Originally from Argentina, now based in sunny Miami, photographer Monty Kaplan is all about the details that most people walk straight past. Whether it is the punchy, vibrant colours of Miami by day or the subtle pockets of colour at night, Monty is documenting it all…
Tell us a little bit about yourself; what first inspired you to pick up the camera?
Well, I’ve had an affinity with photography for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until recently that I started to take it seriously. In my teen years, I became more focused on filmmaking and that became my life for a long time. A couple of years ago, I shot my first feature film and, because it was very low budget, it was such an excruciating and exhausting experience. I was mentally and creatively drained so, after that, I needed something that I could just go and do on my own, by myself, for myself. Photography became the answer to my frustration because it is so simple and immediate. There’s an autonomy to it, which is something I appreciate and that goes very well with my personality.
I feel like my mind is blank when I’m out there shooting; I just follow my gut and, if something gets my attention, then I’ll take a photo.
There is a real documentary vibe to your work – but a little surreal at times too; where do you draw your inspiration from?
Oh shit, there are more than a thousand things that inspire me! But I really don’t think too much about that. I feel like my mind is blank when I’m out there shooting; I just follow my gut and, if something gets my attention, then I’ll take a photo. I mean listen, I can give you a snobbish list of names of artists who “inspire” me, but what’s the point? Here’s how it works for me: one day I’ll be looking at pictures from a photographer I like, or re-watching a film or reading a book for the second time, and something will snap in my brain and I’ll go: “Oh damn, this is why I took that picture! This is why I was drawn to it”. You know? Like, I’ll realise, after the fact, that something has inspired me.
How do you keep challenging yourself creatively?
Honestly, I just keep taking pictures every single day. Not a day goes by that I don’t go out to take photos, and sometimes it’s very frustrating because I’ll take maybe up to 60 photos and won’t like any of them, but then number 61 will be a fantastic shot and it’s a little bit like striking gold.
Like, a month ago, I went into this very trashy looking house that I thought was abandoned, and then, in the middle, the owner stepped out from absolute darkness holding a shotgun in his hands. Not a good night at all.
What has been the best piece of advice given to you about your photography?
“Stop half-assing things. Commit 100% or don’t do it at all”.
Are you working on any big projects that you can tell us about?
Right now I’m working on a project called “Eerie Miami” in which I’m trying to document the most fucked up shit about this lovely town. But to be quite honest it’s been hard, because sometimes it gets really dangerous. Like, a month ago, I went into this very trashy looking house that I thought was abandoned, and then, in the middle, the owner stepped out from absolute darkness holding a shotgun in his hands. Not a good night at all.
See more of Monty’s work at:
All images copyright Monty Kaplan.