Photography Talk: Dylan Greenlaw From Maine
All photos courtesy of Dylan Greenlaw
After our last interview with Ethan, it wasn’t long till our second photographer piece propped up. Dylan Greenlaw is the Boston/Portland Maine photographer making a name for himself and in a world driven by the youths of today, his photography process is thought out before taking the first shot. Using both DSLR and Point and Shoots – depending on the occasion – his hands are firmly dipped in both music and fashion.
My main goal is to be able to make whatever I want and be financially stable!
How was everything for you last night?
Ummm I went to this roller rink with a couple of my friends to take some photos. It was all rollerblading and rollerskating, it’s like this corny retro place. I was using my point and shoot, its a Ricoh AF 40 something I picked up off Facebook marketplace for 20 bucks, but it has nice focus and it’s sharp enough, and I was using Superia.
Because you used to shoot with DSLR when you first got into photograph?
Yeah thats what i started with, i still use it now for professional stuff and if I’m hired to do family photos, because i cant live off just doing artiest shoots and stuff like that. I still use the DSLR because film is really unpredictable sometimes and you can really mess up a bunch of families pictures, I still use DSLR sometimes3. Im trying to balance my use of film and digital because i really want to use digital more just because its a really convenient medium. I just love the aesthetic of film a lot more, it goes with my personal style.
You’ve shot some look books and fashion things last year, including the FTP shoot. How did that come about?
That was really big for me I was excited for that. I didn’t really know Zac the owner of FTP, he just put it up on his Snapstory that he needed Boston photographers, and I said hey whats up and said I’m available and that’s sorta how it happened.
Was that your first ever look book?
Yeah that was my first official look book, I’ve done some stuff for personal projects a lot of experimental stuff. I used to be in this art collective that had a fashion line and stuff like that so I was apart of it and wasn’t hired or anything because it was apart of my own work.
With the FTP look book what did you learn from that? Because you got the chance to shot DMX.
Yo yo I didn’t know what to expect with DMX going in, because everyone says he has a crazy personality and he’s interesting, his substance abuse and stuff like that. He was really great actually. One thing I took away from it was, just act like it’s a normal person, this applies for everything I do when I’m backstage shooting other artists, don’t fan out or anything like that. Just be yourself and act like you are just introducing yourself to someone on the street, and that’s really what it is.
Have you learned from previous experiences being around artists when you might have fanned out?
I’ve definitely fanned out a couple of times, when I first met Kevin Abstract. That was at his solo show in the middle east in Boston back in April. That was the first time when I was getting into artist portraitures on film and it was a big learning experience for me. I was shooting on disposables so I had no idea what was going to happen. I didn’t even have a point and shoot then so I was just getting into it. So I had these two disposibles – someone gave one to me, and I stole one out of my sister’s drawer. I just told her I need to get photos here so sorry aha.
Considering you’ve only just started getting into artist portraits back in April last year, what other artsits have you come across thats not on your IG.
Ummm one of my favourites is King Krule, I shot his show but lost his film a couple days later because I lost my fuckin camera at a party and it;s gone foever. That’s what I don’t like about film, it’s tooo physical where with digital you’ll always have a copy but with film all your photos can get destroyed. I’m trying to think of other people I haven’t exactly posted yet…. Ahhh I have a couple of photos of other Brockhampton members that I haven’t put up.
Because you’ve also shot Raekwon from Wu Tang….
Yahhh Raekwon, that was really cool. How that came about he had a show in Portland Maine, I don’t live there but I live in Maine and that’s where I spend most of my time in Boston when I’m not in school. So he had a show, I didn’t have tickets or anything (I couldnt affoard it at the time), and only found out about the show on the night of. So I was with a couple of my friends hanging out the back and talking to the managers of the opening artists coming out the back. We managed to get ourselves inside, and then Raekwon’s bus driver came out and we were talking to him, he was pretty cool and that’s how it happened.
Your Warhol.SS and Denzel Curry shots are also exceptional moments in my opinion, really one of a kind.
That photo of Curry was one of my favourites, it was at the Illegal Civilisation tour. I got to take most members of Illegal Civ’s photo there. I lost a portrait of Denzel, the point and shoot jammed and some of the film got exposed. So I was gonna post a super nice portrait of him backstage, but the one of him hanging just represents his energy way more. Same thing goes for the venue a lot of artists love to hang from that pipe, it’s the only venue around that lets you fuck up their shit.
Were you shooting for Illegal Civilisation on their East Coast tour?
Nah not for them, I was just shooting from attending, that’s like my tactic, go to all the shows I can and for every single shows I go to I try to get a portrait of at least one performer. How Illegal Civ happened on getting backstage, was I noticed Nakel was trying to bring merch back and forth from a bus and it was mad heavy, so I helped him out and then he brought me backstage.
And apart from going to shows all the time, are you one to pursue academic education?
Im outta High School, right now I’m first year at Newland School of photography in Massachusetts thats a 2 year program. I’ve been taking photos for like 5 years, I started off taking photos on my phone and over editing my photos and stuff. I finally got a DSLR for Christmas and it was just a starter DSLR from Nikon, I don’t even have a nice of a DSLR right now I have a Nikon D5200 which is pretty entry level I don’t have a nice full framed camera. I just started working myself up from that, from taking more and more photos each day I found out that’s what I really love that’s the one thing I can always do and always return to, like I produce a little bit or make clothes, but the one thing I don’t get tired of is photography.
So you are so engrossed in all these other forms of art with fashion, music ect. Whats your main goal in being known for?
It’s sort of everything, my main goal is to be able to make whatever I want and be financially stable, but also for my impact via my work on others – I think I want people to take away all the moments I’ve captured, and appreciate them for how raw they are. Raw doesn’t have to mean it’s gritty or rough, it can be a really intimate moment between two people or an emotional point for a subject or something along those lines.
Talking about a moment between two people. You love the San Pell flavour Blood Orange as much as the album ‘Freetown Sound’ by Blood Orange. If you were the photographer shooting the album cover, how would it look?
I’m trying to think, Freetown Sound is really unique, anything Dev does is unique. I’m trying to think, I dunno I think the photo how it is fits the album the best. Umm I definitily would go for something intimate like that. I know the photographer who did that is really really amazing, I dont want to disrespect them by even thinking about changing it.
Whats your most hated flavour of San Pell?
I dunno, but I hate Polar, fuck Polar. It’s just another brand that competes with San Pell.
In the future, what would be your ideal set location and musical subject for a photoshoot, and why?
Part of me really wants to say, whoever home it is, it would definitely have to be their own home. I’d say Donal Glover or Tyler The Creator. Donald Glover is just a really inspiring creative person, ‘Because the Internet’ is one of my favourite albums. All the stuff he accompanied with it – by having the screen play for the whole album – and having a really cool multimedia experience for his newest album. He had a website where people were going into the coding to find snippets and easter eggs for his artwork, and it was really cool to see someone take so many forms of art and put it into one project and that’s really cool, not enough musical artists do that. For Tyler, he’s just really inspiring on so many levels, I love all of his GolfWang to Carnival stuff.
Talking about Tyler, people can see off your Instagram that you’re really into skating as well, how much does skating influence you?
I love skating, I love the communicate around skating I haven’t been able to get into it that much in Boston yet because I sort of moved there for school and by the time I moved there it was getting really cold and snowing, so people were kinda not skating. In Portland though theres a really amazing community of skateboarders at the local park. Skateboarding in general is so great and most of the people who skate are such friendly and accepting people and its just really great. It has so much influence too, everyone in the skate world has so much influence, fashion looks to them music looks to them, it’s really like the best example of something raw, everybody doing exactly what they wanna be doing for fun – in it to have a great time.
How did your surroundings inspire you and your photography?
Ummm I didn’t exactly know I was gonna be a photographer, but I did know I didn’t wanna have a 9-5 bullshit job. I wanted to do exactly what I was happy at doing, I needed to find that one thing to do and not get sick of, and if you love what you’re doing you wont work a day in your life. I already knew that, but it was all down to finding that. My parents have also been really supportive which I’m thankful of, they’ve funded all my camera stuff which is great because I wouldn’t be able to take the photos I have without them. Shout out to my parents, they’ve been supportive with me pressuring art school as well. I know a lot of parents just want their kids to make a lot of money, but my parents are set on making sure their kids do exactly what makes them happy.
SHOUT OUT TO ALL THE SUPPORTIVE PARENTS. Wrapping this very positive and wholesome chat. What are 4 album artwork that inspire you?
Let me scroll through my music right now and see. I’d say all the Brockhampton ‘Saturation’ covers. A really inspiration cover is The Brand New cover, its like two people in skull masks and this kid is creeping behind the corner. Its just an example of a famous photograph that a band took and used it as their album artwork, its cool how you can cross mediums like that and have such a, like some people know that photographer but everyone knows that photo. I’m trying to think of more here, that Freetown Sound cover is also a favourite. Last i’d say is Tylers ‘Scum Fuck Flowerboy’, i forget the artists name who made that, his work is amazing and its another example of getting your name out through other mediums and how artists can support each other through appreciating each others art.