You saw DJ Harvey playing on Sarcastic Disco parties, you know how Los Angeles looks like in the hot summer nights, you know what kind of records DJ Osamu is collecting. But you never knew who shown you it. We are super happy to present you exclusive interview with Mike Selsky, man behind the legendary Together We Kill blog
Mike what was like your first encounter with the camera?
I remember my dad traded our 1963 Mercury pickup truck for a Nikon EM SLR with a couple of lenses. I was probably 6 years old at the time and was really upset about losing my favorite vehicle. But I still have that camera today, and I’m sure the truck is a pile of rust somewhere. I first started shooting with film point-and-shoots. Then eventually I got into digital. I stole my mom’s Canon Rebel DSLR and went from there. Now, I use a variety of cameras from compact mirror less to medium format rangefinders.
You seem like in the heart of the best party people in the world. Describe your first meeting with Harvey. Because of such environment it seems logical to start fix all these magic moments around you.
Best party people in the world!? Wow, I never thought of it that way. Ha! I met Harvey in Venice Beach. It used to be a small community and we all went out to the same places. We would usually be supporting DJ Osamu at a variety of venues around Los Angeles. That’s how I met Paul T and the whole crew. 2WK started just for fun. It was sort of a photographic journal, and I documented the local nightlife with Osamu. One day, Paul asked me to take some photos at a Sarcastic party and then it became a regular thing.
Are you collecting records?
I don’t really collect records. No. I have so many friends that are extraordinary DJ’s so I leave the record-collecting to them. I do have one turntable, just for listening, but I probably have only 20 records or so. Ha ha. I have been lucky to score some good stuff from the buddies, like Black Cock, Map of Africa, Locussolus, Rub-n-Tug, The Laughing Lights of Plenty, Still Going, C.O.M.B.I. and Don Froth.
Do you have photo or art education?
I went to school for Graphic Design, and I took a few photography classes along the way. I shoot fashion and lifestyle for work.
Who is your icon in the photography?
Lewis Baltz! His photographs really inspire me.
Do you have photos, which still excite your imagination?
Yes, I like going to excursions and creating imagery. Setting up elaborate landscapes, involving columns of fire in the desert or smoke and lasers in the forest. Really working and creating something, not just taking a picture.
Are you the only one contributor on 2wk?
I am the only photographer. For the Sarcastic Parties I have collaborated with Paul T for editing.
Was 2wk your first project? Did you see it as art project?
I suppose it was. I guess I just wanted to document the world around me. I was working as a graphic designer at the time and photography was a nice creative change.
What did blog give you? In different aspects.
The blog helped me make the transition from graphic designer to photographer. As more and more people saw it, eventually some would ask me if I wanted to shoot a lookbook for them or an event etc.
Were you in Europe? What do you think about huge visual difference between American and European city?
Yes, I lived in Holland for a few years. I love Europe. It is old, obviously, and the cities have a really developed infrastructure (especially Holland). Los Angeles is a relatively new city and you can definitely see and feel that. Things just sort of happened quickly without so much planning and there is evident “sprawl”. Also, the light is different here. Every time I come back from Europe or Canada I realize this. It must be the smog!
Do you feel sometimes (on parties) that you wanna be the regular dancer and don’t want to look on others but forget everything and just dance?
Sometimes I am often just dancing with my camera. Lately I have been trying smaller camera & flash combos for this reason. A Nikon D3 with a flash is a heavy piece of equipment to carry around all night! But, I haven’t really found anything that really works as well as a DSLR. Especially with autofocusing in complete darkness.
What is your favorite object to shoot? What is the hardest?
Favorite…landscapes. I like to modify the scene is some way. Hardest? People, especially portraits of people I just met. Getting them to open up or act normal in front of a lens is very difficult, especially because I am not a “people person”.
Did you think about some photo book project? Are you collecting photo/art books (hope it’s correct word)? Your favorites?
I have my fair share of photo books. I just got Helmut Newton’s SUMO. It’s pretty amazing.
Describe your ideal working day.
Breakfast with amazing coffee. Leave LA to shoot location and traffic is flowing. Shooting in the desert / mountains / beach. California is beautiful! Working with good friends / fun people. Thats a wrap! Champagne!
What do excite you despite photography? Your other passions?
I like to travel. I like riding bikes with friends to anywhere with good beer on tap. I just started surfing and I really enjoy it. I have also been going camping a lot with my girlfriend and dog.
Your favorite color?
Are you doing many post production with your photos, what are you using for it?
I do yes. I use Lightroom and sometimes Photoshop to dodge & burn. I do still shoot quite a bit of film. I develop all the Black & White myself and I am really into scanning. I have a large format printer to complete my workflow.
What do you feel the world need today: universal beauty or something experimental, unknown, new forms. I mean what will save the world – beauty or something else?
I think there is a definite battle of good and evil going on in the world. I think people need to believe in love.
What’s your dream, what do you want to achieve?
My dream is to have an extensive underground garage filled with hundreds of exotic sports cars and my own track in my backyard. More realistically, I just want to be happy…and I am. It would be great if I could just make a living by selling prints. Someday!
Thank u man!
Words by Sasha Tessio & Artem Super Ikra.
Cover drawing by Sasha Tessio.