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Paul Pacey Interview

Who is Paul Pacey? Optimist. Adventurer. Artist. Photographer. Father. He lives in Praha, Czech Republic.
image taken be Paul Pacey

Why do you create photographs?

The distinction may sound like splitting hairs, but ever since I moved this way from more studio­based ambitions, it doesn't feel like I'm creating anything, as much as I am chasing and catching what's already there. I suppose there is art in the interpretation, but unless I've actually constructed an image from nothing, I feel a little uncomfortable taking credit for actually creating it when all I'm really doingis documenting it. But to answer your question about motivation, I'm not really sure what compels me other than to say it just feels natural. I guess it comes from a strange personal concoction of nostalgia, rebellion, curiosity, and simple evolution. Ultimately, I suppose I shoot to remember some of the wonder in this world, perhaps otherwise unseen, and make a small individual contribution to somethingbigger. On a deeper level, I think that I try to shoot life the way I try to live it.

Where do you find inspiration?

Usually about half way. Once I make that mental switch and put my eyes on, it has a tendency of revealing itself, even in the least obvious places. I like playing little games with myself to make it morefun, but by instinct I naturally gravitate towards anything colourful or in motion. For better or worse, I also try to avoid paying much attention to what other people are doing and focus more on what happensorganically.

image taken be Paul Pacey

Which artist's work/life/career are you most jealous of and why (dead or alive)?

I can't really answer that. There are plenty of artists I look up to, but it's not in my nature to think in terms of being jealous of anybody, no matter the fortune or fame. I admire any artist who isn't afraid to defy the conventions of their times and have the guts and voice to redefine the way we look at the game. Painters like Monet, Pollock, and Picasso all come quickly to mind as do photographers like Man Ray, Witkin, and even Newton. I know it sounds crazy, but I've always thought that if they can doit, so can I.

When do your best ideas come to you?

They can come from anywhere, any time, but it seems like the most fruitful times are either when I justwake up in the morning or, more often, in the quiet of night when it feels like the rest of the world is far away or fast asleep. I think I can only turn my brain on after it's already been turned off!

How do you feel when your creativity is truly flowing?

Alive. Connected. Liquid. Euphoric. When I'm in that zone, it truly feels outer­body to me. Beyond the satisfaction of hanging something on a wall or even making a big sale, the fleeting excitement of being in those moments trumps everything and anything else that comes after. Without that charge, the rest ofthe process is simply mechanics.

image taken be Paul Pacey

How do you feel about criticism?

Fortunately or not, that's not something that I've really had to deal with. I'm sure that as long as it is constructive, it can still be a powerfully positive thing. That said, since I will always be my own biggest critic I try not to put too much internal stock into what other people have to say one way or another, whether negative or positive.

Do you keep your camera with you at all times, just in case you find the perfect subject?

I did religiously for years, but not so much since I had my daughter a couple years ago. Besides not having enough hands and attention to go around, it's nice to unplug every now and then just enjoy the moment without trying to hang on to it. In retrospect, however, I would say that I was definitely much more productive when I always had it by my side. Giving that up for my little girl, however, is a small price to pay.

image taken be Paul Pacey

Do you ever have creative blocks? How do you push yourself through?

I'd say most creative blocks are largely self­imposed. Life's many commitments have a way of getting in the way, and unless I actively plan time when I can take the phone off the hook (so to speak), and give my work the time and attention it needs, I would probably be forever blocked. Ironically the question is quite timely. Despite a recent sabbatical from commercial work, I currently find myself humbled daily as fleeting moments of inspiration appear "blocked" behind layers of new tools and new techniques. Re­invention, it seems, does not come without growing pains, but I think there's something to be said for working smarter than working harder. Amazingly, sometimes walking away a little can be more fruitful than trying to push through. I am still trying to answer that one properly, but I'll let you know if I ever do.

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