Interview with Kenneth Cappello
In this new interview feature we got to chat with an enigmatic and very talented photographer Kenneth Cappello. His works have appeared in variety of magazines as covers, features, ad campaigns, he's done photo exhibits all over the world and much more. Kenneth is also a music video director, proud owner of the coolest and probably the most famous dog Ciccicolina and all around awesome dude. Read on!
YS: How did you transition from doing skateboarding related photography to doing more of a "mainstream" photography?
Kenneth Cappello: Ehhh... I was never a skateboard photographer, I always just took photos. When skated I took a lot of photos of skating when I was going to punk shows etc. I took photos of that, when i was walking around drunk in NYC I took photos of that, as i became a photographer for a living you have to shoot ads and stuff to make money etc…
YS: What are your thoughts on the general notion that a lot of people call themselves a photographer just because they bought an expensive camera and got a Flickr account, i'd imagine it wasn't an easy road for you...
KC: No, it wasn't easy when i started. It wasn't digital quite yet you had to buy film then pay for it to be processed then pay for the prints to be made or print them yourself and pay for the darkroom time… There weren't any blogs or Flickr accounts or phones that took pictures or a website where something your friend could make…it was totally different. I used to carry prints i liked around in a photo box and show people at magazines trying to get work… Anyone can be a photographer if you have a camera thats fine, i think thats great… thats the cool thing about photography , it just gets weird when people become photographers shooting for big things based on their celebrity or who they are weather it be a famous person or a creative director etc that didn't have to pay any dues or what have you. Everything is so accessible now...
YS: Would you say your photography style is a direct response to the lavish and expensive shoots you would do as David LaChapelle's assistant or it's more of a natural progression?
KC: Well I was actually David' s prop person/art department guy, I never actually assisted him on the photo side but i did work in his studio for over 3 years and I learned tons from him on every aspect of photography… Before I met David I didn't even know what a photo studio was besides like the ones at the mall that you'd do your family portraits at with the wagon wheel.
YS: How many assistants have you had and who is the best / worst one?
KC: A ton... I have no idea, I've had some fucking worthless pieces of shit assistants and I've had some that are very very good...
YS: What was your most memorable shoot?
KC: Mike Tyson for Supreme is one of them, he was a loose cannon at one point he tried to kick my camera outa my hand, told me to fuck myself, called me a faggot etcccc. it got craze. I told him we could fight in the hallway if he didn't get a better attitude.
YS: Could you tell us about your book "Acid Drop" how did it come about?
KC: Found those negatives in a shoe box back in Texas, had no idea i had that body of work, i shot those photos in the late 80s when i was really young, once i made contact sheets of everything i was like wow, showed it to my friend Tim Barber and he was like I want to make this book happen don't show these to anyone else, and he did...
KC: I mean I might as well just throw a party, cause for someone like me that's all an art show really is, people drinking and looking at each other trying to get laid…I'd like to do a "Acid Drop" show in LA at some point… Shows are cool, whatever I'm not like "I'm an artist this is my work, I'm so serious" sure I'll do some I'm sure i got something coming up this summer in NYC and Paris with "The Kills".
YS: Your little doggie Ciccicolina has been a subject and an extra on quite a few photos you've done , how did it come about?
KC: She is just my dog and she's a weirdo and is very very expressional, people really love her so of course i take a lot of photos of her… you will see an art show with her in the future… I haven't figured out if she's my kid or my wife.
YS: When can we expect that Kenneth Cappello documentary…
KC: I'm not sure if anyone cares actually i know no one cares but that would be fun.
YS: I think it will be fun... So what's next for you?
KC: Couple books in works, about to make another music video for "The Kills", maybe short film.
YS: Very much looking forward to see those and thanks a lot!