John O'Toole is an Artist and located in Brooklyn, Ny.
Blake Andrews: What do you look for when you’re out photographing? When you are out walking around, what makes you stop and make a photo?
Mark Steinmetz: This question I can’t really answer. I just want to mess with the photography gods (mess with their minds).
Blake Andrews:”Mess with the photography gods.” That phrase infers that some portion of the act of photographing lies outside the photographer’s control. Do you consciously seek out uncontrollable situations? Do you think some photographs (by others) are too controlled?
Mark Steinmetz: Most everyone wants to control their circumstances, to dictate outcomes, but I would say life gets better when you relax and embrace your powerlessness. I like to think (and sometimes it really feels this way) that we have unseen helpers and maybe in the realm of photography there’s a heavenly pantheon of photographers like Evans, Atget, or Kertesz watching over us - and who behave like the gods of Greece - (this gets back to the question of exactly who is your audience) and who smile upon those who practice photography with sincerity and diligence and mischievous audacity. I am more interested in a photography that collaborates with chance events. Photographers who are too controlling come up with pictures where the viewer has little free will - the experience of looking at the photo is over-determined and so there’s not so much lasting pleasure. You get their point and then move on.