#231: Marcus Maddox
Marcus Maddox on James Cowman’s YouTube Channel, Olive Menswear, The New Yorker Headquarters, and more.
Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked Marcus Maddox to share a taste of his taste on Perfectly Imperfect.
Marcus Maddox is a New York City-based photographer and bookmaker. If you’ve attended any local shows around NYC you’ve probably seen Marcus there snapping away on his digital rangefinder, but what makes his work especially interesting is that his lens is often turned toward the crowd instead of the stage. And for nearly ten years Marcus has been capturing the connection between people and the DIY music scenes they’re a part of. The photos he’s collected in Nashville, Philadelphia, and most recently New York City will be released in a trilogy of books titled Pom Poms. Lucky for us, Marcus is here to tell us what he’s been into.
Without further ado
Marcus Maddox (instagram, website)
📚 Photography Between Covers by Thomas Dugan (1979)
This is a book of interviews with 12 pioneering artists who create photo books. It’s a long discussion about two of my deepest passions: photography and bookmaking. I found it because of the curator David Campany, and it is a must have for those who take their photography seriously. The most visceral interview is with the photographer Larry Clark, who talks about getting sued by the grandparents of a baby he photographed, leaving out pictures of sawed off shot guns, and his commitment to never making his friends look bad. There’s a lot of passages about book design, a range of photography styles, and the meaning of success. This book is a gold mine of insight, and I carry it with me like a bible.
🗄️ The New Yorker Headquarters
I went into the New Yorker offices at the One World Trade Center for the first time to work on an assignment, and man—what a beautiful place. It was so futuristic and well lit. I’ve been reading the magazine for a while, and seeing the different departments working on it in the flesh was an eye-opening experience. While I was going on a tour, I saw Richard Brody, the film critic, at his laptop writing, with a hot coffee by his side. He was stroking his long grey beard, seemingly in the zone. I thought… “Wow, these people are actually real and not just those iconic cartoon profile pictures.” Great place to work.
I LOVE clothes! Friends ask me where I get my leather jacket and it’s Olive’s Menswear. Specifically their 2020 Magnus Faux Leather Jacket. I like their pieces because they are well crafted and thoughtfully curated. Falls into that category of minimalist brands that I love. It’s better than Uniqlo, but not as expensive as Knickerbocker. I highly recommend.
📚 Night Walk by Ken Schles (2014)
Night Walk is one of my favorite photography books of the last decade. It’s an incredible document of the tumultuous Lower East Side in the 1980’s. Described as a “narrative of lost youth,” it incapsulates a raw energy in a specific moment in time. Rarely do I see still images so expressive, so intentionally chaotic but with an artistic authority. This book is a force, and it doesn’t have a lot of text which I love. Just purely moving imagery. The photos of the art scene resonate with me. It’s a reworking of the original book, Invisible City, which came out in 1988.
I’ve been following this middle-aged dad on Twitter for like 8 years now, and he’s so damn funny. I have no idea what he does for a living, or if he’s an actual professional comedian, but his tweets slap. He’s always making jokes about 1 upping rival dads and describing what being middle aged feels like. Anytime I open Twitter this guy makes me laugh.
I’m a nerd when it comes to image composition, and James Cowman has a relatively obscure YouTube channel dedicated solely to the art of composition. His videos are amazing and some of them literally have less than 500 views. There’s some good writing on photography out there, but almost no good resources specifically about composition. I rarely get helpful information, with examples, that go beyond the rule of thirds. This guy is breaking that mold… by explaining the harmonic armature. I love James’ passionately critical attitude towards the medium. He might get some flack for it, according to the contact page on his website, but I love his work. His video about Henri Cartier-Bresson is so honest and insightful.
I wear a necklace with a guitar pick from my friend Chloe, who was the first musician I ever took live photos of. She was my gateway into music photography, which has led to a lot of other things. People ask if I play music, but I don’t. The pick on the necklace just reminds me of why I got into photography—through music. One side of the pick is a star and the other side is Chloe’s album cover for “All the Same Ok."
Follow Marcus on instagram
Check out his website for more
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