Sometimes a new talent comes along that is so distinctive it shines through with a brightness and intensity that can’t be ignored. Sometimes, as with a prodigy, it shows itself early, and other times takes its own time to develop, evolving a little further down the road.
Aaron Redman is a photographer based in southern California, and an example of an evolving new talent in the visual arts. His work tells the story of someone whose passion for imagery began early and developed steadily over the years. Given a 35mm Ricoh by his Grandfather at the age of twelve, Aaron quickly took to the streets to photograph the world around him. The camera became a constant companion, all the more so when he realized that carrying the camera gave him a free pass from the harassment and bullying that was sometimes visited upon him by the local kids.
“That was my ticket, a way to avoid getting picked on, and also provided a whole new way of looking at the world around me,” he says. So, wherever Aaron went, so did the camera, roaming the expanses of his Orange County neighborhood. The more he explored the more he realized that he has a passion for street photography, chronicling the landscape and lifestyles surrounding his suburban home.
“Things just seemed more visually interesting through the lens of the camera,” Aaron says. “That got my creative juices flowing, and I found out that I could look at a scene and know exactly what I would be able to get from it. I was able to pre-visualize the final result.”
Shooting black & white film about 90% of the time, Aaron also began to develop his skills in the darkroom, which taught him about enhancing a specific image with minimal tools. “I learned how to get the most out of a print and also experimented with point-of-view by using different focal lengths, especially wide angle lenses, and tried things like shooting with the camera sitting right on the ground,” he says.
Aaron was also attracted to shooting local car shows. There he discovered a colorful subculture and the structural beauty inherent in restored classic cars.
“The low riders in the community had put a lot of work into their classic rides and I found I could accentuate the shapes and features of the cars by using different angles to enhance the image I was looking for. It also got me fully into the world of shooting color film, capturing the saturation and depth of the custom paint on those cars.”
With a love of music, especially the blues, Aaron also spent a lot of time at The Blues Café in Long Beach. “That was a great place to study the musicians at work, as it was an old-fashioned blues club with a pool table and a nitty-gritty atmosphere. I’ve got to know a lot of the musicians there and liked to create prints with a visible amount of grain in the image.
”After shooting photos at the club for a number of years, Aaron had what he felt was an almost surreal experience when he drove down Pine Street in Long Beach one day and saw one of his photos being used to promote The Blues Café on every lamppost that lined the street. “That felt pretty great,” he recalls.
Aaron’s roving eye eventually led him to downtown Los Angeles. There he found a constant-changing, almost kaleidoscopic range of subjects and imagery. He was particularly drawn to some of the iconic architectural sites, like the Walt Disney Hall and what Aaron calls “ghost signs,” faded images from previous eras advertising that were faintly showing or “ghosting” on the sides of buildings.
“I like to roam the area between Disney Hall and Angel’s Flight and look for great imagery, and the great thing about that specific area is that even if you frequent the same streets over and over again you will always see something new and interesting. You could shoot forever in downtown Los Angeles and never cover it all.”
Aaron also likes to shoot in the old Theater District and places like Clifton’s Cafeteria. “Some of these places have undergone restoration, which is sometimes unusual in Los Angeles. More times than not, in LA the old is simply demolished and replaced with the new. Many times there is no traditional reverence for some of the older places in the city.”
Part of the character of Aaron’s street photos comes from his personal technique of muting down the color. “By reducing the saturation of colors I think it gives a greater emphasis to the shape and form of the photograph. That’s especially true of the architectural photos. With the current technology it’s easy to manipulate images to get something completely surreal, or even focus on getting a perfectly unique representation of the image. I find that simply by desaturating colors I can get an image that has its impact in the concrete design elements, the shapes of the buildings or a facial expression. Sometimes I show a photograph of something I shot in downtown LA to a friend and they ask me where it was taken. That’s my idea of a successful photograph.”
Beginning with a volume called “This is LA,” Aaron is now embarking on a series of photo books he sees capturing the identities of major American cities, which will be a long- term project, but he also sees himself going in many other directions. His love for Americana may also lead to work capturing disappearing icons, likes the slowly deteriorating places found along American Road, Route 66. He has also recently formed a relationship with our company, Atlantic Publicity, and sees himself using his visionary skills to capture portraits of talents we represent in Los Angeles by incorporating unique background environments. On a recent photo shoot with a young potential actress in downtown LA, Aaron was quick to size up the interesting backdrops, and even brought some provocatively dressed young street punks into the session. “It was a spontaneous way to incorporate the environment and worked out beautifully, ” he adds.
Good things are just beginning to happen for Aaron Redman and the association with Atlantic Publicity is bound to open new doors and send him off in exciting new directions.
I believe Aaron is the most unique and unusual talent I have ever seen in my over 25-year long career. Not only I did grow up with the visual arts, but I see them every day in my work, yet, Aaron’s work is something to reckon with.
Once upon a casual visit to his office that was unrelated to his photography, I saw a number of very engaging, eye-catching, and different-from-the-usual-type of “paintings” hanging on the walls that took my breath away. I could not help but asking: “Who painted these?” Being mesmerized, I continued talking to myself as I marveled at every piece: “They look like Andy Warhol pieces except more interesting, more evolved, detailed, dynamic, and expressive, although the subjects are not always people. I have never seen anything like this.”
“These are my photographs,” said Aaron to my greatest surprise! Photographs? I did not believe it at first, it was too surreal that pictures can be made looking like detailed and expressive, or abstract paintings. I decided right there that we would not stop until Aaron’s work receives recognition around the world. Although coming out with a book is one of our goals, Aaron belongs to the world of cinema, art and culture. He has a unique ability to capturing our artists’ true personalities on camera, but also bringing an old landscape into pure art.
He continues to photograph that which he finds of interest. A true talent, an unprecedented artist, a visionary, an unexpected creative genius with a tremendous dedication to his craft! But even more so with a burning desire to capture the heart of cities, the meaning of architecture, the ghostly whispering of old and abandoned places and the faces of people that show us their souls. Aaron brings a great deal of joy to the world by showing something new to us all in an artistic, yet truly realistic way! He makes us realize that there is much more to life than we have ever noticed or imagined before Aaron Redman opened the lenses of his camera and touched our hearts and souls.
About the Author of This Article: Dame Adrienne Papp is a recognized journalist, economist and feature writer who has written for many publications including Savoir; The Westside Today Publications ; such as Beverly Hills 90210; Malibu Beach; Santa Monica Sun; The Beverly Hills Times; Brentwood News; Bel-Air View ; Celebrity Society ; Celeb Staff ; It Magazine; Chic Today; LA2DAY; West Side Today among many others. She is the President and CEO of Los Angeles / New York-based publicity company, Atlantic Publicity and publishing house, Atlantic Publisher. Adrienne writes about world trends, Quantum Physics, entertainment and interviews celebrities, world leaders, inventors, philanthropists and entrepreneurs. She also owns Atlantic United Films that produces and finances true stories made for theatrical release or the silver screen. Spotlight News Magazine is owned by Atlantic United, Inc. Adrienne Papp is a member of the International Press Academy.
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