This is our larry-niehues appreciation post. [We first came across Larry’s photos in DiCE Magazine and those remain some of our favourite shots of Dan.] Much like the American vernacular work of William Eggleston, Larry’s photos make us feel the same way about the beauty of the ordinary world…
“My goal is to give a message, to document and to show that the old America is still present. What my days are about, is to show that these places and people didn’t disappear.”
Niehues’ remarkable road trip series transports us back to a post war America. We caught up with the French born photographer to discuss his work…
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography? I started by taking pictures of my brother’s brand of clothing. I became more precise about what I wanted to photograph and my own style came out of this. I developed an interest in the people in the images I captured and decided it was worth giving it a try as a photographer. When I was 22 I moved to the US from France, searching for a true American road trip adventure.
Where did your interest in the US stem from? My photography is influenced by some of the greatest photographers who have captured the atmosphere of the country’s post war decades: Robert Frank, Dennis Hopper, William Eggleston and Stephen Shore. I’ve always had a passion for America. The road trip, to me, is the best way to explore a country deeply and meet the most interesting characters.
Are there any other photographers who influence other areas of your photography?
Bruce Davidson, Robert Doisneau, Dennis Stock…
Your photographs have a very nostalgic feel to them, did you primarily use film in keeping with documenting the “old America”? I used old Nikon cameras and lenses, as well as expired film stock. From this I managed to produce images with the soft, bleached out, colour-shifted finish that is so evocative of the mid 20th century.
What was your most memorable encounter during your road trip? Randy, an old hippie who decided to live in his trailer in the desert of Slab City,California.
After slogging through the Great White North, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest – with just a *minor* diversion back to the east coast for The Concert for Valor in DC – the fellas are taking a well-earned break before heading out again with St. Vincent in support.