Interview Series: Dakota Gordon

When I came to Australia four months ago, I made it my mission to immerse myself in the Australian art scene and bring some of it back to the States. Someone recently asked me which photographers and artists I draw inspiration from with my own work, and at the top of the list lies Sydney-based photographer, Dakota Gordon.

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Having been published in Oyster, Dazed and Confused, Highsnobiety, and PITCH, and frequently shooting for street-wear brands like ONLY, Well Dressed Vandals, and Forty Thieves, her detail-oriented, minimalist aesthetic often featuring a pastel color palate is pleasing to the eye and easily enjoyed by the masses. Not only does she have a sharp eye and natural talent, she also happens to be an utterly fascinating human being with a vast knowledge of music and exceptional taste, so when it came down to picking some Aussie artists to highlight, she was an obvious first choice.

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LF: Hey Dakota! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Let’s start with some basics; who are you and what do you do?

DG: Hi! I’m Dakota, a human from Sydney, Australia. I take photos of people, mountains and animals (whilst getting to feed said animals occasionally as well when I work at the zoo!), attend a lot of shows and listen to A LOT of music.

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LF: So you got into photography by shooting the shows you were going to, then submitting your work to contests – and winning! How did you progress from shooting bands to shooting fashion?

DG: Well, I never really intended to even become a photographer, I just started photographing friends bands when I was really young as a small time hobby, and from that, I had a few friends who were up and coming actors and/or models, so I’d do their portfolio shots and upload them to my blog, which suddenly started to get a lot of traffic and exposure. Brands then started to see my photographs and it slowly evolved from that, social media really played a big part in it all. It’s been a great learning curve for me and I’ve met a lot of incredible/inspiring people through the fashion industry.

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LF: Who’s on your list of people and/or bands you’d like to photograph?

DG: It’s really extensive, but I’ll try and keep it short. Peter Steele would’ve been my ultimate photo dream (RIP), all of Dimmu Borgir, Marilyn Manson, Kylie Jenner (yes, avid Jenner/Kardashian fan, I’ve stopped being naive), Grace Coddington, Gemma Ward, Iggy Pop, Chelsea Wolfe, Kate Moss (the immortal), and anybody who I see who I find to be interesting, I’m intrigued by all sorts of people who come from everywhere.

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LF: You frequent a lot of shows. Top 3 live sets you’ve ever seen?

– Godflesh
– Slipknot (honestly, what a band)
– Swans

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LF: You’re big into traveling and even mentioned potentially moving out of Australia for a while. Where are you hoping to go?

DG: Absolutely, it keeps me sane, even though I have an avid fear of flying. Eventually I’d love to end up in America permanently, it’s like I have a second life there. London is also on the cards for me as well. I feel quite trapped in Australia, it’s an incredible place to live but opportunities are quite limited at times.

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LF: What goals do you have for the future of your career in photography? What would you like to have accomplished in the next 10 years or so?

DG: All I’d like to see myself doing is living comfortably in a place I love, whilst doing what I love. My dreams and aspirations are constantly changing.

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LF:  Who are some photographers and artists who inspire you and/or have been influential to your own work?

DG: A lot. I get tons of inspiration from paintings, mostly Edgar Degas. Photographers would definitely have to be among the likes of Juergen Teller (of course, we use the same camera), Rineke Dijkstra, Jamie Hawkesworth and Alec Soth. I don’t just get inspiration from other peoples photos, my surroundings inspire me just as much.

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LF: When you’re not shooting editorials or shows, how do you spend your time?

DG: I play in nature a lot. I’m lucky to live within such a close proximity of a few incredible national parks which I definitely take advantage of on my days off and/or after work.

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LF: Film or digital? Black & white, or color? What’s your go-to camera?

DG: Film, it’s more honest. I really cannot stand using digital most of the time, I only do so when I have to but it’s a rarity. The battle between black and white vs. colour is a hard one, I definitely almost always shoot colour, but black and white definitely captures the soul. I did a shoot with my friends Liana and Georgia at Joshua Tree National Park whilst I was in America last year and it was the first time I’d used B&W film for the entirety of a shoot, and it captured the exact vibe I was going for. I think it all really depends on that. If you have an idea in your head, just go with it.

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LF: If you could trade lives with any person for one day, who would it be and why?

DG: I’d love to get inside the heads of so many people. Being Adam Darski from Behemoth would be kinda cool, or even Juergen Teller, I’m itching to know how his creative thought processes take place! Actually, Marilyn Manson too, I’d probably just have a conversation with myself in the mirror.

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LF: Best decision you’ve made thus far?

DG: Picking up a camera/discovering Type O Negative (2 answers in 1, I’m a cheat).

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LF: How fast do you live?

DG: Depends what time of the day we’re talking about here!

Instagram: @dk.gordon and @thorscave
tumblr: dakotagordon.tumblr.com

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