Van Styles recently took some time out with Hypebeast to discuss the rapid ascent of his career, his motivations as a photographer, and the pros and cons of Instagram. Growing up in the pre-internet age, Van (AKA Stephen Vanasco) had his views on culture and the world shaped by the skate magazines he would pour through as a teenager. He would get his first of a series of breaks landing a job with Skatetrixxx, an adult video series that merged skateboard video direction with porn.
Since then, his photographic style has expanded to include everything from apparel shoots to cityscapes and as his talent has evolved, so too has the way the medium is used as a means of communication. Van had a lot to say on the topic of photography in a time of vigorous social media use.
“I think it is awesome that it opened the door for a lot of people who would have never discovered that they have an eye photography if not for Instagram and a smartphone. I think it’s rad that it broke down a lot of walls, so that to get noticed now you don’t have go through the traditional channels and wait for the gatekeepers to allow you in. It could take just one amazing photo to get you going and allow you to build on your own.”
Despite a lot of positivity about social media acting as a potential platform for amateur talent, Van also voiced wariness at some of the new potential hazards facing young digital photographers; “Instagram is like a crash course in photography. You have all of these amazing people shooting various types of images allowing someone new to photography to quickly learn how to shoot a portrait or a landscape and also how to process it. The tools are there for people to easily be influenced by another person’s technique, not just processing but also creativity on a shot, which is where some problems lie.”
Check out some of Van’s photography above and peruse the full interview here.