Q&A: Stephen Dirado


Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Meteorology; because weather always happens. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? I always carry a camera of some sort 24/7. My true and embarrassing answer is when I forget to seize photo worthy moments throughout each day. I capture some but most slip right by my eye and camera. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Operating Room Technician. Figure never a dull moment. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. Not so much seen but held onto and hugged: Edward Weston’s photo of Charis Wilson: Nude in Door 1937. How many people can say they hugged an American Masterpiece? A friend had it framed and in his closet next to his fishing gear. Kid you not. When he pulled it out to show me, I hugged it for what seemed to be for hours. TRUE STORY! How often do you take other people’s advice? Daily. I file them away. Describe a personal hell. Locked in white room without windows that is evenly illuminated by florescent lights. Which living person do you most admire? Jim Cantore. He is the coolest weatherman EVER who reports on the site of weather disasters for the US, TV Weather Channel. On what occasion do you lie? I just did in in one of the above questions. Oh, also when I am asked if I go to church. Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? Yes, mine: You are automatically my friend until you prove me wrong. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? Subjecting ourselves to accept the daily consumption of instant coffee.

Are you aware of any conspiracies? Every single one. I just wished those people would drop the word conspiracy and replace it with the words “The Truth!” What is it that interests you about photography? I get to convince strangers to stay still for the camera, where in actuality; I just want them to listen to my problems. What is the worst thing about city life? Nobody talks to one another. So true, right? What part of the planet would you like to explore? Antarctica in the fall. No artist has taken advantage of it. I’d like to be the first. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? Guardian Angels. I must have at least 7; one for each day of the week. Because if I didn’t have them looking over me, I would have been dead a thousand times over by now. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? The actor Steve McQueen. He was smart, cool and didn’t talk much. BUT when he spoke, the world truly listened. I aspire to be even remotely like him. He is my GOD, and my leader! What was the last crime you witnessed? Last night! I witnessed day old pizza being tossed into the trash. What is the best way to educate yourself? Do whatever for the first time that appears to be exciting, do it until it hurts a lot.  Learn from that experience and practice to get it right until it feels good. What is the next book you want to read? Any one of the hundreds of biographies about the lives of mentally ill artists. Ultimate camera? One superglued to my forehead and hardwired into my brain to fire off the shutter. This allows me to keep my hands free to wave around while I talk. Most used camera? My beat to crap 8×10 Phillips View camera. What object do you want? A fishing rod and reel. What object do you need? A discount coupon for fish at the local market.

How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? WAIT! I’m a “somebody” from the late 1950’s! I don’t have to explain it; I am one in billions responsible for creating it. BUT if you mean if I could go back to the 1950’s and tell somebody about the internet. I’d make them first watch the film Forbidden Planet. (Walter Pidgeon is so great in it!) After, talk about how, in the future, we will all be subjected to computers that communicate with all other computers across the globe. And, that anybody who dares participate using one of these trillions of computers, will be subjected to exposing their deepest and darkest secrets hidden within the subconscious mind, unknowingly for the whole world and beyond to see and judge. But also I must explain that the internet will be good: You can work at home using it and meet your future life partner on it (like for example Anne Francis in that movie). And that you can buy good foods, beer and wine and download all kinds of movies… all by the push of a few buttons. AND, you will never have to leave your house for years, maybe decades. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? Yes, I do not exploit it much. I should. I just forget most of the time. Describe a cheap thrill. Belching very loud when I am alone. This always makes me laugh and try for seconds. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. To be in the New York Stock Exchange building during the day of the Great Wall Street Crash of 1929! I imagine some really great portraits could have come about that day. Are impulses more important than consequences? Is that question? Impulse is everything of course. Which talent would you most like to have? Fishing. I suck so bad at it. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Stay alive and laugh a lot but not necessarily in that order.

Stephen DiRado – From the series Bell Pond, a body of documentary work made during the summer of 1983 in the city of Worcester, MA USA.