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October 30, 2014

June Canedo’s New Series Captures A Woman’s Poetic Sadness

June Canedo wasn’t always a photographer. The Brooklyn-based artist explored painting in Berlin and book-making in Australia before moving to New York and finding her niche in photography. We’ve seen Canedo’s work documenting the real beach babes of Brazil, and in her new book, that raw honesty still thrives with one subject. We speak to the artist about her accidental profession, the joy of photographing powerful women, and her new project pairing pictures with poetry.


When did you first start exploring photography?

I was always intimidated by photography so it took a long time for me to commit. Photography seemed so glamorous when I was younger and I think that is because I was introduced to it through fashion, pop culture, and eventually the blogosphere. I knew that I would have the courage to pick up the camera eventually, but it wasn’t until I got to New York at the beginning of 2013 that I decided it was time for me to just pick something. I took my time with it and practiced other mediums before photography took over, but eventually I couldn’t put the camera down. This is the first time I am finding myself still interested in something two years later.


Was it something you always had an interest in?

I was always drawn to it but it took a long time for me to learn how to express any sense of creativity. I grew up in rural Brazil until the tender age of 9 when my parents moved us to South Carolina. After that it was boys and beaches until adolescent heartbreaks started rolling in. I was always really emotional, too, and when I was finally given a little point and shoot digital camera for Christmas at 15 I learned that there were outlets and ways to relieve teenage angst. I blogged like everyone else who was given a computer at 17 in America- which eventually inspired me to get a camera and ask my boyfriend to take photos of me in different outfits so that I could express myself online. That was a weird time.


Were there any photographers that ignited your interest or inspired you to a degree? Or is it something else entirely that inspires you- Music? Art? Fashion?

When I was first introduced to Rineke Dijkstra’s work, I was frozen for a month. All I could do was flip through her work day-in and day-out. I still Google her name every time I feel uninspired.

Instagram has also been great for finding new work and photographers. I recently came across photographers Harley Weir and Jamie Hawkesworth who I think are both producing incredible work.


Do you explore digital photography at all or are you strictly film?

Earlier this year, I had to make a few decisions regarding photography. Everyone I knew was telling me that assisting and shooting digital were both key to being a “photographer” here in New York. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard: “You just have to.” Maybe it is a New York thing, but I tried both and neither are for me. Everything I love about photography is in film. I like picking out the type of film I want to use, I like having to wind the film, switching the backs, cocking the shutter lever, the sound they make, everything. I also hate editing so shooting film cuts my time on the computer in half. Film does limit me to a certain degree but the last time I picked up a digital camera, I couldn’t even figure out how to change the ISO so I just handed it right back.


Who do you photograph?

I didn’t really think about this until recently when people started talking about my work not necessarily with me- but around me. I keep hearing things like, “You know how you like to photograph weird people?” or “I know this weird-looking girl I think you would like to photograph.” I take this as a compliment entirely and I genuinely appreciate the feedback. These sorts of comments always give me the best perspective. I never know what to think of my work or why I choose to photograph the people I do until someone else starts expressing their opinions.


What do you try to communicate in your work?

My childhood was so strange so I think I naturally gravitate to expressing how bizarre human nature can be especially among our contemporary interpretations of reality (AKA social media). I relate most to the soreness of human nature, which–in turn–ignites my creativity. I always felt that painting was quite limiting (which is what I focused on in school) in the sense that I could never capture how strange, sincere, and vulnerable people can be.

image (2)Photographer June Canedo

What is this particular series about?

This series is part of a larger series of images which will be presented in form of a book I’m releasing next year. I am working with a few poets and writers here in Brooklyn to create a book which will explore the intricacies and layers of sadness particularly from the female perspective.

I photographed Danica who is featured in the images simply because I find her incredibly attractive. Her face and body are both so powerful that I thought they were worth celebrating. She isn’t at all submissive which is what attracts me to certain women. These images will eventually be paired with a poem relaying a similar message.




Styling by Tess Herbert 

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text by: Hillary Sproul

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