Can you discuss digital vs non-digital photography as it relates to your work?
To me, photography is about the image and not how it's captured or printed. There are still too many "old school" photographers who try to argue film over digital but in the end it doesn't matter. The image is everything.
Who are some of your favorite photographers? Do you consciously try to incorporate some of the features of other photographers into your work or do you try to create your own style. Since, I’m anticipating the latter – what’s the Michael Penn style?
I can get inspiration from many different types of photography but I'm drawn to high contrast, gritty, grainy, dark images. I understand them, I relate to them. As for favorite famous photographers….. Daido Moriyama, W Eugene Smith and William Klein to name a few. I like non-academic photographers who aren't afraid to express themselves in their work.
Would you consider yourself a modernist, anti-modernist, traditionalist, something else?
I think I'm somewhere between Traditionalist and Neo-Expressionist. What I mean by that is I see and photograph a scene and then inject part of me into the photograph, my emotion, how I think I saw it.
Your current projects are Philadelphia and New York. What’s the difference between taking pictures in each city?
New York City or Manhattan is quite a bit bigger than the center city area of Philadelphia. It moves faster and there's always something going on especially at night. Someone once compared photographing in Philadelphia to decaf coffee and Manhattan as a quadruple espresso shot. To me Philadelphia is a lot quieter than New York and it offers me the chance to think a little more before snapping the shot and I think it works out well. In Manhattan you have to use more instinct so you end up with more chaotic photographs which is a perfect match for that city.