Articulate in the art of video and photography, Howard Gordon is able to capture a raw authenticity you don’t often find in today’s world of commercialism. But what struck me most about Howard was his willingness to share his vulnerabilities, and in our brief conversation, I came to understand that no artist can present what is real until he can accept his own reality.
The Howard Gordon Interview
Hi, Howard. Tell us a bit about you.
I’m an artist from a hick town outside of Toronto, Canada. My father’s a lumberjack and my mother’s a painter. I focus on photography and filmmaking because I didn’t inherit my mom’s ability to draw.
As an artist, my mantra is to follow my enjoyment. If I think something’s interesting, there must be someone else in this wide world that will see the same magic, the same beauty I see.
Any favorite movies that influence you as an artist?
Come and See (1985), and Encino Man (1992) are the biggest influences on both my work and my life. In my mind, one can’t exist without the other.
There is so much honesty, culture, and diversity in your work. What has inspired the style you’ve developed?
That’s more of a compliment than I deserve, as I think I’ve just started cultivating my style, but thank you! In many ways, I feel as if I really just started making art in the last year – at least. That’s when I got serious about photography. It came at a time of change in my life. My girlfriend of eight years was leaving me, my best friend was dying, and I just found out I had testicular cancer.
It was a strange feeling, and a difficult one to place. I thought of the words of one of the old masters who said, “A time comes when you’re all alone, when you’ve come to the end of everything that can happen to you. It’s the end of the world. Even grief, your own grief, doesn’t answer you anymore, and you have to retrace your steps, to go back among people, it makes no difference who. You’re not choosy at times like that, because even to weep you have to go back where everything starts over, back among people.”
… This really stuck with me, and I was compelled to go out and try to connect with strangers, and capture the mundane moments and tiny struggles in a world that I love so much. The people in those photos are dear to me, and every image speaks of their ardent lives, of human achievements and struggles, of their passionate faith in the purpose of life, the truth they believed in, the learning they defended.
…Once I have their photo they become my eternal friends and give me the strength to carry on. Once I have their photo I can know and love them as fellow people. You don’t love those things with reason, with logic, you love them with your innards, with your guts. I’m only a few months into the street photography experiment, but it’s already rewarding, and something I plan to continue. At least until I get punched in the face.