Friday, January 15, 2010


Awakening In The Terminal|Photo Essay by Michael Elmquist

Model|Photographer|Michael Elmquist


Hometown|Aitkin, Minnesota

1. You have been creating and shooting special art projects for quite some time, could you tell us how this creative process began for you?

It began as a simple and quick idea of dressing up two of my friends in sort of gothy/cyber-punk clothes and taking pictures of them. There was virtually no preparation to this, although during the shoot I began forming a story and effectively made a “base” for what I was shooting. That's something that I've kept since then. Each shoot I do is based on a thought-out story. I figure that way—whether the seer gets it or not—there is something to tell and the story does make sense to those who know it. It's those people who the story is for and who can appreciate all of it. Or something.

2. What prompted the creation of this special portfolio? What's the concept/location and why you felt the chosen model was right for this art project?

I respect you as a person, and I like to work with/for people that I respect. I'd like to help people I respect as well. This is true with Joe himself. It was a great pleasure to work with him and I think his innocent exterior adds to the coma-like state of these pictures and the premeditated idea. I suppose that answers why I thought he was right.

3. Could you tell us about your forthcoming project entitled Love Letter? When do you expect to start working on it?

Love Letter is a story that takes a piece of my own ideal and makes it addicted to crack. In less insane words, the idea of Love Letter takes one of my strongest ideals and brings it to one of the highest extremes. I think this volume of intensity shows the story off better. I'll begin working on the demo soon, and it should be done just as soon. After that, I wager I'll begin doing further work in the coming months among other projects.

4. You have recently moved to New York to pursue a career in modeling. What's your view of the Big Apple?

I'm stuck on the idea of being made for this city. I've yet to feel uncomfortable here, and I never think about getting shot or eaten by boss-like rats. That said, I also love the amount of energy here. A tad more than an obscure city in Northern Minnesota.

5. Describe your process in creating these images.

I feel as though I'm bringing something to life that already exists. I believe art is already in us, it's just realizing it. In that sense, I sort of feel like I'm cheating.

6. Is there a filmmaker or photographer that inspires you? If so, whom would that be?

I think most photographers produce boring work, but the film industry really does have some qualities of inspiration. However, neither really “inspires” me as much as music does. I have this annoying affinity of needing to be nearly completely original, so I try to stick to my own creative ideas.

7. A lot of artists are very influenced by the dark, isolated side of life to create their art. Could you define this from your perspective?

Sadness, depression, death, loss, abandonment, love and other emotions of the like are the best ways to discover the truth about things. Someone once said, “Artists use lies to tell the truth.” Stories that photographers and filmmakers usually make are lies. Because they're stories. However, these “lies” can inspire a person about their life and end up teaching them something. The more effective lies—or the darkest ones—are the ones that are the most emotionally stressful.

8. What is your ultimate dream?

What would be your dream project?

I have one. I'd rather not talk about it just yet.

9. If you had to spend a night crashing on the streets of New York, where would you like to be? Why?

Maybe a graveyard. No, not that. Maybe outside a church. Or by a restaurant so I could smell food. Not McDonald's.

10. What is the most reckless thing you have ever done?

My teenage hangout was this hidden place below a railroad bridge going over a river. It was private property for some reason, so I had to escape the cops on occasion. I've led a really dull life in that respect.

Bonus Question: What's your motto in life?

"I'd rather burn up in the stars than decay here on Earth." What that means is that I'd rather aim for the top and fail than sit here and do nothing and die.

AGENTS: Ryan Colby/Earnest Williams
IMAGES: Michael Elmquist/DNA
MODEL: Joe Pesci/Earnest Represents/Models International
COPY EDITOR: Jonathan Shia
Special thanks to Grand Central Terminal, NYC for inspiration, Ryan Colby at Models International, Earnest Williams at Earnest Represents for their support and Michael Elmquist/Joe Pesci and his cousin for staying out late into the night.

All clothing are vintage.

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