As you might already know, we love the LA vibe. One person that shares this passion is Mr. Mass. He captured some of our favorite artists. When we got the chance to interview him, we took it.
First off I noticed that your identity is concealed very carefully. Is this on purpose?
Yes indeed it is definitely on purpose. Mostly because I want people to see my work, not my face. It’s also a good way of not having to deal with people asking me if I can take their picture, with some artist, while they wave their smart-phones at me. Being anonymous is such a lovely thing.
Can you reveal a little bit about the man behind the MASS?
No I can’t but who cares anyway?
Do you have a photography education, or are you self-taught?
I am self-taught in everything I do. I rather use instinct than read manuals.
You shoot people for a living, what does your typical day look like?
I shoot people, I do sound engineering, I create mix-tapes, drop parties and shows plus I’m part of the RBMA in France, among other things. So I guess my typical day is: Work, work, work and work some more.
What is your take on photography vs. video?
I’ve noticed that, with the release of the Canon 5D, everyone started to become a director. Most of them have no notion of how to film properly. The 5D is kind of like the Serato for movie directors. I think a good tool doesn’t make you a good photographer or director even though I’m working on a documentary, work in progress.
Your pictures show a lot of attitude, is this a subject you relate to?
As I said before I’m very instinctive, I like to catch the moment. For me it’s not about jerking off to all the technical aspects of a picture. I see a whole lot of super well executed pictures with nothing happening in the frame. A picture to me is a story by itself (or it should be).
When was the last time you cried?
I cry a lot, I’m a sensitive person.
'I shoot people, I do sound engineering, I create mix-tapes, drop parties and shows plus I’m part of the RBMA in France, among other things. So I guess my typical day is: Work, work, work and work some more.'
What would be the greatest thing to achieve with your work?
Being published in a book, Two books… A whole lot of books!
Besides photography, and I guess the music industry, what does inspire you?
You’ve shot some of our favourite artists, how did you come in touch with them? Do you just visit their concerts and take pics, or are you invited / hired?
I have a lot of friends, some of them being promoters. They help me out with getting in touch with artists. When I meet them for the first time, I don’t speak to them and act like a harassing backstage groupie. I get my shots and make sure I get out their way. Afterwards I make sure they get to see the shots. When we meet again, we usually have something to talk about. I than start to build on a work relationship from there. For me it’s easier to shoot an artist I love.
Hard work almost always pays off.
I see you’re doing something of a live experience performance with Asher Roth, can you tell a little more about this project?
Yes we’ve got this project called NO(w) FUTUR with my man DJ SIMSIMA. The idea is to chase the Hip Hop we love. First by doing a mix-tape every two months exclusively with okayplayer. Then we want to make people come and promote the future of Hip Hop.
I’m getting bored of this old cats vs new cats, boom bap was better, Hip Hop is dead, swagg/cloud/trap hipster shit. Internet is a good thing, but you have so many material that people get lost. We want to help and educate those people. With NOwFUTUR we share the love for Hip Hop regardless of fame and followers.
As for the live experience with Asher Roth. He contacted me with the idea of throwing a party in Paris. It fitted the NOwFUTUR concept, so we decided to throw parties to give newcomers a stage.
With everyone being a “photographer” nowadays, how do you make yourself stand out?
My pictures have a strong identity. You can recognize them easily. A lot of people told me to take it down a notch. But why should I? Fuck them (hehe)! Now they are back behind some boring desk at an office. While I get to do what I love. I can say, without bragging, that I work 50 times harder than most of those photobloggers.
You are doing a great job using social media and online services to expose your work. What would your advice be to other photographers on using the web, maybe regarding to sharing and giving credit.
You have to expose your work, it’s All about communication. Becoming a Brand. Show your work in the places that your audience visit. Online this is twitter, tumblr and instagram. Great tools if you use them properly.
BTW, your Tumblr Theme is DOPE.
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made during your work as photographer?
Arriving to a show without a battery in my cam.
Trick question: Who was your favorite person to work with?
Easy: Mos Def and DOOM, but the first one to share my work was Black Milk.
Do you secretly make stockphotos to pay the bills?
Nope! I get hired for what I do. I don’ t do weddings, Bar Mitzvah and stuff like that.
Even though I should and take all their money :-).
Trick question: If someone would give you a shitload of money to make their wedding pictures, with the requirement that they need to be published on the masscorp website, would you do it?
Nope! I don’t work strictly for the money. I consider myself as an artist. Not some ordinary wedding photographer.
What are your plans for the future?
Live happily ever after.
What would you like to add to this interview?
Thanks for having me. It’s always pretty cool to see people you like, being interested in your work. That gives me the energy to keep on going.
One last thing: #Gumballer for life… for you, is it about the cars, or living life in the fast lane?
I don’t have a divers license and I don’t know much about cars except for: “oh this car is NICE!”
I met Maximillion Cooper, Gumball originator, While doing a shooting for EVE in the south of France. He liked the pictures and asked me if I only did stage/live/music pictures. I answered that I’d take pictures of anything as long as i could do it my way. 6 months later he got back at me, and asked me to join Gumball. It was the experience of a lifetime. Very addictive, great people, great cars, great parties, great spots, great f*cking everything! At the end it felt like a family experience. Doing 3000 miles in 5 days with no sleep gets people closer. Regardless of their bank account, status or whatever. It got me totally hooked. So i’ll be a Gumballer for life, that’s for sure.
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