“During my childhood, I developed a great interest in American scenery from the 80s-90s era. I don’t have a specific director I prefer, it’s more the overall zeitgeist and aesthetics of the scenery, homes and their lifestyle,” photographer Stig De Block tells It’s Nice That. “I mean, who didn’t want to be friends with the kids from Freaks & Geeks or ride around and go for a $5 milkshake with Travolta,” he adds.
Although originally working as a graphic designer, Antwerp-born-and-raised Stig allowed his love of photography to take over his design practice. Now with a client list that includes Wrangler, Herschel Supply Co. and Monki, Stig has developed a photographic style which merges his commercial work and personal work in an aesthetic inspired by 80s and 90s America.
This influence now moulds Stig’s imagery, although doesn’t overwhelm it with nostalgia. It creeps in in touches: a warm glow of sunshine here, a vintage muscle car there. Whether working on a commission or something self-initiated, he pulls on these real-life references to create photographs that feel constructed and palpable at the same time.
Last year, when visiting the Japanese city of Osaka, Stig discovered a new approach to documentary photography which kick-started an ongoing project; the second part of which is now out. Titled 96 Hours in Osaka, the first part of the project was shot over four days and saw Stig capturing the youth of Osaka and the places they inhabit. 48 Hours in LA, follows the same approach and documents a short stay in Los Angeles.
“I drove off early in the morning on Thanksgiving and had the whole city to myself because of the holiday, which gave me the freedom to drive from Silver Lake to South Central and back to Venice through Fairfax and Beverly Hills,” Stig recalls, “I took quick tops and talked to anyone I came across.” It’s these interactions that form the basis of the series which paints a romanticised and fond picture of the famous city, full of the excitement of someone discovering new territory.
Having recently repeated this process in New York City – an instalment which will be released soon – Stig hopes to continue visiting new places with his camera in tow. “Who knows,” he concludes when asked about the future of the project, “maybe I will exhibit it or even self-publish a book.”
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