Photographer, Andrew B. Myers, grew up in a small rural town in Ontario, Canada, that he humorously describes as, "occasionally smelling like horse manure in the springtime when the wind’s currents were just right." Now that he's based in New York City, whenever he returns home to Canada he finds it: "Disturbingly clean and I detect the accents more. Our money is also delightfully colorful." And it's this humorous, self-depreciating and, frankly, quite charming (in a bold, non-saccharin way) view that he also brings to his photography work, whether that be for a major international brand, such as American Express, Airbnb and Google, or a world-renowned publication such as Time, GQ or The New Yorker.
"I wouldn't call myself all that prolific as I stick to certain sparse ideas and try to carry them through, occasionally forgetting about them or misplacing lists of things I want to try," he tells Yatzer in what we've come to realize is his characteristically humble view of his work. It's true that a quick overview will reveal that there is a very definite, linear thread running through his photographs and that is what makes them so recognizable as being his. "I enjoy arranging things the way I’d want to look at them, so I suppose I share certain visual sensibilities with others," Andrew says.
These "visual sensibilities" include clean lines, diagonal compositions, bold predominant colors, and groupings of smaller objects according to either a common theme or multiplications of the same object. Another trend in his photos is that there is a great deal more to them than meets the eye.
Take, for example, the photo of a hamster on a bold blue, seamless background posing like a "business man" which he shot for Bloomberg Business Week, complete with hamster-sized office (think desk, chair and tiny computer) set up beside the hamster's running wheel. Is Andrew perhaps saying something about the daily grind office workers face? Or looking at the image of a toy tank that just ran over a paper imprinted with the international © (copyright symbol) which Andrew shot for Wired… is he perhaps, with this photo, referencing the multitude of broken copyright laws worldwide?
"My work brings two sides of my personality together. One being a genial and carefree one, full of banter and a silly sense of humor, another being quiet, reflective and serious," Andrew says. "One of the remarkable things about photography that still tickles me is the sheer volume of different ways you can approach the medium or use it for different purposes." We discovered that Andrew's artistic background lies in drawing and illustration —after high school he graduated from art school in Toronto— and that his attitudes towards these mediums are still what he leans on in his photography work, including his painstaking builds and slow realizations.
"I’m fairly secretive with my work," he says. "I like to stockpile imagery in folders and take pictures with my phone. It’s really about a slow build up to an execution of something and it does take time. Most of the inspirations are from pieces of things or moments I’ve recorded that I can recreate." To illustrate, he tells us about a recent re-visit he took to a certain downtown city block in Los Angeles "with a real camera" for the purpose of recreating an image he had captured with his phone last year.
"I tend to approach making a photograph from a design perspective," he says when we ask how he came up with his graphic photography style. "Referring to myself as a photographer still feels funny because I’m not sure how well that fits in my head," he goes on to say, admitting that he's always liked visual categorizations and diagrams. "I appreciate control … as the rest of my life tends to be more disorganized, as people who know me could tell you. My mind tends to be naturally scattered. I've thought about this a lot and it’s my best guess as to why I make such clean and organized work. My eyes seem to crave a sense of order."
Moving from still imagery into video production seems to be the "appropriate next step" for Andrew's work… although there is always his back-up plan. "A long term fantasy I have is to move to the mountains and paint," he says (hopefully) jesting. "I also think it would be funny to totally reverse things and bring my approach to making landscape or documenting something more serious. I wonder how this could play out?"
Our guess is that this too would be revealed through a humorous, linear and bold lens.