Slamxhype Exclusive | Richard Kern Interview
Richard Kern, presents ‘Shot By Kern’, a frank and up-close documentary with VBS.TV which follows the notorious New York artist and pornographer, best known for his 80s films shot on 16mm, which featured the likes of No Wavers Sonic Youth and Lydia Lunch, as he embarks on a six-country European tour photographing young women in various states of undress and self-love for his worldwide art exhibitions, regularly published books, and features in the pages of Vice magazine.
From a shoot in London’s Royal Parks, to weed-smoking Parisian girls and a Belgian webcam strip, the ultimate outcome is a series that stealthily combines arousal and psychological examination in a heady mix. This intimate and provocative behind-the-scenes film gives a rare insight into Kern’s approach and relationships with his complicit, often adoring models, and will be available to view exclusively on VBS.TV in a number of episodes from 25 May 2010.
We were lucky enough to be one of the chosen few to have the chance to sit down and have a long talk to Richard Kern about the new series, girls, his work and his thoughts on the industry. Alisha Wetherill of SlamxHype had a great time chatting to the photographer who has single handedly changed photography as we know it today, sparking a huge influence over our current industry. Enjoy!
Alisha Wetherill: This latest debut season of Shot By Kern takes place in Europe, do you think you will go on to make other seasons of you shooting in other parts of the world?
Richard Kern: Well that’s what we’ve talked about. I hope there is money for that. That would be fantastic. I would love to do Asia, Russia, or Eastern European countries. We’ve talked about a bunch of things. We’ve talked about sending me to Argentina and a lot of South American places. But who knows, if there’s money we’re going.
A: What is Shot By Kern all about?
R: You’ll see me occasionally, but mostly you’ll see a naked girl walking around. If it has a naked girl walking around in it, is always good content for whatever the media outlet is. That’s why people like to see it. You know? That’s why people like to shoot it. If they shoot me shooting they’ve got to have a naked girl in there somewhere. So that’s always a plus for, I don’t care what the show is. I mean you’ve noticed there is not a lot of me in the actual Shot By Kern stuff.
I generally cast the girls that pretty much. They’re not fashion model-looking girls, they’re generally just regular girls. It’s not a girl you’re going to see in a fashion magazine, in general, it’s more like a real girl. And you get to see a little bit of how they live, and what they think about and all that stuff. There’s a wide variety of the kinds of women doing it. There were some we haven’t used, because they just didn’t work.
A: How do you go about choosing the girls who get to come to castings? How do you go about finding the girls you want to shoot on such short notice when you go to foreign cities?
R: Usually we’ve done a general casting before hand, and then we narrow it down and do another casting the night I arrive, and I go through a few of the girls to see who is going to work for us. There’s really slim pickings sometimes. But at some places, like in Toronto, where we weren’t shooting, but we did a casting, and I had to turn away about three insanely perfect girls. We were shooting four days and I just didn’t have time to shoot everybody there was. That city had a remarkably high ratio of beautiful women to shoot. And when I say beautiful women, I mean the ones we were doing on the show.