There is something about each of Monty Kaplan’s photographs which look more like a still from a film, rather than a singular moment captured on his camera. The reason for this cinematic quality in his works could be for a number of factors, but the easiest to pinpoint is the photographer’s use of light, which he utilises to add a dark, mysterious and Stranger Things tinge to each frame.
Born in Bueno Aires, Monty’s introduction to photography was actually in filmmaking. “I’ve always been interested in the visual medium,” he tells It’s Nice That. “You could say that photography was always there, dormant, but I actually used to be a filmmaker, which had been my dream ever since I was around seven years old.”
Despite shooting and producing a feature, Monty says his “career in filmmaking never quite took off in the ways I had hoped”. The film, ”turned out to be a complete nightmare,” and so the photographer stepped back from moving image, standing still instead. “I decided I was done with it, the whole thing. I felt creatively and physically exhausted. I was 28 at the time and I’d moved to Miami, which is where my career as a photographer first started.”
Looking back at this career crossroads, Monty explains that really, “as unglamorous as it may sound, what sparked my career was mostly boredom”. With not much work and hating his new home of Miami, Monty would go out for “a very long walk,” each day as to “get my mind off my existential crisis,” he admits. “It eventually became a routine, which eventually led to a pretty massive body of work”.
This routine is evident in Monty’s work, the photographer’s portfolio is perfect for a nosey snooper, displaying a window into suburban life. From behind the lens, Monty explains his interests in the medium lie within “seasons and in different times of day, and I think it’s because at my core, I am interested above all, in change,” he says. “The thing about photography, which helped me so much in my situation, is that it is so immediate and you need little to do it,” says the photographer of his daily walks. “A huge part of my frustration as a filmmaker was that every single time I wanted to shoot something, I depended on so many other people. So many factors, and half of the energy for the project went out the window by the time I’ve managed to gather everything needed. In contrast, all I needed to take photos was my camera in hand, and that was it.”
Going it alone has proved to be the best creative career move for Monty, saying “it wasn’t the first time I showed interest in photography, since I had been taking photos for a long time, but it was the first time I thought to myself, there might be something there beyond a hobby,” and he was certainly right.
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