I’ve been fortunate enough to keep tabs on Andrew Marino through his Flickr site for quite sometime. His pictures not only bring back some fond memories and scenes of my home state of North Carolina, but show me a side of the state I don’t get to see too much. But he doesn’t stop there. There’s something beautifully hidden about what Andrew is showing us, moments caught in time that’s not specifically reliant on a place like NC, but in his own aesthetic wherever he travels, back to his native New York or anywhere in between. Andrew and I have struck up a dialogue regarding his work.
Empty Stretch: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Andrew Marino: My name is Andrew, 23 years old, born and raised on Long Island, New York. Currently residing and working between Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina. A few things I enjoy are good beer, web design, beekeeping, and entrepreneurship in the arts. You could call me more of a collaborator than anything. Nothing is better than making something awesome with your friends
ES: How did you get in to photography?
AM: I feel like it was significantly rooted in moving to North Carolina from New York in the summer of 2004. I got my first 35mm shortly after I arrived here, and I found it to be a positive way to cope and adjust with my new surroundings. Since then I had dabbled between shooting with both film and digital cameras, photographing the house shows my friends hardcore and noise bands played, and messing around with some abstract shooting. This was on and off though. I hit a lot of dry spells.
I purchased my friend’s Hasselblad a year ago, and I started taking things more seriously. Medium format was a refreshing change of pace at the time and having to learn everything manually, how to meter, how to scan negatives – all those challenges became really engaging. I don’t have a formal background in photography, but Flickr has been a really great community to share your work and get feedback. The past year or so I’ve been making an effort to connect with others and forming friendships from it.
Chatham County, NC
ES: Why do we keep using film?
AM: Good question. For many of us, it’s a preference of aesthetics. It’s a process that requires patience, something that’s quickly fading away in today’s high-speed digital world. I’m glad to see people still taking the time to shoot film. Perhaps it’s similar to the renaissance happening with vinyl records, where you appreciate a tangible object instead of the same thing in digital form. There’s no right or wrong really.
ES: I noticed on your Flickr stream, your photos float in and out of North Carolina and New York. What are the biggest challenges and successes about shooting in each setting?
AM: North Carolina is a lot more spread out than New York, and that was kind of hard to get used to after the denser areas I grew up with. Despite this, there is so much in between the cracks to explore. Lately I’ve been checking out the rural landscapes of Chatham and Alamance counties, getting lost on the old state highways and stumbling upon the remnants of the older traditional life. It’s just damn beautiful out there and it took me long enough to finally appreciate it.
Funny story… when I was taking that shot of the foggy home in Chatham County, I misjudged the shoulder I had parked my car on and ended up getting stuck in the mud all alone in the middle of no where. There must have been at least 10 people passing through in the span of a couple of hours that stopped and asked if I needed any help. A gentleman in his pickup was generous enough to haul me out and wouldn’t accept a donation as a thank you. I didn’t think to snap a portrait of him at the time because I was absolutely stunned at the hospitality Southern folks have for complete strangers. If this had happened on the side of the Long Island Expressway, no one would even think twice to stop.
Each visit to New York puts a small dent in the amount of things and areas I want to photograph. It’s important to really keep tabs on your equipment at all times. Things can get lost or stolen if you aren’t careful. On the upside, there’s so many great people to meet and work with. There’s really a great variety of places to shoot at. Outside of the city, I really enjoy going back to the coastal life of eastern LI, and upstate holds a lot of natural beauty.
ES: In what ways have you noticed the changing social landscape of the South, specifically in North Carolina?
AM: I haven’t spent hardly enough time with the rest of the American South, so it would be difficult to answer for it as a whole. Something I have noticed are great strides in the arts community around North Carolina. My friend Tristin Miller has curated a wonderful annual gathering called the Hand-to-Hand Market out in Greensboro, NC. Beyond local artists showcasing their work, it has a nice variety of workshops and educational talks. The philosophy behind the whole thing really reaches out by connecting on a deeper level with one another and I’d love to see this sort of thing spread to more places. This year it’s on May 20th at The Blind Tiger in Greensboro, NC – go check it out!
ES: Does it take a special eye to see the square format image?
AM: The square format image not take a special eye necessarily, but it sure does require a different approach than other formats in order to be used effectively. The confines of 6×6 medium format photography makes you slow down and compose your shot more carefully. It also makes you pick and choose your shots differently. The thing I appreciate most is the symmetry and balance that the square image can offer.
ES: Do you feel as though music fuels your photography or vice versa?
AM: Absolutely, photography and music (sound in general), go hand in hand in both ways with my experiences. While each can stand its own ground just fine, they can compliment each other by filling in the gaps with other senses. My collaborative work with Andrew Weathers, and the record label Full Spectrum that we run together, are my main outlets that merge sound and image. We generate a lot of creative energy and there’s a great deal of inspiration through the artists we work with and feature.
The minimalist and ambient nature of some of the music I enjoy listening to influences my work to a significant degree. Albums such as ‘October Language’ by Belong, or ‘And Their Refinement Of The Decline’ by Stars of the Lid are two good examples. While they are beatless, have no lyrics, and are sparse at times, they can create vivid imagery and rich atmospheres. It’s kind of hard to describe it in words. I never really provide much more than a title, if at all, or a caption with a location. These songs, like the images, are really meant to speak for themselves and for the audience to interpret their messages.
ES: Where is your photography going this year?
AM: This year I have a few trips and projects in the works. I’m heading out to San Francisco & Oakland in May. I’ll also be spending some time in New York, and of course more Carolina explorations. Wherever I end up this year, I’ll be sure to bring my cameras along for the ride. Andrew Weathers and I are currently working on a book titled We Don’t Get Sun Like This. It consists of Andrew’s music, and some photograph pairs of ours. It should be ready sometime this summer.
Thank you for spending a few minutes with me.
— And thank you, Andrew. Don’t miss his Flickr for more amazing pictures, his record label, and Tumblr.