Live From F*cking Everywhere - Adam Katz Sinding
A wonderer in the truest sense of the word, Adam Katz Sinding is an American-born and Copenhagen-based photographer who has innovated the world of street style documentary while traveling the globe in search of the perfect image.
Before he began photographing the world’s most renowned fashion brands and models, Katz Sinding used to photograph buildings, focusing on architecture. He never stopped documenting the zeitgeist of places all over the globe and his latest book Live From F*cking Everywhere is a compendium of these travels.
Not only did he visit major cities like Paris, Copenhagen, Moscow, Tokyo, Sydney and New York City - he also visited lesser-known places, like Aetofolia, Suva, Pripyat, Riga, and one of his new favorite places, Tbilisi. For his newest book, Adam Katz Sinding captured the contemporary soul of cities in more than 35 countries, making Live From F*cking Everywhere a must-have book for all those who are passionate about travel photography and architecture. We caught up with Adam in Paris as he launched his latest book in partnership with publishers Mendo /
Growing up in California, what do you think were the main attributors to your wanderlust? And why did you end up settling in CPH?
I was born in San Francisco, but I didnt grow up there. I moved to Tacoma, WA when I was around 1 year old. My mom travelled a lot to Norway and Hong Kong for Nike and Helly Hansen where she was a designer. I think the first flight I ever took was to Hong Kong and maybe that scarred me. Now I live in Copenhagen because Copenhagen is wonderful. Beautiful happy people, amazing food, bikes everywhere, a 24-hour metro, and an incredible airport. It's all I need.
Where you always super into outdoor leisure sports like cycling, running and hiking etc. Or was this something that has kicked in later in life?
My dad would disappear on camping trips in the American wilderness for weeks at a time. He'd bring home photos he'd shot on these trips and it was always incredible. He would drag me up mountains and out on the bike. I hated it, but now I love it. Also when I was 15 I hung out at the local bike shop, Northwest Mountain Bike, and annoyed the guys enough that they let me work there in exchange for bike parts. So I have always been into bikes. Running...I was the slowest guy on the XC team. I didnt begin to enjoy running or become good at it until I was 27 and living in Seattle.
“My dad would disappear on camping trips in the American wilderness for weeks at a time. He'd bring home photos he'd shot on these trips and it was always incredible”
Your history in architectural photography stems from before you got involved with Fashion and Street style. How did that transition come about?
I would call my "history" more of a series of shit hobby shots I would take to try to be a "photographer" when I was also a bellman at a hotel in Seattle. Shooting people only came when I did a light test on my friend Karl's face at another friend's shoot. And the photo expressed so much about who he was, I just made a decision. Prior to Karl, my thought process which kept me focussed on inanimate objects was that the world (then) had 6 billion people, so why the fuck would it be interesting to document any of that parasite.
How long did it take to pull this material together? Did you always have the book in mind or was it a case of, hey i have all this material... lets do something?
The first book came first. That was fashion/portraits and was a lot of hard hard work. This book is actually the bi-product of the world tour I did for that prior book! It's photos I shot while I was running around promoting the other book. Meta!
How did the relationship with Mendo come about?
Mendo emailed me saying if I was ever in Amsterdam to let them know and we could have a meeting. I was living in Amsterdam at the time less than 1000m from their offices. I replied saying something to the effect of "How does 3:30 today sound" and they replied "Ok chill, how about next week?".
We recently talked at length about your time in Chernobyl. The stories from that place after the reactor incident are pretty haunting. What did you personally take away from your time there?
Well it's a hard place to photograph as the area is really overgrown and you're not allowed in the buildings (I went in the buildings...it's Ukraine, you can do anything if you pay a little more). It's wild. This place was Utopia. The last Soviet city, zero unemployment and fantastic infrastructure. Then Utopia becomes Dystopia and you have this amazing realisation that all of our "order" can be gone in a blink. But then you see nature take over, and you think that maybe our "order" is actually chaos. It's a strange place. Dark but you see apples growing on trees outside of the abandoned school with the soviet maps and gas masks covering the floors and you see the beauty of it all.
“I just wanted people to LOOK at my photos and see the mood and not just say "OMG, CUTE shoes! Where can I buy?”
What were your top 5 places you visited for this book?
Pripyat (Chernobyl), Kiev, Tinos, Georgia (All of Georgia), and the fucking Grand Canyon, dude. Fuck me up...that place makes you think.
Finally, "Live From F*cking Everywhere”; Knowing you i can hear these worlds coming out of your mouth. What are the origins/connections to that particular word in the titles of your work so far?
Ok so i made a little website in 2007. In 2011 I redid it and I had to put a tagline in the top. My pretentious, wannabe-Euro-self, went with "This is NOT a FUCKING "Street Style Blog"!" because I hated the word "street style" and the banal consumerism it represents. I guess, without knowing, it was a little Duchampian...which is so douchey, but too late. I just wanted people to LOOK at my photos and see the mood and not just say "OMG, CUTE shoes! Where can I buy?"...ugh. Then with all this vulgar awesomeness, I wrote on my Instagram profile "Buy my Fucking Book" and linked to Mendo. "Book my Ass" and linked to my agent. Then, as many people share their current location in their bio, I wrote "Live from Fucking Paris" or wherever I was. So Gunifort at Mendo came to me with the title "Live from Fucking Everywhere" and it sounded pretty fucking "me". Man I use a lot of "".