Photogenic Presents, Episode 3: Billy Cress (@billycress)
To celebrate the launch of our brand new Photogenic x Billy Cress line, we sat down with Billy himself for the latest installment in our Photogenic Presents Interview Series. We talked about how he got started in photography, his favorite place to shoot in Philly, and a whole lot more. Read on to find out...
What was your first camera?
My first camera was a 90's Nikon film camera back in high school. I'm unsure of the model. It was my parents' camera that I used for my darkroom photo classes. I shot entirely in black and white since that was what we developed. I loved that process and miss it a lot. Developing the negatives, printing the photos, and critique.
Describe your style of photography in three words
I always find it difficult coming up with words for my work. Photos speak for themselves - that's what I do when I take pictures. Here's the best I could come up with:
If you could be a world-famous X photographer, what would X be?
Fine Art Photographer. There are really great fashion photographers, photojournalists, documentary photographers, etc. but at the core of what I love about it is always going to be making art. So much of my inspiration is derived from the first fine art color photographers like Stephen Shore and William Eggleston.
What’s your favorite less-known place to shoot in Philadelphia?
I enjoy shooting in the rougher neighborhoods in Philly for a few reasons. There is always something very interesting in terms of color or texture or personality in these places. Another reason is to show people that the rundown neighborhoods here aren't always what the media and news make them seem. These communities are beautiful and filled with people who really care about their neighborhoods. At the same time I think it's important to show through pictures that these communities are in need of help and shouldn't be left behind. A few favorites are Fairhill and Kingsessing.
What specifically is it about photography that you’re so passionate about?
For me, it's a very personal, therapeutic activity. I enjoy going out with friends and taking pictures but I'll always prefer going out on my own, just me and a camera and detaching for a while. It helps me forget everyday stress for a bit. In another way, it helps me make sense of the world around me. I get to be weird for a little while, and I think that's always good to do.
Weird is definitely good. What’s your favorite TogTees design?
I like them all! The Philly Home Portrait design is kind of surreal to see as it started as a small Instagram project. (Editor's note: this one's coming very soon!)
Name 3 photographers you would give a TogTee to.
Thanks so much Billy! You look pretty fly in that 1980's Tee... ;)
Editor's Note: From 2016-2021, Photogenic Supply was called TogTees. We changed our name in mid-2021, but you might still occasionally see our old name on our website. We're still the same people :)