Creative Showcase

Gregory Malphurs

Artist Gregory Malphurs uses his camera as a tool to make unforgettable images that tell a story from a truly unique perspective. Discover more of Gregory's gutsy work at gregorymalphurs.com

Where are you from originally?

Born in Miami.

You've been a photographer for over 20 years. How did you get your start?

Since I was old enough to pick up a pencil, I've had the urge to create. It's in me. I have always drawn and painted. Professionally, I began in advertising as an art director. At The Richards Group and at Neiman Marcus I spent a lot of time directing photographers and felt drawn to shoot. I wasn't so interested in the technical aspects of photography but more to the camera as a tool to create. Like a brush, or a pen.

How would you characterize your overall style and approach to photography?

My mantra is: images with guts. Every time I make an image I am looking for an idea, a story, I can bring out of the subject. I try to make sure that my images show a completely different perspective: my way of seeing. And because of my past in advertising, I bring a keen design eye to each shot. It seems lofty but I really do strive to make images that are unforgettable.

Penn, Avedon, Warhol. What is it about these artists that you most admire?

Each saw things differently than anyone had before them. They changed the course of our visual language forever. You can see their influence everywhere today in advertising, design, and photography.

You've worked with an impressive array of companies: Coach, Nike, Apple, Levis - just to name a few. Do you prefer to work with big, world-renown brands or do you also enjoy working with smaller labels and lesser-known businesses or individuals?

Big brands are fun because the assignment is usually to create within that established space, but in a new way. But I actually prefer the challenge of smaller projects with less established brand aesthetics. It's more of an opportunity to make a mark - create something totally new.

What experiences have inspired and shaped you the most as a photographer?

I am a photographer, but I think of myself more as an artist. When I was growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. My grandfather was a professional painter for his entire life. That's all he did. This seemed normal to me and made it easy to know that I would be an artist professionally - as a job. It removed a lot of the mental roadblocks I've heard others struggle with when considering art as a career path.

What are some of your favorite books / sites that you draw upon for inspiration?

I like designspiration.net and The Selvedge Yard. But truthfully, I draw inspiration from everywhere. Any tiny thing can spark an idea. As a rule I do not spend time looking at commercial photography, rather I prefer looking at fine art, graphic design and film. I get a lot from gallery hopping and museum shows here in NYC. Paris Photo is always inspiring.

Is there anyone you'd love to collaborate with?

Stephan Sagmeister and David Byrne.

How would you describe your creative process?

Energetic and collaborative. When I jump into a project, I am all in. On it day and night - thinking. I enjoy the process of collaborating with art directors who have vision and are interested in making something great.

What's next in the world of Gregory Malphurs?

I feel a strong urge to move into portraiture and am brewing up some ways to do that.