Purple Magazine
— F/W 2010 issue 14

Dave Schubert

Andrea by Dave Schubert

interview by JADE BERREAU


JADE BERREAU — When did you start taking photographs?
DAVE SCHUBERT — Well, I did it when I was a little kid because we moved around a lot. My father was in the Air Force and we lived near the base in Torrejón, Spain for five years, but before that we moved around. My grandparents lived in England, so we’d visit them and I’d make friends, but then we’d have to leave, which I hated. When I was in the third grade my dad said, “Here’s a camera — now you can take pictures to remember your friends by.” I’d make little books with my photos, like little photo albums.

JADE BERREAU — The photos you take now are still pretty much all of your friends.
DAVE SCHUBERT — Yeah, of my friends, but also complete strangers. There’s a certain visual trigger that I have — something that comes up a lot in my work. In San Francisco there are a lot of damaged slices of humanity. People left over from the acid days of the ’60s. People hunched over, wrapped in blankets — some of them asleep. I photograph these people a lot. They’re like moving sculpture. Sometimes I’ll see someone on the street and, depending on how brave I’m feeling, I might talk to them. If they’re cool about it, I’ll try and take a portrait of them. Sometimes it’s easier to take a portrait of someone I don’t know than a portrait of someone I know really well.

JADE BERREAU — When I visit San Francisco I always feel nostalgic for hippie America, which was beautiful and romantic. It’s somewhat sad.
DAVE SCHUBERT — Totally. There are a lot of tragic people here, depending on the neighborhood. North Beach, for example, is more of a poet’s neighborhood, and has been since the Beat era of the ’50s and ’60s. The more intelligent hippies hang out there. They’re all pretty old now, but they’re still smoking weed and drinking wine at, like, noon. They hang out with their friends in cafés and still dress like it’s 1969. Some of them look like they took way too much acid back in the day. There are definitely a lot of damaged people in this city. And it’s a small city — only about seven square miles.

Jasten & Tully by Dave Schubert

JADE BERREAU — You’re still shooting with film and doing your own printing.
DAVE SCHUBERT — Yeah, I develop the film in the kitchen sink.

JADE BERREAU — You’re one of a rare breed these days.
DAVE SCHUBERT — I learned how to develop my own black-and43-white film when I was little, and that’s still all I know how to do. The way I figure it, I’ve been developing film and working with chemicals for so long I can’t really stop — because I finally feel like I’m getting a grasp on what I’m doing. It’s definitely a lot more work and it takes longer because I do everything myself, but I’m generally a lot more pleased with the end result than I am by having them printed some place else.

JADE BERREAU — You’re constantly taking pictures. You’re able to sort of disappear and take pictures of very intimate situations.
DAVE SCHUBERT — That’s the kind of stuff I gravitate to. That’s what draws me in.

JADE BERREAU — People trust you.
DAVE SCHUBERT — Well, it’s mutual respect — a two-way street.

JADE BERREAU — The pictures you took of Dash and me were so intimate and sincere.
DAVE SCHUBERT — I was looking at the contact sheet of those pictures just the other day. After I took those shots I marked them — I hung out with them for a week or so. But a year later, when I cut them up and put them in books, I started finding things I’d missed. That’s the difference between film and digital — you can erase digital so quickly.

JADE BERREAU — When you shoot film you can’t just delete it. At some point it calls you back. DAVE SCHUBERT — Yeah, that’s very true. It takes time. It’s like wine — you have to let it set for a while and then look at it. Sometimes I’ll be really excited when I’m developing the actual film. I’ll look at the shots on the film under the water and think, “That’s the one!” Then later in the day, when I’m making the contact sheet, I’ll look at the shot
I was excited about and then at the one right next to it and I’ll think, “That’s the best one!” And then down the road, maybe a week or so later, I’ll look at them all and something completely different will catch my eye.

[Table of contents]

F/W 2010 issue 14

Table of contents

purple EDITO

purple NEWS






purple NAKED


purple PARIS

purple NIGHT


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