Given that I’m somewhat nominally in the creative business, I occasionally find myself indulging in the delusion that I am some kind of flighty auteur type whose sensitive needs and fancies are incomprehensible to the common man, and that the everyday grind of administrative tasks such as emailing and dressing presentably are beneath me. This I use as an excuse for when I eat an entire bag of Funyuns in one sitting while marathoning the extended Lord of the Rings Directors Cut in my underwear. It also helps stave off the guilt when I spend a whole day hungover playing video games. Hey, I’m a sensitive artiste you know, I need all of this special time to get inspiration for my work, and by special time I mean rewatching season 6 of Seinfeld for the eleventh time.
Human experience is all relative though and in my line of work I’m fortunate enough to meet lots of people who manage being both creatives as well as fully functioning adults at the same time. One such example is the Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethekul whose name I was extremely fearful about pronouncing right up until I met him and he said that I could call him Joe. Maybe he was being ironic, maybe that’s the moniker he actually goes by just so he doesn’t have to hear shutter monkeys like myself continually mangling his name but either way it works.
Anyway, if you’ve heard of Joe Weerasethekul, you’re obviously a film-goer of some taste. His feature films, 8 in total, are fixtures at fancy European film festivals, and a few years ago one of his works: ‘Uncle Boonmee Who Can Remember His Past Lives’ picked up some award called the Palm d’Or from this relatively unknown film festival at a place called Cannes (people assure me this is a big deal). I personally think his film ‘The Adventures of Iron Pussy’ should win a new award at the Oscars for Best Title every year in perpetuity.
I met him for these photos in 2010, and as usual my approach to photographing him consisted of trying to copy Dan Winters and failing miserably. I guess that should be my explanation anytime someone asks me what my personal photographic style is. Enough said there. What was nice though was hearing about his experiences firsthand and actually being in the presence of a true auteur whose achievements are worthy and whose artistic values I subscribe to. I should consider myself lucky when the biggest dilemma of my day is whether or not to put on pants – Joe is probably busy getting the Thai censorship board off his back so he can show his internationally acclaimed work inside his own country. The shoot itself was short – maybe only 10 minutes or so (I sat through the interview as well), but I definitely got the impression that this is the kind of artist I want to emulate; dignified, self-possessed and confident, with an unshakeable belief in the worth of his own work. My work often allows me to meet a lot of dedicated, intelligent people like Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and through these encounters I can recalibrate my own internal compass to make sure I am always headed in the direction I want to go as an artist.
Gotta go now I smell my poptarts burning and I need to get back to League of Legends otherwise I’ll get banned from the server.