“I think Bushwick has definitely inspired me since I moved here. I find it is hard edged, gritty and yet still there are places where art can catch your eye. The best analogy I can think of is that sidewalk where it is all concrete then there is that one little flower growing through the crack.” -Hadar
Hadar Pitchon’s vision of hybrids, emotions, and the future are what makes his photography blog, as well as his Tumblr, visual Meccas for young, burgeoning male models, equally talented photographers, and top model agencies. What stands out about his work is that he’s extraordinarily self-aware about his environment and about the times he lives in. Hadar doesn’t blindly collect beauty. He puts himself in front of his own camera with equal zeal and vulnerability. With Hadar, it isn’t just about the photography, or executing a simple narcissism project. His process is meta in its approach, timeless in feeling, a performance art on the gritty streets of life.
I met Hadar over the spring after seeing his Bollywood Biker series. And like all life-zeitgeists, it was at the right moment at the right time. My unhealthy fascination with the number 3 and the Story of Sara and the Three Mary’s had reached an all too annoying peak. My friends were tired of my late night phone calls on weekly trifecta theories. Hadar and I, along with Ariana Paoletti, indulged whatever fit of inspiration I had. He understood what I was projecting, because he does it every day. And the results mirrored what we both strive for in our work. Hadar is most certainly a triplet of conflict, creation, and re-invention; the exact combination required of any zeitgeist.
“I’m just too much,” said Hadar one Sunday afternoon as we were finishing up blueberry pancakes I made for us. That day I didn’t know how to respond. But 25 days later I can think of certain situations in life that if they hadn’t been “too much” they would have never changed the course of history (Jean-Paul Gaultiers cone bras, Bianca Jagger’s white horse entrance at Studio 54, the Battle of Waterloo). When Hadar turns the camera on himself, it is strange, unsettling, and at times, yes, too much. But ‘too much’ is a welcome and refreshing change-up to ‘keep-it-cool’ minimalism. I think it’s high time we all stop apologizing for ‘too much’ slather on the purple lipstick, don our intricate headpieces, and go to WORK.
1. Why do you photograph?
I photograph because it is my means of self-expression. I also love photography because it allows a sense of escapism. Through the lens I can create my own reality. Give myself or my subjects a freedom that I feel lacks in our everyday lives.
2. Is the backdrop of Bushwick something that absolutely inspires you?
I think Bushwick has definitely inspired me since I moved here. I find it is hard edged, gritty and yet still there are places where art can catch your eye. The best analogy I can think of is that sidewalk where it is all concrete then there is that one little flower growing through the crack.
3. What are some of the hardships you face day in and day out as a photographer?
I think some of the hardest things facing photography is finding your voice. In a world full of social media, blogs, and so many other outlets it’s easy to get lost amongst the masses of images produced day after day. It is why I try to strive for photos that are iconic or timeless. I also think the starving artist element is alive now more than ever. I struggle with making ends meet. Many of us are waiting for our big moments, and we spend endless amounts of time wondering if it will come.
4. I remember when you came over for my Blueberry Pancakes. We were looking at old East Village pictures of Madonna back in the day when she could barely afford to eat. You said something like “That’s Us, Ana. We are living in this time right now.” Do you really believe we are?
I do believe we are living in this moment. The struggle is part of the story for most artists. It reminds me of those years where Madonna wandered the east village probably doing every odd job to make ends meet. There is a certain magic to that moment, I think most people do their best work when no one is looking. So it can be some of the best most productive times, the struggle keeps you hungry for more.
5. You alter your appearance a lot. I find this intriguing. Do you also consider yourself a performance artist of the streets?
I don’t know if I would call it performance art necessarily. I think I try different looks for a combination of reasons. I love to see what a look can communicate to people and what reactions are made. I also think it is another form of escapism, it allows me to change something in this moment and feel some sort of relief. I also think it comes down to the fact I didn’t change my appearance for the first 20 years of my life so perhaps I am making up for lost time.
6. I remember that you said when you first moved to Bushwick, you hated it. Over time, you began to fall in love with the neighborhood. What happened?
I think when I first moved to Bushwick it was a shock. I moved from living in a high-rise in midtown with my sister to a basement in a neighborhood I felt was in the middle of nowhere. But as time had gone by and I started to explore, I saw the art scene and met more people and loved the neighborhood. I see it as the new movement, so many amazing people trying to make big things happen!
7. What compels you to choose the subjects that you choose? Is it their energy?
That is a good question. I think there is always a certain level of attraction that draws me to someone. I look for a dreamlike quality, someone with innocence and yet a stern sense of themselves. I like dreamers and unique beauties. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it isn’t. I feel there is very much energy with a subject. I find if it ends up to being a good energy the shots come out that much more powerful.
8. Speaking of Energy, Is there a “Bushwick” Energy that comes through in your photographs?
I think the energy from being out here has definitely influenced my work. It has gotten more raw, more gritty. I feel like its stripped down and imperfect, just like the surroundings in Bushwick can be.
9. You photograph a lot of models and model-like creatures. But I remember when we worked together; I didn’t feel anything ‘fashion’ about it. You captured a huge part of my vulnerability. Is vulnerability a huge theme for you?
Well I have always said vulnerability is the key to my work. I always want to break through that wall and capture something that is so vulnerable and real you can’t look away. I find vulnerability to not only be sexy, but beautiful and what keeps me looking at any image. It is all about developing a relationship with your subject, making sure they feel like they can open up.
10. Do you believe that if you were living anywhere else in New York, you would be creating the same type of work?
I think if I lived anywhere else my work would be different for sure. I find here so many amazing subjects and different types of people! I love that element, and the magic it can hold. I went from creating work in college that had a sense of naivety to moving right to NYC, in doing so I became more attracted to the raw vulnerability the city leaves you with.