We had the good fortune of connecting with André Hermann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi André, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Taking a risk, stepping off the edge into the depths of uncertainty is a scary thing. It’s probably the one thing that keeps most from exploring new opportunities, making new art, or meeting new people or starting a business. i understand the fear. If we never ask, if e never make eye contact and walk across the room, never ask what-if and actually act on it, we’ll live haunted by the ghost of not knowing what could have been. Taking risks over the years has helped me to develop tough skin, and make friends with the fear of failure, and rejection. When you experience it enough, it has less control over you. This is a big lesson I share with my students.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Even before I was a professional photographer, I was always interested in telling stories, and helping people. Growing up in the high desert of California, Antelope Valley, I spent a lot of my time photographing abandoned houses, buildings and other detritus I found in the desert. I didn’t realize it at the time, I was developing a historical document of the area that I called home. All of these places would be torn down or weather away to nothing. My photos being the only proof of their existence. Even though I did not like photographing people at that time,m I was creating portraits of the remnants people left behind in these places. This too would help me develop my skill for storytelling and working with people. My vision of a professional future was always changing, yet photography seem to always be there in the background. I just kept carrying a camera everywhere with me and documenting everything. My shyness for photographing people began to morph into a genuine interest to talk to people, leading to my the iphone camera and street photography. One thing that helped me get where I am today is persistence, endurance, and curiosity, and of course taking risks, when I could afford to. Quitting full-time jobs so I could assist and makes photos, and learn, even though it would set me back financially in the beginning.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Sugar Land, Texas. So the greater Houston area is home to me. My best friend is visiting, huh? My best friend then understand how the following relates to who I am and our interests. 1. The Orange Show, and Smither Park next door. (Its just weird, awesome and you’d never know it was there.) 2. Before I quit drinking, (sober for 1.5 years now,) Id take my best friend to Axelrad, and/or The Flying Saucer (ya, I have a plate that’s three rounds deep there.) And/or Saint Arnold’s brewery 3. Houston Arboretum 4. Hermann park to ride the train. 5. MFAH 6. Houston Center For Photography 7. Aki Steak & Sushi (Sugar Land) 8. Discover green park 9. Moon Tower Inn for hot dogs 10. Run the trails in Memorial Park and Buffalo Bayou, and/or Huntsville state park 11. We’d grab our cameras and photograph a few choice abandoned locations. 12. Go to Galveston
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I will always be thankful to the Photographers Ed Kashi who mentored me through photo school. He helped me to realize my vision as a storyteller, and how to capture the human condition with empathy, and respect for my subjects. Also, the masters of photography Irving Penn, and Richard Avedon who inspired me through their use of light, and interaction with their models to tell a deeper story.
Instagram: @shutter_se7en, @andrehermann11, @food_fiend_5
Other: https://transmissionsfromthewastelands.wordpress.com/ https://andrehermann.com/
André J. Hermann