Monet Lucki: Places Through Cameras, Emotions Without Words
Monet Lucki is a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. They hold a BFA in Photography from Parsons the New School of Design. Their work primarily focuses on portraiture and street photography. They have been featured in various publications such as Vogue, Anti Hero Press, T Magazine, Tabula Rasa and more.
How did you get into photography?
My first early memory of discovering photography was when I was about 11 years old at a stay-away camp in Michigan. One day we learned how to make pinhole cameras out of oatmeal boxes. I remember the first time noticing the beauty of light leaks haloing through the trees while I sprinted down the trail searching for the perfect hidden spot to take my first photo. I laid stomach down into the dirt holding the box as still and for as long as I could to make sure the photo wasn’t blurry. I was so focused and mesmerized by the process I could almost feel the light recording onto the photo paper. The anticipation of waiting for a result and the power play between control and lack of control has continued to fulfill me today.
Are there similarities and differences in your process with your own art/portraits vs. commercial editorial work?
I try to crossover techniques applied to personal work into commercial work, but of course there are elements that don’t exist when shooting for myself. Editorial enables me to exaggerate my personal work by pairing with collaborators who elevate the concept further.
How does fashion play into your personal life and aesthetic?
I’ve always used fashion as a form of self-expression reflective of whatever life stage I’m going through. In photography I use fashion as a tool to unveil more information about a person.
Favorite new look you’ve seen lately in your shoots?
I’ve been trying to explore color more which has been really exciting. It creates a whole new visual layer of communication and trying to perfect it could take a lifetime.
What are you working toward?
I’m working towards incorporating patience into my personal work and challenging myself to forfeit deadlines by committing to longer term projects. I would love to complete a book sometime this year as well.
Do you have an ideal gig you’d love to get one day? A dream set you’d love to shoot in?
It would be amazing to shoot a project in a place I’ve yet to explore and to only discover this place through camera.
With the immensity of photographers and photographs in the world and on the internet, what’s your niche, or what do you hope to get across to/through the masses?
This question is tricky for me - most times when I’m creating personal work I don’t have a specific message in mind I’m trying to communicate. It is something more I have to do for myself and if people are inspired by it that’s great. I love portraiture and am in a place where there are endless amounts of interesting people. I am always fascinated by the stories and emotions a person’s face can tell without words.
You have a lot of 35mm and some alternative process work. Do you shoot only on film? What's your set up?
I’ve been shooting strictly film for the past several years, at least for personal and editorial works. I always push to shoot film if clients allows me, but sometimes this can be limited with deadlines and budget constraints. My set up tends to really range dependent on the project.
Does a day go by where you're not completely aware of the light around you?
To be honest no. I’m always studying the light around me and trying to get a better sense of how it functions.
Is there a time period you identify with most in your work and what inspires you?
I don’t know that I identify with a specific period - I do tend to be nostalgic and reminiscent of the past, but when it comes to visual interpretation my inspiration comes from the most random places. I definitely am not constricted to time periods or eras.
What pushes you to keep making work?
If I didn’t want to make work I wouldn’t and that day has yet to come. Hopefully it never will!
What are you reading these days?
I always like to read books on psychology and body language to help inspire my work. I have a huge collection of books in my apartment from mostly stoops and free book piles that I need to get through. But currently I am reading a few from the collection, one fiction book called Dark Roots by Cate Kennedy and another called Privacy in Context by Helen Nissenbaum which discusses technology, surveillance and privacy breach.
What projects are you currently working on and what’s next?
I’m working on a few things at once, as always, but currently I’m preparing for a botanical themed show I’ll be participating in at the end of February hosted at the Living Gallery. I'm also continuing to shoot portraits of subjects I find from a myriad of places for a photo book I’m aiming to produce at the end of this year.