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Respect the Shooter Interview with Andrew Clifton Brown @andrewcliftonbrown.photography

Amanda Giordano

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How did you get into photography/videography?

As a kid I'd always loved cinema, and I loved the captured stills from films and magazines. I used to pore over any magazine I could get my hands on, or stare at album covers like the Beatles 'Sargent Pepper'. I was mesmerized by that album cover!

I viewed life very much cinematically as a kid. Everything needed grandeur or to be nuanced in my head otherwise it didn't really matter (now I realize you can see that in just about anything. I have the perspective to see the perspective oddly enough). I'd always felt that if I was able to watch people and frame them in my head the way I thought looked great that they'd make good images if I could just work out how to get them through a camera! And hence photography, and it took me quite a while to get my head around it because I don't take to things easily. Like most other people, I have to really work at it, and photography has so many aspects surrounding it that it is easy to get side tracked on other types of shoots, hardware and influences, etc.

What did you first use to take photos?

A Ricoh film Camera my parents bought me. It was a fantastic gift in hindsight, but I was so awful at 15 years of age with a camera that I gave up on it because I couldn't work out how to use it and there was no one I could learn from back then.

I then bought a Nikon D90 a decade ago and mooched along with that for a while. I loved that camera because it was suddenly a camera that obeyed (on the whole) what I was asking of it. My youngest son still uses it.

Where did you go to school? Do you have any formal training/self taught?

I went to the London Nautical School in Stamford Street in London. I hated it. It's not a reflection on the school, more on myself at that time. God knows what was in my head for going there.

I'm self taught as much as anyone can be. It's taken me a while to get to where I am now, but as clichéd as it sounds it's a life long journey. There's always someone who shows you a new way of doing something or just something new, or something else you fancy trying to shoot. And I am always happy to help fellow shooters. I get a lot of messages on instagram that I always reply to, and it's just nice to help people. I like the idea that if I help someone, they might be inclined to help someone else. While it might not foster an immediate community between yourselves, it might spark something in them. I know that is almost a stock reply, but that is how I am. The idea of community is a big thing for me.

Do you have any nicknames?  How did you get that name?

I was given the nickname 'Angry Brown'. I got it from when I was riding bmx ( https://fatbmx.com/bmx-interviews/item/25557-re-up-one-of-the-uk-bmx-scene-pioneers-andrew-clifton-brown ) . I really was an angry young man and I just had this incandescent well of rage in me that really had no right to be there but it was just there. A guy called Jason Ellis coined the name 'Angry Brown' at a competition when I was probably being a bit of a dick and it then just stuck.

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If you could take photos of any 3 people who would it be?

The Rock, Audrey Nefegger and Mel Gibson. I think they would be interesting and fun to talk to

If you could take photos of any 3 people that are no longer living who would they be?

As long as I could talk to them as well, it would be Jacques de Molay, Joan of Ark and my Dad

If you could take photos in any 3 cities what would they be?

Petra, Babylon and colour me clichéd, Venice.

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What is your goal when you capture photos of someone?

Honestly, it's to capture a snap shot that they like and I like. Sometimes you're working with someone who is slightly resistant or nervous and it's immensely gratifying to give them an image they love, but sometimes it's also offset with a bit of being personally underwhelmed by not being able to see what they like about the shot. it is of course all about personal preferences. And as my dear mother used to tell me as a kid "If we were all the same, the world would be a boring place". I hated that saying as a kid, now I understand and embrace it.

What music do you listen to when you edit photos?

Literally anything I have on my computer. There's no hard and fast rule. It could be Fish, then the Beatles, to early Killers, talk talk or Yonaka. Just whatever I flick across. Sometimes it's just a distraction from bulk processing, and half the time I forget it's on and only remember it was on when the album finishes!

What's your favorite app on your phone?

MrFitnessPal. I look at it and try and make the remaining calories go up with my mind. I fail every day but I live in hope....

What is your dream as a photographer?

To be happy with my work, and for people that I work with to be happy with the images I provide to them. It would be nice for some of the images to pass the test of time. For people to see their distant relative' pictures. Who took the picture is irrelevant at that point, what it means is ultimately what it is all about.


What is some advice you would give to someone with a dream to be a photographer/videographer?

Immerse yourself technically and artistically so neither side drowns. Remember what Cartier-Bresson said about your first 10,000 photos being your worst and accept that you'll feel lousy about your work a lot of the time because it isn't as good as you want it to be. Stop and breathe at times. Look back at your work from the previous years and see how you've improved. Don't put too much stock in that person on Instagram who has 50k people following them when you can't see why people like them.  It might be they shoot a style you don't like, they are actually awful and have somehow ridden that zeitgeist, or they might have loads of bot followers.  Don't concern yourself with that. Run your own race. I can see that now, but a few years ago I couldn't. Connect with like minded people.  From Stylists to MUAs

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Where can people find you? (social media, website, etc.)
Andrewcliftonbrown.co.uk

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