together.
Can you share a little bit about your process? Anything habitual that you do during every shoot?
That's the thing, I really have no process unless you count getting out of bed in the morning. I try to keep photography the least forced as possible; I don't want to turn something I love into an obligation. Which is another reason why I shoot for GVB, it's chill. He [Chris] never asks me to do anything I wouldn’t be interested in doing, it's always my call.
Do you have a favorite place to shoot? Or can you describe one you've already been to?
Shooting the OYA festival in Norway was fantastic because it's just such a breathtaking place. Anywhere you take a photo you’ll have a beautiful mountain or the Oslofjord in the background.
Mac Demarco and Win Butler of Arcade Fire
What do you like to do besides take photos?
In another world I’d wish I was a dancer. I am also really intrigued by interior decorating and I like to sometimes pretend I'm a chef, too.
We're heading to the beach, what's your go-to beachwear and what are you going to pack?
Well, naturally, one wears a bathing suit to the beach. I just throw a cute kimono over with some funky sunglasses and probably a hat, too, that will inevitably end up flying away. Ideally my backpack is stuffed with booze, fruit, and toys. And my football, that’s a necessity.
Frank Ocean and Tyler The Creator
You’re pretty active on Instagram. Who should we be following and what are some of your favorite accounts?
That’s hard to pick, I follow so many people on Instagram and enjoy so many different accounts! Off the top of my head - I’m a really big fan of @pieraluisa & @rebekahcampbell's photos. My sister, @taylorlashae, is always a huge inspiration as well and @666fucktard666, too.