JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
JACOB MOOTY: Toasted peanut butter and jam sandwich, with a glass of orange juice.
JC: Any emerging photographers inspiring you at the moment?
JM: Andrew Musson, Randall Phenning and Sofia Torres are a few photographers that I talk with almost daily. Stellar work, they keep me on my toes. It’s almost a friendly rivalry. Every time I think I’ve seen their best, they up the ante. Salva Lopez and Christian Flatscher are both extremely good as well. Their work definitely drives me when I am out in the field.
JC: What is your current project all about?
JM: Way Out West is a project that I started two years ago as assignment in college. I was interested in the mythology of the west. Wide open terrain, empty skylines, and the horizon that’s seamlessly expansive and grand. Something rooted deep within myself. I began to notice strange landmarks and patterns, a lot of which were widely overlooked. I photographed with no real structure, I just let myself move freely. This lead me experiment with lighting. I spend a lot of time tracking the sun and writing notes. As the project expanded, I began to photograph people as well as their landscape. I look back now and see cohesion. It was unconscious but it’s there.
JC: What initially drew you to photography?
JM: I came across photography by chance. My mother wanted me to take a class in college that would be fun, so I took a digital class and hated it. A year later I decided to try my hands in black and white. I was terrible. Even my teacher told me I should think of dropping the class. But I liked the process and kept on going. Needless to say, I can’t separate myself from my camera now.
JC: What has 2011 got in store for you photographically?
JM: I have plans to self publish Way Out West in the coming months. I have also just finished a series called Felsenthal, and may collaborate with another photographer on it. This year will be busy.
JC: What equipment are you using?
JM: I use a Mamiya RZ with a Gossen light meter. My 35mm is a Minolta XG-M.
JC: Why is it important for you to make photographs?
JM: When I was younger, I used to collect things. Coins, rocks, and other objects. Now I collect photographs. Photography helps me cope with the changes that occur naturally. Loss of family or friends. The rapid change of my hometown. In my work and the work of others, I look for connections. I look for fluidity. To tell a story, from an outsiders perspective. It’s such a hard thing to do. I’ve been lucky. Most people I have met are willing to let me into their lives for at least one photograph.
JC: Top 3 photography blogs?
JM: I don’t read many photo blogs but All of This Is Rocket Science is real good.