Interview with Wil Giles

March, 22, 2016


1. Can you remember or describe your first creative experience?

“Inside my mothers womb, listening to Chopin. She loved me so dearly.“

2. At what age did you get interested in photography?

“My father was a doctor, when I was five years old he made an X-ray of my toys in a suitcase and showed me the negative. I was fascinated and a little scared. It stuck in my mind. Then my dad gave me a Brownie and taught me how to work in the darkroom.”

3. Which photographers influenced you?

“I had many influences and I am still being influenced by Shamans, healers and Native Americans.  As a photographer I would say Minor White. I lived with him for a few months, he was the most organized man I ever met. I learned a lot from Gene Smith about photo journalism.”

4. What are you searching for in an image? What do you want to express?

“Everything boils down to the sensitivity to light. You can make anything out of anything when you realize that you are looking at reflected light. Stieglitz coined the term the Equivalent Tradition. Equivalent of a state of mind that I felt about an object.

5. How do you go about taking photographs?

“I have always been communal, but for photography I am a loner. I tell everyone to spread out. I go into particular forces that are around me. Awareness is everything and the degree of awareness.”

6. What is your intention? What do you want the viewer to take away from your images?

“I like to bring people together with my art. Art is such a sharable thing, you spend half the time, focusing what you are seeing, feeling and being and you put yourself into that place of wanting to give it form, but that's just half of it, the other half is sharing it. Having a show and talking about it.

7. What is challenging for you?

“Not being afraid of things I don’t understand. That's all ego. When I photograph I challenge nature. I have been working with Ken Parker and he would have to tie a rope around me just in case. I have known him since he was 14 years old.

8. Do you mentor?

I can see people’s spirit, that’s what makes me a very good teacher. In 1968 I took 29 students to Crete. What a year. Martin Luther King was killed and Robert Kennedy. Not a month goes by that I don’t hear from an old student. Even now with all the publicity I have been given, I still feel like an unknown. And that's cool, I don’t want to particularly be well known because then you put on a facade.”

9. What motivates you? What keeps you inspired?

“I always feel that the next picture will be the best picture I’ve ever taken. Its like I wonder what I see.

10. Among your works, which one is your favorite?  

“I have about 200 images of which I treasure the experience I had taking the picture, but I don’t have a favorite as such, pictures would get jealous. They talk to me!“

11. What are you working on currently?

“Pictures of things I picked up. Found Objects.“

12. What words would you use to describe your photography?

“Miraculous moments of light.”  “Sculpting light onto the picture.”