The Crackerfarm Aesthetic
The formidable husband and wife photography team Crackerfarm creates work that is cutting edge and passion directed in all areas of their domain. The essence of Crackerfarm is their fine art. Whether they are creating commercial work in music portraiture, fashion, music video or fine art photography, their aesthetic framework scaffolds seamlessly.Featured on the Crackerfarm website is an intriguing photo series of masked individuals posed stoically in a variety of settings. It is simultaneously unsettling and humorous. The individual subjects identity is hidden and therefore altered presenting a visual play. The internal identity and branded identity intertwine and form a contextual perception. Other photos juxtapose inanimate objects to construct a forbidden territory of taboo and edgy affectation.
In the field of music, most notable is their photographs and videos of Langhorne Slim and the Avett Brothers that follow both groups journey from grassroots to their rise to the national stage. Producing work out of passion and love has derived superb results. While their photographs are provocative, they also beckon the viewer with their humanity and warmth.
Their more recent entry into the world of music video and music film documentation is a welcome addition. Crackerfarm’s "EPK" of the Avett Brothers is a production that was assembled with snippets from their ongoing full-length documentary. It combines the grainy quality of old reel-to-reel film footage with a warm afterglow seen in vintage Photographs. They lovingly intersperse color shots with black and white without sacrificing the overall sensibility.
Crackerfarm’s more impromptu footage of Langhorne Slim and the Avett Brothers create an authentic moment in time. The viewer doesn’t sense the camera. It is deliberately there to capture. It is what the eye sees from a certain point of view but specifically it is what Crackerfarm sees.
The impact of the Crackerfarm aesthetic will continue to contribute to the world of art and music and broaden our perception with their artistry.
OC Educational background? How did you meet?
CF In Ohio, I went to vocational school for photography my junior and senior years of high school in photography. I moved to New York for college after that. I went to SVA... that's where Mike and I met.
OC In what way does working as collaborative team effect the outcome of your work?
CF We have a very similar aesthetic and similar taste overall...our work might be the same if we made things separately.. but we pretty much collaborate in all ways on all the things that we do make..
OC Does it work more like a collaborative negotiation of sorts?
CF We really like the same things most of the time, but there is always negotiation...making pictures, and now video, is the thing we agree on the easiest in our relationship I think.
OC Is your art photography a separate entity from your music and commercial work?
CF Yes and no..we've always wanted the line to blend between the two and sometimes it starts to blur a little..that's certainly a goal of ours.
OC Does your commercial affiliations whether shooting for Urban Outfitters or going on a music assignment conflict or add to your artistic goals?
CF Commercial work is our bread and butter....we think of photography as both art and commerce..knowing how to take pictures is a trade for us sometimes and a meaningful form of expression other times.
OC It seems to me that people hire you for your aesthetic.
CF Thanks:).. for the most part maybe they do..but we try to work harder than most and to do it with a good attitude too so hopefully that comes across..
OC Are you ever concerned that becoming commercially successful will effect Crackerfarm's artistic goals? Do you take precautions?
CF I would feel happy and fortunate to become successful commercially..it would just allow us more financial freedom to make art or movies...or whatever else, babies?
OC When people hire Crackerfarm, how much control do you have in how your photograghs are represented?
CF Again, it sort of depends on the job.. sometimes we have total control and opportunity to see a project through to the end..other times though, we just take the pictures and whomever hired us does the rest...either way is cool with us..
OC Your music photography and video are presentations are obviously your aesthetic but also create iconic images that represent others. Is that aspect important you? Which comes first?
CF I think it ends up being very collaborative most of the time...we bring a little and they bring a little and when the interaction is harmonious and awesome I feel like that's when the work is at it's best..That's sorta the ideal situation..
OC What brought you to the music of the Avett Brothers and Langhorne Slim? Is this personal and outside of commercial endeavors?
CF We fell in love with Langhorne the first time we saw him perform..He was sharing a bill with Kimya Dawson and Regina Spektor at Tonic..he stole the show in my eyes. They were all great but I remember being entirely blown away by Slim. That was in 2001 or 2002..We met the Avetts because they hired us to do a photo shoot and we hit it off immediately. We went to see them play that night for the first time at The Living Room and were blown away in the same way that we were at that first Slim show..Both the Avetts and Langhorne are like family to us now..In that way it's extremely personal work because we really care about them as people. The work we do with them is as much about having a really good record of this exciting time in all of our lives as it is about photographing them because we have a career as photographers..if that makes sense..
OC Was music always a passion aside from photography?
CF For me it was.my big brother is a musician and since I was a little kid music has been extremely important to me.very cathartic and theraputic...I am not a talented musician however..so I find my ways of expressing my love of music I guess, visually..
OC Langhorne Slim "Rebel Side of Heaven" and the Jamie Lidell "Little Bit Of Feel Good" videos are quite a departure from the videos featured on your site, what does the Crakerfarm team bring to commercial videos, like art direction etc....?
CF We have started to venture into that world of motion pictures and it's exciting..those videos are ones that we conceived with the musicians and everything else we did ourselves.. with some help from an awesome team of course..
OC DIY Ethic, the Internet, offering work for free, do you think it leads to opportunities?
CF Yes indeed..those have all been important elements of our business growth for sure..very important ones..
OC Do you have future goals about video production and directing as it relates to music, and the EPK of Avett Brothers, is there a documentary in the making?
CF Yes we have many projects in the works..we have been shooting an Avett Brothers documentary for over a year now..Our goal is to release it at the same time as their next full length album..dunno exactly when that'll be but we're filming all the while.. We think that this will be an ongoing documentary, the afore mentioned release being the first of a series.
OC Anything I left out that you would like to say?
CF Thank you!!!:)
Avett Brothers sing "For Today"
Langhorne Slim Singing "We love the Animals"
Crackerfarm You Tube Channel