Influencer: Timothy White

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Regular consort to the likes of Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Kardashians, photographer Timothy White now brings his work to Asia. One of American Photo’s “most important people” and international photographer of the year, White speaks with us about inspiration, travel and bringing his photographic skills to the region.

You grew up in the US, and your Morrison Hotel Galleries are based in New York, LA and Maui. Why did you choose to exhibit your work in Singapore?

I am inspired by the culture and am looking to expand my presence in Asia by spending more time in this area of the world, exhibiting and creating new work. I have formed a new company to exhibit, license, and publish my work throughout the Asian market.

How did your recent visit to the Yang Gallery in Singapore differ from exhibitions in the US?

The gallery style and philosophy fit perfectly with my own artistic sensibilities. I loved the owner and staff, and the opening night was an exciting and dynamic event. The feeling of being in a new city, and presenting my work to a new audience was a wonderful experience. I saw my work through the eyes of a different culture and their perceptions help me look at my work differently too.

Can you explain a little more about your new partnership with private jet and luxury concierge service ASA,  and how this benefited your career in Asia?

My partnership with ASA is a perfect association in which to broaden my audience as we help each other to connect my world in Hollywood with ASA’s clientele worldwide. In some ways, we have the same clients, yet we are already forming new relationships through the work we’re doing together. ASA has introduced me to new clients and I hope to do the same as we grow together.

Your career involves travelling the world for photo shoots; where was your favourite shoot location?

I am such a lucky man to have had the opportunities to travel and work with people everywhere. Picking my favourite would be like picking my favourite subject or photograph or like picking a favourite child! It seems that every new place I experience is so exciting and I’m all about new experiences. My trip to Thailand in March was amazing; ASA brought me to beautiful and unique places and introduced me to a great group of people. I guess that was my favourite location… until the next!

 
 
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You live in LA and travel regularly for work; what are your travel essentials?

I am a partner in a gallery that has three locations: NY, LA, and Maui. I travel to check on my galleries and to do work there almost every month. Whether it’s my regular gallery trips, or to other exotic and new locations for photo shoots, I always pack my favourite pair of beat up work boots and a camera of course.

What camera do you shoot with? 

I shoot primarily with a Hasselblad H4 and I love shooting with my iPhone, but I also shoot with a Canon 5D professionally.

You’ve worked with the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Harrison Ford and the Kardashians. Do you have a favourite subject?

Each portrait experience brings a new circumstance and begins a new relationship. The three subjects you mentioned are so different and unique and also many years apart. However, I remember the details of each day as if it were yesterday. That’s the wonderful part of my job; the experiences are so rich that every day is memorable and different. Having developing relationships with certain celebrities definitely makes for a better time and a usually a better photograph because we already know each other and want to collaborate again.

Even though you’ve worked with huge celebrities for years, do you ever feel star struck? 

No, I never get star struck. I do get butterflies in anticipation before every shoot. I’m comfortable with what I do, but I get excited about meeting someone new and collaborating with them to make a great picture.

Do you have lasting friendships with any particular celebs you’ve photographed?

Yes, I’ve developed long term relationships with many of my subjects, including Whoopi Goldberg, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Billy Bob Thornton to mention just a few. Having that relationship and having worked together before allows for us both to relax. The comfort level precipitates a better collaboration and usually allows me more time with my subject.

You were named Lucie Award’s International Photographer of the Year; what would you say has been your secret to success?

The secret to any success is passion. I love what I do and I try to be present and appreciate every day. I put as much into my work as to anything else I do in life. Working hard at something because you love doing it will always bring success in some form.

 
 
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What future projects can we expect? 

I certainly want to exhibit and shoot more in Asia. I’d actually like to work on a philanthropic project in Asia where I spend time over multiple trips photographing people in need and where my work can bring awareness to their cause. I’d then like to create a museum exhibition of the portfolio to present that work to a broad audience. I believe that by showing or exposing a societal need seen through my eyes and my lens, I can bring awareness to the cause and allow people to look at themselves differently and possibly that experience will inspire them to help others.

I’m also currently working on a memoir about what I’ve learned in life and another photo book. Between shooting pictures, exhibiting my work, my galleries, and even my non-working moments riding motorcycles… I keep very busy.

What motorbike do you ride? 

I own four motorcycles: a 1976 Triumph, a 1971 Harley Davidson FLH, a new Harley Davidson V-Rod, and a custom chopper built by a friend of mine that is very special to me. I ride every day in Los Angeles. The traffic is intense and it allows me to move around town quicker and it’s more fun. I also do long trips around the US and ride whenever and wherever I can.

Lastly, what advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?

Work hard. Don’t do what you think others want, do what you feel and do it your way. Be open to all experiences and be present in the moment. Spread as much love as you can… and get plenty of rest.

 
 

Society, InfluencersFred Kirby