Interview with Aaron Berger
26-year-old guy from Los Angeles suburbs, currently living in New York City. I have an obsessive personality, with a tendency to get interested in something and then dedicate every waking hour of my life to it. First it was soccer – until I realized I wasn’t ever going to be Steven Gerrard. Then online poker, which I made a living at for several years while living in Thailand. Then videos/filmmaking, and now photography — plus several others along the way that didn’t last. Playing guitar is the only thing I do casually.
The streets, generally — usually Manhattan because I live here and I like how busy it is. Although if I’m in a grocery store, train, restaurant, airplane, car, anywhere; I’m compulsively taking pictures wherever I am. I’d like just as much to be taking pictures in places other than the street, but I don’t have a social life and I don’t seek out unusual circumstances. I’m quite happy to walk outside everyday and react to whatever is there. In fact I prefer mundane context.
Every day during the week, as soon as I wake up and get myself together. Usually from morning till dark. If I find myself outside for any other reason, which is rare if I’m being honest, I’ll have a camera with me then as well. On the weekends I shoot a lot less as I spend time developing film and being with my wife.
I react to whatever interestes me. More often than not, it seems to be people; particularly when they’re moving or something is happening. But I can only give that answer because I’ve seen enough of my pictures now to realize I keep doing that. I don’t have pictures in my head that I try to make. I can say I like spontaneous pictures, pictures that happened, nothing so obviously made or contrived. I want to get out of the way. Snapshot is a fine word to me. I don’t like clever photography, or clever art in any medium really. I like soulful, I like the blues. But it’s difficult, because the blues can get boring very quickly without something uneasy to put it on a knife’s edge. Too easy and familiar is the enemy and I don’t have it down yet. But I figure it’d be boring if I had it all figured out. Better to be overwhelmed by life and constantly hacking away at it. I take plenty of other pictures too – pictures that are still, pictures with no people, pictures that have more empty space – but they’re usually no good. I’m working at it all, trying anything.
Because it fascinates me, but why photography and not something else? I don’t really know. Surely there’s some amount of chance in me stumbling upon photography, but now that I’m here, I’m addicted. Going out and shooting every day has become an escape from my head and an exercise in being present that benefits me. Whatever it is, I get a lot of fulfillment out of being out photographing and then looking at the pictures and then doing it all over again. I’m fascinated by the medium, I’m curious about life, and it’s all just been the right fit.