What was your first shoot?
My first films consist of me walking up to strangers and asking them questions and video-documenting these interactions. I first did this in highschool on trips to New York City. Silly questions like asking people what animal a nearby tree reminded them of. Most people were weirded out, but the people that were open enough to stop and chat really inspired me. I loved hearing their stories and seeing how much humanity can be shared through a simple prompt, listening, and holding emotional space. Fast forward 8 years and this was the inspiration behind my Last Photo Project, an ongoing series where I travel around asking strangers about the last photo on their phone. After talking to hundreds of people across NYC, LA, SF, Alabama, Miami, & London, I became quite good at extracting emotional content from people. I realized my easy-going, sensitive temperament makes for a great interviewer and then learned lots of other tricks about how to get people comfortable to reveal themselves and share their vulnerabilities. People have shared everything from cock shots and booty calls to drug scores and car fires. I am also someone who loves documentaries. I almost exclusively read non-fiction. I believe the ordinary is extraordinary—why would people spend time making something up? This natural progression presented a challenge: Can I take what I’ve learned from doing these quick man on the street style interviews and apply it to a short doc form? And thus, here I am today, with this Jazzsoon piece.
The “Last Photo” project is an ongoing video series where Ivan travels to different cities and asks random strangers about the last photo on their phone. Check out the series and learn more about the project at cashstudios.co.