All About Image with David Brandon Geeting
From vibrant object shots to obscured portraiture, the high-flash surrealist mashups of photographer David Brandon Geeting are both jarring and enticing. We learn about Geeting’s unique style, his experience photographing Dick Cheney, and what random objects influence his perfectly irrational photographs. Also be sure to catch Geeting’s editorial shoot with net artist Corey Archangel’s new clothing line in The WILD’s upcoming Radiant issue!
Who: David Brandon Geeting
What he does: I am an image maker.
Where he’s from: Bethlehem, PA
Where he lives: Brooklyn, NY
What was your first experience with photography?
I get asked this question a lot and my memory is pretty fuzzy so I think I answer it differently every time. I do remember having one of those really long and slim 110mm film cameras and taking photos of stuff around the house. I was probably 7 at the time. I have a great photo of my (3-year old?) brother looking blissed out in the driveway.
Your work often takes everyday objects and pairs them together in a surrealist way, what’s your process when creating these compositions?
Sometimes I get an idea in the shower or lying in bed or on the street or on the train. I try to force myself to write it down immediately, that way I remember it later. Lots of times I look at the ideas later and have no idea what they mean. Other times, by the time I set out to make them, they seem really uninteresting. Very rarely do they still hold up, and I will follow thru with them, and they turn out okay. I have to say, my favorite method of making work is to be really agitated that I haven’t made work in a while, raid my house for stuff, or go to the dollar store and blow twenty bucks, or the fabric store, or somewhere on my way to the studio, and just blow all my pent-up creative energy on like three or four images. I get really ruthless and messy and end up making more irrational decisions when I’m in this mode of working. I’ve found that if I am not being irrational, the work is going to suck.
Do you have a favorite weird object?
I had this pair of orange Hanes briefs that I kept since high school. Over the past 9 years or so, they had stretched out so much that they must’ve gone from a size small to a XXL. They were really wide and baggy and sad and had the worst vibe. It was kind of amazing to watch them transform over time. And I would keep wearing them too, only on laundry day, constantly getting frustrated as they would fall down, and then pulling them up again, and feeling them immediately fall down again. It was really hard for me to throw them out, but I did it last night. I’ve kept them for so long to try to make an image of them, but no image would do them justice.
In the art world or beyond, what is there too much of and too little of?
Too much complacency, not enough risk. When I talk to an artist that seems so confident in what they are doing, I know then that they have plateaued. Confidence = safety, and safety = stagnancy. I try to stay unsure of myself at all times – if the time comes that I feel 100% comfortable in what I’m making, I’ll know I’ve failed.
What are you obsessed with right now?
Growing my hair out. I like the idea of letting your hair grow because it’s hard for other people to tell if you are a total slacker or just really committed. Maybe those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Any upcoming projects?
I’ve been making images of trash for a new series called “Hot Mess.” More on that soon.
Who would you like to collaborate with or shoot?
This is something I never think about and I don’t know how to answer it. But I feel like this question is actually “what famous person do you want to hang out with,” so let me go off on a tangent about something loosely related: I was recently assigned an editorial job photographing Dick Cheney and (no surprise) he was the worst dude ever. I have all kinds of outtakes where he is shoving his face with food and blinking like an idiot. I was so excited to capture these special moments and it made me excited to be an artist. It would be cool to make more bad images of awful people.
David’s WILD Wish:
I wanna live for mad long.