Aaron Feaver describes the colour of his life as the warm, reassuring glow that fills the atmosphere around sunset. Emancipating feelings of summer filter through his high-end, filmic style, as he captures images during this hour of magic – his favourite light to shoot in.
Feaver produces genuine, cinematic impressions – harnessing the sublime and organic stage that nature so generously provides throughout his exquisite body of photographic imagery. He interacts with, and resourcefully utilises, the textures, patterns, shapes and forms of the distinctly divergent landscapes that surround Los Angeles. The Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Mountains, San Fernando / San Joaquin Valleys and the desolate Mojave Desert all act as an unpredictable, expansive and naturally lit studio for this visionary photographer.
Aaron Feaver manifests liberated moments of sensual synergy with some of the most beautiful women in the world, directing them into unexpected poses in unexpected places, whilst tastefully capturing their naked and exposed bodies with his artful eye. His work showcases the allure, seduction and luster of eloquent human forms in and out of context – approaching his illustrious photo shoots with both film and digital aesthetic in mind, seamlessly bridging the gap between two mediums that are often positioned at loggerheads within the photographic community.
His youthful, flawless subject matter is often styled and shot in a way that evokes nostalgic sensibilities, resuscitating the aesthetic from simpler times and prettier places. He is a photographer who double-dares to press his shutter at raw, untamed moments. An artist who celebrates and improvises with whatever elements spontaneously present themselves to his lens, allowing them to influence and stimulate the carnal charm he has such command over.
Feaver has the rare ability and a profound motivation to create and apprehend enchanting moments of time. It’s nothing short of a pleasure to browse through his images and bask in their majestic, visceral qualities. Unfortunately, the modern accessibility and instantaneous-image-making-nature of photography means it’s all too easy to forget the investment of time, effort and organization that goes into travelling, scouting and creating images in these environments. It’s pertinent to remember, and to stay conscious to the fact, that these images certainly don’t just create themselves.
What doesyour photography communicate to you when you look back at it? What do you see when you look at a complete, finished image or series of photographs? How do you feel about what you have achieved?
Usually I really like the photos I’ve just taken, but only for a couple of hours right after the shoot. The longer I look at them the less I like them and the more I see things I want to do differently next time. I have a lot of photos from personal projects that are just sitting around because I can’t get excited enough to do anything with them. I guess I’m always looking forward to the next shoot and how I can get closer to what I really want to achieve, whatever that is.
Black and white imagery can convey a sense of color, and can give life to a moment captured in any situation. What do you take into account when deciding to shoot in monochrome or colour?
A lot of times I’ll try photos in black and white and color, even color film photos. It’s all just trial and error for me. With color you have this almost infinite variety of combinations and saturations that you can deal with, and with black and white you’re a lot more limited. I usually like black and white for "simpler" photos, because I feel like it can draw the focus to one element of the photo better than color. So for instance if the model has a particularly expressive expression on her face, I might make that black and white just to draw attention to it. Whereas if the clothes, the model and the setting are all working together I might be more likely to leave that in color.
I used to be a little afraid of color, honestly, just because I didn’t know how to deal with it very well. Lately I’ve become more confident and I’ve started using color more and more.
If you were to describe the picture of your life in one colour, which would you choose and why?
Oh god…I guess that kind of warm yellowish-orange you get around sunset, since I love love love summertime and it’s my favorite light to shoot in.
Analogue photography and the use of film seems to be in fashion at the moment. What are your thoughts on digital versus film?
They both have their place, for me. I use film a lot when I want a particular effect or final result that would be hard to achieve with digital, or when I just want to have fun and see what comes out.
Honestly there’s not a lot of difference between film and digital for me. I shoot a lot of 6×7 film, which is pretty much as sharp and clear as digital, with all of the advantages and frustrations that entails. 35mm is great for when you want all that grain and color, but honestly unless you’re shooting cheap, expired film on a toy camera you can get similar results easily with a digital.
I used to be more of a film apologist, but lately I just use the camera and film combination I want for the shoot, whether it’s digital or 6×7 or toy camera or whatever. I just did a shoot on an old plastic toy camera and it was great, but I’m not trading in my digital any time soon.
I feel like I’m doing an OK job bridging the two aesthetics, since I get emails all the time from film fanatics asking me what film my digital photos were shot with. If people can’t tell the difference then what’s the point?
Do you feel that the photographs you take convey elements of yourself to the viewer? How do you think your personality is reflected in the style and feel of your photographs?
I don’t see my personality in my photos very much at all. It’s more of an aesthetic I want to create than any kind of personality I want to get across. Once in a while I’ll take a quirky or funny photo and I suppose those reflect my personality a little bit, but in general I’m pretty distanced from them, personality-wise.
Nature is a common thread across the backgrounds of your photographs, tell us about what you love about shooting on location.
The scenery adds to a photo the same way clothes or makeup do, but on a more practical level, nature is free and easy. No studio rental, no lights, nothing slowing you down. Plus I live in Los Angeles, which has every kind of setting you could possibly want: desert, beach, mountains, woods, fields, lakes, everything – not to mention the weather. If I lived in New York, maybe, yeah, I can see using a studio, but I don’t really see the point in Los Angeles.
I know a lot of people prefer studio because you can control the light and the wind and everything else, but I like dealing with the elements and finding new ways to take pictures using the wind and light and everything else I’m given.
When you envision the outcome of your photography does it change much from initial insight to the finished outcome? Do you stick to a firmly established concept of what it is going to look like, or do you prefer to leave it to chance and the improvised freedom of the moment?
It’s almost always improvised. Usually I’ll have a rough idea of what I want, but half the time that changes while I’m shooting, and the other half of the time it changes when I’m editing. I have done shoots where I’ve stuck pretty closely to a storyboard, but honestly those pictures are never as great as when I just work with what I’m given.
When passionate about something that we do, we go about it with pleasure and determination. Tell us about a particular work you have produced which encapsulates the epitome of your passion for photography.
I really like when shoots come together spur-of-the-moment, so I guess my favorite would be a shoot I did with my girlfriend on the coast here in California. It was a really cold and rainy winter afternoon, and we shot in the rain on the golf course in Palos Verdes, which was of course totally abandoned thanks to the rain. It was basically just me with an Olympus Stylus Epic and some Dollar Store film shooting her running around the golf course naked, but that’s the best kind of shoot for me.