An Interview with Robby Cavanaugh

After a recent post about photographer Robby Cavanaugh, we had the opportunity to catch up with him for a follow-up interview. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us, so we've included several more of his expressive photographs along with that interview below.

Can you please give us a brief background about yourself?
I was born in Rancho Cucamonga, CA in 1988, and have always been interested in the arts. I recently graduated as a Graphic Design major from Cal Poly Pomona and want to continue my journey being immersed in art and design. Photography was an art that I came across much later in my life, actually as a sophomore in college. I never took any formal photography classes so I taught myself everything that I know; which really helped me discover my own style.

There seems to be a lot of planning and a strong vision that go into each photograph. What inspires you and what are your influences as you create your images?
A lot inspires me. I tend to create work that resolves conflicts within myself, whether escaping to a world anew, breaking from the norm, or transcending the artificial limits I place upon myself. I am deeply inspired to photograph the soul and manifest it into a tangible form for everyone to see. It is my goal to transcend the reality we all see, to the reality we all feel.

How long does the average shoot take? Do you know the moment you have captured the right shot or does that happen during the editing process?
An average shoot can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on how complex the shoot is, or if there is a lot of room for error. I usually slide through the images I’ve taken and realize that I’ve gotten the shot. It’s only been a couple of times where I’ve changed my mind once the editing process has begun.

How many people does it take to pull off a shoot? Do you always work with assistants?
At most I work with four, mainly because it is usually hard getting everyone together at once. Most of the time it is one or two assistants helping me. Working with assistants always makes a photo shoot go faster and smoother, but sometimes when I’m impatient and I want to shoot right away it is just me and my model.

How much digital processing goes into the final image?
This is always a tricky question. Photoshop is not a dirty word, but it can be. I believe the images you create should all be taken in scene or on location. I am not a fan of juxtaposing images together that are not given to you. Some of my images may be digital composites, which is a combination of multiple exposures into one image that were created on location. I then edit my photographs to closely match the images in my mind, creating specific tones that match the feelings I wish to imbue in the viewer.

Where and how do you choose your subjects?
I tend to work with people that are friends of a friend. Some may be pursuing modeling, others just want to come along for the ride! Sometimes I’ve noticed an interesting look on Facebook, then I would Facebook message that person asking them to be my model, in the least creepiest way possible.

What’s next for you?
Who knows! I want to share my work with the world. Sell prints and sell books. I would love to be represented by a gallery and go to shows and have people “feel” from seeing my work, the same feeling I have gotten from other artists’ work.

What do you love most about being a photographer?
That I can show the world who I am through the images I create. That people can relate to my images and it inspires them.

What words of inspiration can you offer to other artists out there?
Be vulnerable and honest with your work. Don’t be afraid to fail, if you do, you are one step closer to succeeding; take risks! There is only one you in the world, so share your unique visual soul. Tell stories, create dreams and see life through expression.

Any other interesting things that you would like our readers to know about you?
I’m a total nerd at heart and quite approachable so feel free to contact me if you have questions! If you are interested in buying work, visit my website to see prints and contact me 🙂 Enjoy the work I create!

Thanks Robby!
Robby Cavanaugh’s website

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