Jordan Swartz

Where are you from/based now?

I was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania & am now currently based out of Washington, DC

What is your background in Photography? What keeps you interested?

I grew up reading skateboard & bmx magazines & was always interested in the visuals, both photographically & design, though maybe didn't know it at the time.

When I was 12 or 13 I started taking pictures with my dad's old camera & then eventually got my own. When it came time for college, there wasn't anything else I really was interested in at the time.

The answer to what keeps me interested is two fold. What keeps me interested in still photographing is that I have a constant need to document & it has sort of become a feeling of needing to document for those around me as well.

What keeps me interested in other photographers, is that gut reaction you get when you see that perfect photograph. It sort of comes in waves, this sense of awe & wonder in how beautiful or striking the image is & then that frustration that you didn't take the image.

What equipment do you use?

I sort of use whatever is around at the time, whether borrowed or my own. But I recently have been shooting a lot with my Hasselblad & my Fuji x100. I also almost always have an Olympus film point & shoot on me at all times.

How often do you go out shooting?

As I said I usually have at least a point & shoot on me, but it's hard because most of my "work" is made while in transit. If I'm not traveling I still am shooting, & forcing myself to make images, but they often never see the light of day. That being said, when I am in transit I shoot constantly. On a 20-30 day tour, I will shoot a few thousand digital images, as well as probably 80-100 rolls of film.

Could you tell us a bit about the book you have just made?

"I'm Alright To Drive" is the document of the life of a band. My best friends from high school had a punk band & when they started touring I just went along & by the end I was the non official 4th member. I first saw a lot of the United States with them & also parts of Europe. It was weird summing up 6 years of huge life moments into 60 pages. I wanted to focus more on the downtown of tour, rather than the live shot/ music part. I figured out the ratio at one point & on a 30 day tour, something like .014 perfect is actually spent playing music.

Is there a particular photographer, site, set of images or a photo book that you keep coming back to for inspiration?

Chris Berntsen is an awesome photographer & has a book titled "The Ritual of Nothingness" that still hits me right in the chest, every time I look at it. Ed Templetons books "The Golden Age of Neglect" "Deformer" are both really amazing visually. Philip di Corcia's "Thousand" is probably the most perfect book ever made. This list could go on forever.

Are you working on a project at the moment?

I have a couple projects right now, one is based on John Steinbeck's "The Winter of Our Discontent" & I'm photographing a sort of compendium for that.

I also have a much larger project that I'm sort of planning & doing a lot of legwork on trying to get some funding, but it's going to be a historical document of American history that interests/ pertains to me.

Also I run Empty Stretch, a photo book publishing company & we have a ton of stuff coming up. We are going to be in Los Angeles for the LA Art Book Fair. We have two new releases coming out there. We have another 2 releases in the early stages right now. So making books keeps me busy.

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