Michael von Sacher-Masoch [michaelvonsachermasoch]
What is your profession? What is your title printed on your business card?
I am an Industrial/Urban Decay & Minimalist photographer.
What links do you have on the Internet: website, blog, social networks?
I'm on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, MySpace, Yahoo! and Care2.
Are you satisfied with the education that you received?
I am self taught so yes.
Do you usually attended seminars or coursework to advance your professional work or would you consider yourself a more self-taught person?
I am self taught.
When did you realise that your work was being considered important and that it could possibly take you places?
When I was asked to do the photography for the local compilation CD "The 41st All-Stars".
Who have been the most influential people in your career?
Scott Aaron Stine.
With which types of persons do you feel you work well with as a team?
I work well with others of like mind though I tend to be an outcast even among outcasts.
What are the things you least like about your job?
Nothing, I love photography.
Besides your current profession, what other things would you have liked to have been?
An actor but I have no talent in that field.
List any credits, publications, competitions, etc.
A very small sample of my photography has thus far been posted at www.studioscordatura.com
I have done the principle photography for the "41st Street All-Stars compilation CD" and the only full color band photo in the "Seattle Metal Online compilation CD #2". Both CDs are for sale at http://thetrashcollector.com/compactdiscs.html
I have four photos in The "Trashfiend's Guide to Collecting Videotapes" magazine and the authors photo in the book "Trashfiend: Disposable Horror Fare of the 1960s & 1970s". Both are for sale at http://thetrashcollector.com/booksfilm.html
I have taken many photos for the post-industrial rock band Post-Mortem Pre-Op as well as collaboration photography/film making with artist/writer/musician Scott Aaron Stine.
I have edited Mr. Stines three books "The Gorehound's
Guide to Splatter Films of the 1960s & 1970s" "The Gorehound's Guide to Splatter Films of the 1980s" and "Trashfiend: Disposable Horror Fare of the 1960s & 1970s". I have also edited the many short stories & chap books of writer Reginald E. Bloom.
For Stigmata Press I have functioned as Co-Publisher, Circulation Director, Editor, Film Critic, Writer and/or Photographer for such magazines as Gick!: The Journal of Horror, Splatter & Exploitation Films, Trashfiend: Horror & Exploitation Fare from the 1960's & 1970's, Filthy Habits: Hardcore & Sexploitation Fare from the 1960's & 1970's and The Trashfiend's Guide to Collecting Videotapes.
For Stigmata Films I have functioned as Co-Director, Cameraman, Producer, Lighting Tech., Stuntman and/or Actor for the short films "Guttersnipe Baby", "Dream House" & "Circuit Breaker" aka "Fuse Box", the full length film "God's Hooks" and the documentary "The Unmaking of God's Hooks".
I edit, buy items and sometimes write item descriptions for www.thetrashcollector.com
The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan. This book has trained me to be both a Skeptic & Atheist and for that I'm truly indebted.
How and why did you begin to be creative?
I was always creative but I didn't know until later in life that photography was my calling.
Who have your teachers been?
Scott Aaron Stine has been the best teacher I have ever had.
Have you ever had a job that was so stimulating that you could not get your mind off of it?
All my photography jobs are like this.
Does spirituality contribute to your creativity?
Not in the slightest.
It is possible to fall in love with a bad idea simply because it is yours. How do you avoid this?
If it is your idea and you love it then it isn't a bad idea. Take Ed Wood Jr for example, to some him becoming a director was a bad idea to others he was a genius.
The armchair psychologist: Is creativity an act of rebellion for you?
I am an Industrial/Urban Decay and Minimalist photographer so I consider my photography to be an act of rebellion against the mainstream.
What city in the world currently attracts you due to its creative environment?
Considering the type of photography that I do the city I live in "Everett, Washington" does it for me.
Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
A very small sample of my photography has thus far been posted at http://www.studioscordatura.com
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
I have been a photographer since 1995 but I have only started doing it seriously since 2001. I started doing photography since my artist friends are writers or film makers but I didn't know any photographers so I thought I'd fill the gap by learning it and see if any of my friends needed any photos for their work and luckily they did.
What has been your education as a photographer?
I am entirely self taught. I have had no formal education or training.
What is your favourite type of photography?
I have specialized in Industrial, Urban Decay and Minimalism but I also like animal, Insect/Arachnid and plant photography as well.
What do you try to express through your photography?
I try to show that the Industrial sections of buildings, burned/collapsed houses, rusty pipes and other signs of urban decay is art and not the eyesore that it appears to be.
How do you choose your subjects?
When doing Industrial/Urban Decay photography I simply wander around the city and take any shot that speaks to me, some turn out great others not so much.
What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
I don't do any preparation but before I leave to explore the city I make sure I have enough film with me as it can take me 6-8 hours before I consider myself done for the day. And yes I still use film NOT digital.
Do you normally photograph with a purpose already in mind, or do you let yourself go with the flow?
Considering the type of photography that I do (Industrial/Urban Decay, Minimalist) I already have a purpose in mind so it is just finding the right angles to take a picture that I'm happy with. I have found animal photography to be different and that you can only go with the flow.
Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sigma, Olympus, Sony, Pentax...which do you place your bets on and why?
I use a Canon as that was my first camera and I tend to stick with what I know but if companies would send me free samples I would try them and compare.
Describe your current equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, accessories...
My camera is a Canon Rebel XS with standard lenses. I still am in dire need of a Macro lens and a telescoping lens wouldn't hurt either.
Are you a good salesperson of your work? In what should you improve?
I am not a good salesperson and since none of my work is currently for sale I don't have to be.
Which past masters of photography do you most admire?
My favorites are Irving Klaw, Richard Kern, Salvadore Dali.
Are technology and digital retouching reducing the gap between professionals and amateurs?
I believe that anyone can look like a great photographer if you can erase mistakes or touch up photos to look professional. Some of my favorite photos are my mistakes most of which were created as I was learning to use my camera.
What is your team of habitual collaborators like?
The only collaborator that I have is artist Mortimer Dempsey (nee Scott Aaron Stine) who has used my photos in his own art and can be found on Saatchi Online at http://www.saatchionline.com/mortimerdempsey
With which other photographers do you normally team up with or do sessions with?
None so far have come forth and I would like to work with other people of like mind.
Do you consider yourself more technical or more artistic?
Considering the type of photography that I do I tend to be more technical but I do some artistic shots as well if the opportunity opens up.
What have you learned about the art of framing and composition?
Everything I do is from instinct so it is all self learned and it turns out that I have a real knack for photography.
How does one develop the instinct of knowing when to press the shutter release button?
One doesn't develop instinct you either have or you don't.
When should one use film, and when should one use digital?
I only use film and will switch to digital when I absolutely have to and will go kicking and screaming believe you me.
Does photography have the recognition that it should have in contemporary art museums?
I don't believe that it does. I still hear "artists" say that photography isn't real art. Photography is not only real art but is better than what those wannabe "artists" are doing.
What hobbies have you got?
Besides photography I collect vintage monster/horror/Halloween/devil/superhero comics/magazines, toys, vinyl, etc... I buy lots of DVDs. I play Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st & 2nd editions only) and Magic:the Gathering. I also love bowling/pool/darts/pinball. I also play Angry Birds & Zombie Lane video games on Facebook.
If you were sent to a deserted island, which book, CD and film would you take with you?
Anything on how to survive living on a deserted island.
What is the greatest loss you have had in your life?
Losing the one true love of my life.
How do you respond to telemarketing calls?
I hang up and block their call.
Are you an ex-smoker? How did you quit?
Yes, I stopped.
Of what are you an addict?
Porn & playing Zombie Lane and Angry Birds.
You have nine wins in a row in a game of roulette: do you continue because you are on a good run, or abandon the game because statistically, it is your turn to lose?
I don't gamble. Gambling is for fools.
What toy gave you the best moments of your childhood?
All of them or I wouldn't have owned them.
Is there any superstition that makes you change your behaviour?
I am a Skeptic and don't believe in silly stupidstitions.
Does knowing someone's zodiac sign help you to better understand that person?
As a Skeptic the zodiac is as lame as stupidstitions.
Please list something you have not yet done, but that you would definitely like to do someday.
To which other place in the world would you move without hesitation?
To Canada if the Republicans take over.
A bad habit you have overcome.
Smoking and being a christian when I was younger.
Which animal do you prefer for company?
Dogs and Spiders.
What do you imagine yourself doing for your retirement?
I'm already living the dream.
If you were to return reincarnated, which real-life person would you like to be?
Again, as a Skeptic even the idea of reincarnation is as dumb as Bigfoot.
Did God create the world in seven days, or do you believe in the theory of evolution?
God is a fictional being.
Do you believe it is true that humans only use 10% of their brain capacity?
It has long since been proven that we use all 100% of our brain. At any time we use only 2-3% of our brain but in 24 hours all 100% will have been used.
Using the subway without paying, shoplifting: is there excessive tolerance to these small offenses?
There is and their shouldn't be.
Does brand name influence your buying habits?
Not in the slightest.
Do you think tipping is a good custom?
Only for people who go over and above their job description.
Do you think the catastrophism about climate change has been exaggerated?
No, if anything it has been underplayed.
Do you boycott brands if you learn they employ children in third-world countries or harm the environment?
Do you defend animal experimentation for the development of medicine that can save human lives?
Only if the experiments are proven to be important and have to be done.
What is your opinion of the rise in popularity of plastic surgery and implants?
Any woman with breast implants is no friend of mine.
Do extraterrestrials exist?
I believe they do but have never been to Earth.
What books are you currently reading?
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal by Lynne Kelly, The X-Rated Bible: an Irreverent Survey of Sex in the Scriptures. by Ben Edward Akerley and 144 Self-Contradictions of the Bible by William Henry Burr.
Places in the world that you have visited recently.
What is that special film you never tire of watching?
There are many films I can watch over and over again. I will list them soon....
What do you use: Mac or PC and why?
Mac, nuff said.
Do you believe there is excessive sex and violence in the media?
If anything there isn't enough.
Do you think video games, chat rooms, etc. have a dangerous addictive
effect on teenagers?
I'll tell you as soon as I go up a level on Zombie Lane.
Has there been a personal-growth book that has transformed your life?
Yes, That book is called The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan and the companion books The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and Flim Flam!: Psychics, ESP, Unicorns and other Delusions by James "the Amazing" Randi as these books helped me to become both a Skeptic and an Atheist. Before I read these books I had a strong, though waning, belief in the supernatural.
What magazines do you frequently read?
The Skeptical Inquirer: the Magazine of Science and Reason & Skeptic magazine.
How do you kill time?
Surfing for porn & playing Zombie Lane and/or Angry Birds.
In which city do you live? What are your favourite and least favourite things about it?
Everett, Washington USA. I love the Industrial/Urban Decay of the city which is the basis of my photography. I hate the people.
How do you define your political position? What is the ideology that inspires it?
I am a Democrat.
What matters more in deciding your vote: the party, the candidate, or the ideas?
All three must be as one.
Do you think religion has a place in politics?
Not in the slightest which is why we have separation of church and state.
Should parties that want to eliminate democracy be allowed to participate in democratic elections?
Of course not.
Are Right and Left obsolete concepts?
As long as the Right exists it is not obsolete, they must fall.
Why does hunger continue to exist in the world? Is this the result of a deliberate policy?
It exists solely because the Republican/GOP/Tea Party/Christians create it and do nothing to stop it as it leads to more money/power for them.
What political figures in recent history do you admire most?
Are we witnessing the end of the American empire?
Only if the Republicans take over.
Do you believe in any of the conspiracy theories regarding 9-11?
Are there too many taxes?
There isn't enough.
Should consensual offenses such as drug use or prostitution be legalized?
Prostitution should never have been illegal in the first place.
Are you pro-choice or pro-life?
Pro-choice as I don't hate women.
Are you in favor of or against the death penalty?
Unlike most Liberals I support the death penalty just not the Republican version.
Should homosexual couples have the same right to adopt as heterosexual couples?
What significant changes do you think Obama can bring about along his presidential term?
He already has and would do even more if the Republicans would stop blocking him.
Does the soul exist?
What is God?
A work of bad fiction.
If the ticket price for a football match is twice the regular price for those 12 years of age or older, and your child turned twelve yesterday, what age would you say your child is?
Twelve, as anything else would be a lie.
If you were a millionaire, what would be your charitable work?
Making sure Democrats are always in power.
On your death bed, what do you think you will regret not having done more of in life?
I wish I would have spent more time with her (who will remain nameless). I will always love and miss her no matter how long I live. The three months we spent together wasn't long enough but I still cherish each second I spent with you and will never forget you.
What will your epitaph be?
He was...while he lived.
Is your personality that of an investor or a spender?
Do you love or hate to go to stores? Why?
I don't mind going to stores as I like shopping, It's the people I hate.
Are you in the habit of returning home with what you went out to buy, or do you spend money on other things?
Do you like to accompany shoppers to help them decide what to buy? Do you like others to accompany you when you shop?
No for both.
Do you use the internet to shop? Do you research on the internet first and then buy in stores or vice versa?
Yes for all.
Do you pay by credit usually, occasionally, or never? What justifies that?
I no longer have or will have a credit card.
How is the financial crisis effecting your consumer habits?
none whatsoever as I live very cheaply.
Which is more important to you, to be up-to-date in technology, in culture, or in fashion?
None of the above.
Which do you appreciate more in a hotel room, a television or Internet access?
I don't watch TV so...
How long has it been since you last bought a music CD? Where do you get the music you listen to?
A month or so. I usually buy from Thrift/used CD stores or discount places online.
How often do you go to the movies? Do you rent or buy DVDs? Do you download movies from the Internet?
I go to the movies several times a year. I both rent and buy DVDs. I stream movies from several companies online.
What do you do with clothes and gadgets you no longer need but are still in good condition?
I donate them to local thrift stores if no one I know needs them.
Do you recycle? What kind of waste is recycled where you live?
Yes. Metal, plastic & paper/cardboard
Bottled or filtered water? Paper or plastic bags?
Either or for both.
Do you use your area's public transportation? If you have a vehicle, what kind is it, and what do you use it for?
I walk 90% of the time when I don't I ride the bus as I no longer drive.
Do you give preference to local products over of imported?
I buy local whenever possible.
When a product does not live up to its promises, do you make a complaint, or do you think that is just a waste of time?
I simply boycott that item.
Do you ever buy store brands? If so, what types of products, and which not?
I buy store brands as they tend to be cheaper.
If you inherited the equivalent of 10 years worth of your annual income, what would you invest in?
DVD's, Camera lenses and a scanner so I can start posting my photography online instead of relying on others who aren't living up to my expectations.
How do you master the impulse buying? What do you tell yourself?
I generally only buy what I need so I just don't give in to impulse buying with the exception of certain foods which I have a weakness to or for DVD's.
What basic advice on money management would you/do you give your children?
Spend money on bills, food, necessities then fun in that order.
What toys do you recall most fondly?
I played with alot of monster and science fiction toys/action figures as well as army men.
How complicated was your transition to adulthood?
I have never grown up.
What can you tell us about your discovery of sex?
I started having sex when I was seven years old as that was when my libido kicked into overdrive. I found neighbor kids who were in the same boat so finding partners was never a problem.
Did you always know what you wanted to be? How did you discover your calling?
No, I discovered I loved photography only after I bought a camera and started taking pictures.
How many times have you found the love of your life? What about unrequited love?
There was only one true love of my life. I will always love her until the end of my days.
What do you consider the most important projects or businesses you have been involved in.
My most important and favorite photography job was for the local Everett compilation CD "The 41st Street All-stars"
Who have been the key people along your professional path; people who have believed in you and given you opportunities?
Scott Aaron Stine.
Have you ever "come out of a closet" of some sort? What challenges have you had to overcome?
I did when I told my mom and sister that I was an Atheist and member of the Church of Satan. They don't know that I'm bi though.
What are the greatest successes and the major failures of your life?
My greatest successes have been working for Stigmata Press/Films, having done photography for a CD and having a small sample of my photography on the Studio Scordatura website. www.studioscordatura.com
What do you give thanks to life for? What do you think you have had good luck in, and what not?
I give thanks to Scott Stine being my best friend and the time that I spent with her.
What was the best time in your life?
The time I spent with her. I will never forget you.
If you write your memoirs someday, what will be the title?
What are the things that you definitely want to do before dying?
There are books not yet read, music not heard, films not yet watched and photos not yet taken. So much to do and so little time.
Michael von Sacher-Masoch