Joe Carrow is a cool guy who comes to a lot of the readings in the Bay Area and takes photographs of local weirdos and does it all for the love of it. In this interview we talk about his photo work and an incident he had with a Canadian website and I pretend that I’m not sure who I’m talking to at first for a pathetic attempt at comedy.
Hey, so first question: who are you, what do you do, and how do we know each other?
I’m Joe Carrow. I work as a mechanical engineer by day, and I do more creative things at night to stay sane. I used to play drums before I moved to the Bay area in 2004, but when I got out here I found that all of the apartments were really tiny and I didn’t have a way to keep playing. I loved drums, but my girlfriend at the time needed floor space for her wheelchair and the apartment walls were too thin for so much noise. I started getting pretty serious about photography around 2008, and in 2012 I became the show photographer for Oakland Nights Live.
I was invited to take some pictures at a poetry reading in an abandoned apartment in 2012, where I met you and a few other local poets. I put out a Facebook call of “Who wants to do a shoot?” in 2013 and you wanted to do a shoot, and we’ve been doing photo stuff and going to each others events ever since.
Ah, yeah. I’m remembering now. We did a photo shoot. You’re the guy with the beard holding a camera, right? Yeah, I think you’ve shot the covers for a few of my books or something. What kind of photo work do you like to do? What do you find inspiring?
That’s right! I’m the guy with the beard and camera. I was pursuing competitive beard growth for a while, but eventually it felt ridiculous and I trimmed it off.
The kind of photo work that I like to do is to show people having cool experiences. Really, it’s the look on somebody’s face that does it for me. What’s going on? What are they up to? Who are they? Is something cool happening? I can appreciate and enjoy pictures of landscapes and skies and inanimate objects as well, but I care a lot more about people pictures. I like to catch those candid moments when people aren’t posing, when they’re having a genuine moment. Here are a few favorites: