Documenting Everyday Activities - Interview with Stevie Bay

Pablo de Pinho: You are always traveling and exploring somewhere new. Is there such thing as a normal day for you?

Stevie Bay: Since I left my last job last spring, I’ve had much more time to shoot photos. A normal day for me is waking up too late for breakfast, going out to take photos and editing them at night. Exploring new and old areas always keeps me busy and on my feet. There’s always new places and faces to take photos of everyday.

You are a very well rounded photographer, you take portraits of friends, candid photos of strangers, sunset, railroads, trains, buildings, graffiti, concerts; how does everything tie in together?

Thanks! My photos reflect my life. Documenting my everyday activities with my cameras is daily routine. Whether it’s with my friends, exploring tunnels, documenting graff, benching trains or exploring different parts of the world, all my photos reflect my passion for capturing in the moment shots.

When did you begin taking photography seriously?

There has always been a point and shoot film cam somewhere in the mix during family events as a young child. My parents also used to buy disposable cameras from Thrifty’s and Walgreen’s. I messed with those cameras as a child but never took photography serious until I graduated from high school. I got my first Sony Cyber-shot for my birthday…or Christmas in 2003. After my first digital camera, I started looking into DSLR cameras. I purchased my first Nikon D40 after I graduated from high school. After buying my first DSLR, I started getting more serious about it.

Who are some photographers that inspire your work? Who are some other artists outside of photography that inspire you?

My friends and family are my number one inspirations. I am blessed to be surrounded by so much talent. Anything creative inspires me to create. I am inspired by the photography work of my girlfriend, Nick B, Salvador One, Lorena Xvda and Bruce Davidson. Outside of photography… I really dig your black and white ink work, Other, Labrona, Brako and a bunch of other talented artists out there. There are too many to list.

How was the experience of hopping your first train and where did you go? What was the furthest you’ve ever been on a train?

Riding by freight train is deadly and dangerous. Ignorance will get a person killed. My first ride was actually really chill. I’ve ridden up and down Central Coast, Northern Cali and Central Valley. I like to see views I don’t get to see so often. I don’t encourage anyone to ride freight. Stay on Amtrak kids.

Even though you are based in the Bay Area, your photography shows me that there is a whole different world out there than the city I am accustomed to. You are exploring a subject matter that is foreign to most city people.

I like exploring places most people find dirty, unsanitary and dangerous. It isn’t an adventure without risk.

You’re camera style is hard to describe, since you shoot different subject matters and shoot with both film and digital. But the style is still very apparent every time I see it. Do you have a favorite camera? I know you like to use an awesome medium format camera. Is there any cameras you like to avoid?

I love both digital and film format cameras. If I had more money, I would probably use my film cameras much more than I do right now. I don’t really have a favorite camera though… each camera has it’s qualities. Yes! I love my Bronica medium format! The limitation of shooting only 12 shots per roll helps me slow down and compose images more carefully.

Recently you’ve been shooting in Canada. How was the experience? What city did you go? Can you find similarities between over there and San Francisco, and LA?

I traveled to Vancouver, Canada with my girlfriend a few months back. The trip was beautiful, picturesque and freezing cold! We Bay Area people have it so good with our beautiful California weather. The cold and snow didn’t stop us from exploring though. Downtown Vancouver reminded me of Seattle and San Francisco. There are many different types of people and ways of life. The homeless, poor, middle and upper classes all mix together making it a large and adventurous metropolis. The air is very fresh, compared to cities like LA. We stayed in the downtown east side area and some of those areas reminded me of the Tenderloin… so it made me feel a bit at home.
You plan to go to the East coast soon, where to?

I hope! This summer, my girlfriend and I have plans to head to Arizona, Texas and new Mexico…then head up to Ohio to see my friends! From Ohio, we might head to Chicago and New York. I can’t say too much about it though… It’s still a bit far from now.