Michael Itkoff was born in Philadelphia, Pa, and currently lives in New York City. He is a photographer and one of the founding editors of Daylight Magazine.
Between Two Lakes, is a very personal series. How is it different working on a personal story(photographing people and places you are very familiar with), than working on a story you have little or no personal connection to?
Often it is easier to leverage an editorial sensibility, to superimpose a cohesive narrative, when shooting a subject with more distance. Personal projects can be more difficult to produce successfully since intimate associations and allusions will not necessarily translate to a viewing audience.
You express in your statement in Spotlight that like the cabin, you exist between two opposing ways of living, between physical manifestations of exploitation and preservation. Tell me more about this statement and what your images reveal about your life. In other words, why do you feel this way?
Between Two Lakes is a long-term project that has changed over the course of the shooting process. Like the landscape, and myself, it is still a work in progress. Every day I am faced with choices large and small that collectively define how I am living in the world. There are countless temptations to either accept the status quo of mindless consumption—corn syrup fueled bliss—or to conscientiously oppose it through will, planning and maintaining a critical sensibility.
Many people believe that photography is a dying field–what do you think about that? And where do you see the future of photography?
To be honest I do not believe anybody actually thinks photography is dying. If anything the conception of photography existing separate from other communicative mediums is becoming outmoded. The number of people making images is indeed growing exponentially higher each day but I, for one, am excited by the increased employment of the photographic language as part of a universal global dialogue.
What advice would you give to other emerging photographers?
Making pictures is an incredibly powerful way to make meaning from experience. Photography provides a great excuse to explore your interests, to talk to strangers, to study the world. Photograph what you love, and the rest be damned.