Through happenstance, I had the amazing opportunity to interview street photographer and existentialist creator Todd Diedrich. What followed in our interview was a conversation that touched on life, creating art, and capturing slices of The Peoples beings. Todd’s style is more of street art, where he snaps slices of real life on the streets of Chicago, IL. He’s worked with some of the best, snapping premiere photos for new comer Chance The Rapper, to having his photography featured in publications VICE Mag, Oyster Mag, Interview Mag, and many more.
Todd took to Kickstarter to help him gather funds to publish his stunning photography book debut ʻLuminous Fluxʼ which was published in the small publishing house, The Perch. You can purchase this book by shooting an email to Todd personally at Todd.Diederich@gmail.com or visit BeOddDieRich for details, below is our interview….enjoy.
WRITTEN BY: JORDAN BAYLOR
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: TODD DIEDERICH
FS: Who Is Todd Diederich?
TD: That, Iʼm not entirely sure of because I feel like Iʼve been TOLD everything of who Todd Diederich is. I feel like Iʼm a creator, an inventor and photography has been one of the crafts I use to speak to people without the use of words. Theyʼre my hieroglyphics.
FS: You feel like photography is your “hieroglyphics”?
TD: Yeah, itʼs a way to speak on a lot of levels. Thereʼs science involved i’m shooting on film. It’s like Alchemy. Their is math figuring out the exposure and there’s a relationship of holding the details of shadow and light. More thought goes into just the exposing of the image and beyond that thereʼs a lot of levels Iʼm functioning on that I donʼt think words can. It all accumulates to the manifestation of my personal magic.
FS: Iʼve seen alot of your work, whether it be on Vice or Oyster Mag, and you have a signature look to your photos. It doesnʼt matter the subject of the photos, youʼve captured them in that moment. What goes through your mind when you prepare for a shoot?
TD: I try to zone out and follow my intuition. If I use too many words to describe what Iʼm going to shoot before I experience it, I often canʼt use my intuition thatʼs speaking to me through the aesthetics of the situation.
Itʼs hard to explain ʻcause sometimes, thereʼs a lot of times when I know why I wanna take the picture, but sometimes if my head does a ʻdouble-takeʼ Iʼll just take the pictures. Even if Iʼm not exactly sure what was there. The universe is channelling through my intuition and telling me to stop and look. If the universe is channelling through my intuition and telling me to stop and look. If itʼs a person maybe I have to stop and talk to them, not everybody wants their picture taken. What people donʼt see is the hours of conversation, or spending time with these people, so a lot of these things can go really deep even though Iʼm not showing that sometimes. I feel like the portraits and pictures of people, they ʻreallyʼ looked at me and I ʻreallyʼ talked to them before the image happened.
FS: Tell me a little bit about your book ʻLuminous Fluxʼ, how did you know that those set of photos were the ones you wanted to publish and see that set of your work?
TD: I was doing ʻToddʼs Peopleʼ with VICE Magazine, and I was doing alot of work that had story-lines interwoven with the images and this book was more a liberated thought process of my work. It was a way to kind of collectively liberate all the images from their stories and maybe Iʼm the only tentacle of the story thatʼs weaving everything together.
A lot of it is taken out of context, so everything that fits in the book is telling an aesthetic story, and thereʼs a small story within there, but thereʼs really no words, until the last page. I donʼt really tell you where the pictures are, and itʼs one hundred percent about the images. They were images that had to be strong that could stand on their own and run with a hundred other pictures.
Itʼs a true photography book in my mind, because itʼs literally about the photography. The cover of the book doesnʼt even have the title on the cover.
FS: I see you had a successful Kickstarter fundraiser, how do you think the internet has empowered the indie artist?
TD: Empowered? I feel like thatʼs a loaded question because we donʼt have access to all of the internet. Itʼs empowering only because theyʼve turned me into a slave. One of the few outlets that I have existing to try to be who Iʼm supposed to be. Itʼs made me realize that Iʼm creating for myself, thatʼs for sure.
I have a power for the time being Iʼm going to create how I wanna create, and itʼs allowed me to be stubborn. Itʼs allowed me to blow up the hologram, and make myself new again, redesign what I was up to.
To blow up the hologram, and make myself new again, redesign what I was up to.
FS: I saw that you shot with Chance The Rapper for a couple of shoots. What was that experience like?
TD: I ended up going on two shoots with him, and definitely glad thereʼs been like a pendulum swing and Iʼm glad someone like him exists. I almost feel like itʼs overdue, I was waiting for some kids in Chicago to be rapping about ACID and stuff like that. I think heʼs a good embodiment of the spirit of Chicago.
FS: With all your work, the subjects the people they constantly differ, but what do you feel is the story of ALL Of your art? What is the story of Todd Diederichʼs photography?
TD: The story is that itʼs a dynamic life, and a dynamic timeline. Using my youth, like ACTUALLY using it, like hit the ground running flash “anymore youth in front of my face” Iʼll f**king steal it.
FS: Thatʼs the story.
TD: Thatʼs the story…
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TODD DIEDERICH