The beauty of Carl W. Heindl’s work is the huge amount of diversity in his images, but he yet manages to maintain a distinctive style. On a regular basis we saw his pictures popping up on shuttercrack, so we knew we were on to something great. We managed to get a few words from him before he and his camera are going into a deep winter sleep.
“I love being in that mode when you have a camera, you start looking at everything in detail, aware of everything around you. I feel so sharp in that state. “
Who’s the person behind the photos?
Just me. I am a 28 year old graphic designer living in Toronto, Canada. I also paint, write and make music.
What got you into photography, and what makes you keep on doing it?
I got into photography because music ran dry, actually. I was going crazy for any kind of artistic outlet, and trying to paint again wasn’t cutting it. I remembered I was fond of photography when I was younger. In highschool they’d cut all the arts funding, and my poor teacher was running a photo lab out of his own pocket. I came back for 2 years after I’d graduated and helped him build computers from parts, and pirated photoshop and stuff. Meant I had my own darkroom for a while. So that, and my father’s old Minolta film SLR were really the root.
I keep doing it because people seem to enjoy what I’m doing. It makes me happy. I love being in that mode when you have a camera, you start looking at everything in detail, aware of everything around you. I feel so sharp in that state. I would love to get into fashion photography, but I really like having full creative control of everything – I even do most of my own styling. So who knows. I just do what feels right.
If we’d like to trade something for a photo you made, what should the CFYE delivery man bring to your door?
Maybe one of those dang t-shirts! And some stickers. What would really be great would be to exchange a print of mine for someone elses I adored. I’ve found so many great photographers through Shuttercrack.
What’s your favorite item to take on the road with you?
Weed, headphones and a bag of cameras.
Something really fun about me:
Umm.. most of my “shoots” are impromptu. I like to start with a very vague idea, or just a mood or a setting. I let the shoot find itself dynamically through the people involved and the place in real time. Is that fun even? It is for me, tapping into some kind of group consciousness to create art.
Best shooting location we should check out?
Just find a good interesting forest, field or body of water.
Tell us about your work as a photographer, did you just picked up a camera and educate yourself?
Basically, yeah. I think this is a great asset. I never learned what you are supposed to do, or not do. I just do whatever looks good to me. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect to float through the profession/hobby, I bought books and versed myself in the theory and history… but I’m still going to always shoot however I feel like shooting. I honestly think school for any art is a big waste of time if you think it’s going to teach you how to be creative. You just have it, or you don’t – school can hone that, but not teach it. Value the history taught, but why would you ever want to pay money to learn how to take pictures or paint like everyone else did?
What’s your camera setup?
I started with a Nikon d50 and a 24mm prime lens. I learned to take really good photos with nothing. I think relying on gimmicks or gear to aid you is stupid (i regret the hell out of my Lens Baby purchase). A camera is just a box that catches light. In the end, the bells and whistles are merely convenience factors – and convenient they are (the more time you have to spend framing a shot instead of fiddling with settings or knobs the better). I’ve since upgraded to a Nikon d700 and the $100 50mm 1.8 prime is what I shoot mostly everything with. I have other lenses that are good and collecting dust, but you don’t need anything else. It’s the prettiest and sharpest lens you can buy. I’m also packing some basic speedlights and a portable umbrella, should I need to toss some more light around.I like having a kit small enough to take anywhere, on my back, on my bicycle.
If you know any of my work, you know that I do emulate the warmth, tones and feel of vintage photography – combined with the sharpness and surgical precision of digital. Lately I’ve bought quite a few old cameras. Smena 8m, Yashica T4-S, Lubitel 166B. My hope is to start combining the many analog cameras with the digital in shoots like I did on my Summer’s End piece.
How does your environment react on you taking your camera everywhere and shooting all the time?
Well, with a big ugly beast like the d700 it was really tough to do candids, or even just lug around with you (because you know there’ll be something amazing when you didn’t bring your camera that day). Which was the main reason I picked up a used Yashica T4-S on ebay for cheap. I bring it everywhere and I don’t care if I drop it.
What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you when you were out shooting photos?
I was meeting two local DJs here for a commissioned promo shoot, and apparently a tornado had just hit somewhere north of here. I was walking to meet them, and the sky just turned this sickly greeny orange and just fucking opened. Everything was soaked in 30 seconds… I said “fuck it, we’re all here – lets use it” we found some shelter and the the shoot came off a lot better with that water.. That’s when I learned to just use any unexpected obstacle to your own benefit, just utilize whatever life throws at you.
Who is your favorite movie/gaming/cartoon character?
I like Pig Pen.
Which artist would you like to work with?
I’m a lone wolf. I work so strangely and unconventionally at this point that I think it’d be near impossible anyway. I can handle collaborations or group collections based on a theme I guess. Some photographers I am very fond of right now are: Bruno Dayan, Noah Kalina, Julia Fullerton-Batten, and Mathew Scott.
If you could fill a swimming pool with something, what would it be?
People & milk.
Favorite city, and coolest thing about it?
Well, I’ve never had enough money to leave the continent to travel – so, from what I’ve seen I’d have to say New York. Because it’s huge, mean, shitty, great and exactly what you’d think it’d be like.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Well, winters here are pretty at first, then get really terrible about 3 months in when the novelty wears off and it’s just cold. There’ll be a few shoots before I give it up and hibernate / finish up work on my first book of photography: OH! THE BRAVE YOUTH! which should be available in a few months through my site (at first) www.eroder.com.