Greg Miller (www.gregmiller.com) (b. 1967, Nashville, Tennessee) is an American fine art photographer and Guggenheim Fellow who uses the serendipity of chance meetings with strangers and large format street photography to build insightful, narrative photographs. Miller’s work has been seen in several solo shows in Los Angeles, Barcelona and the Cheekwood Museum in Nashville, TN as well as group exhibits in New York City, including Yossi Milo, James Danziger and Sasha Wolf Galleries. His work has appeared regularly in advertising and magazines including TIME, Esquire, Fast Company, LIFE and many other publications.
LACP Interviews Greg Miller
LACP asks Greg Miller ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography.
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
Greg Miller: I am a people photographer. I am really just interested in human beings. I don’t like the labels of documentary or fine art. I am really just a photographer in the end.
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
GM: I started photographing 30 years ago. I went to School of Visual Arts in NYC and started making money photographing for magazines and newspapers. I thrived working as a freelancer moving from assignment to assignment, but I found that commercial photography was only partly satisfying and pursued my personal photography. That has made all the difference.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
GM: I received a BFA in photography at the School of Visual Arts. After that I taught myself how to work with an 8×10 camera photographing people on the streets of New York. I have been working with that camera ever since. That was 23 years ago.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
GM: I worked for a photographer when I was in high school. I learned a lot from him and it was during that time that I realized that I wanted to be a photographer. When I came to New York I was fortunate to start making money to survive while I was still in college and was able to stay in New York after.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
GM: Yes, many times, but I am not good at anything else. There is no plan B.
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
GM: From the moment you buy your first camera you are making a sacrifice. You bought that instead of something else. When you are younger your sacrifices are your own. You might give up certain luxuries so that you can do your work. But as you get older, I’m 51 now and married with children, your sacrifices begin to affect others.
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
GM: I have spent my life talking to and photographing people on the street and around the world for 30 years. This has been the richest life. The benefits far outweigh the obstacles.
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
GM: Photoshop for the Analog Photographer.
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
GM: I have learned a lot over the years and I remember how I learned myself. This has helped me to patiently teach others.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
GM: Making a living in photography these days requires a lot of self discipline. No one is going to tell you to make your own pictures. It also requires money. This money may or may not come from your photography. Until people pay you tens of thousands of dollars for your personal photography, chances are, whatever you do to make money will require time away from your personal photography. It is during this time, whether an hour or a year, you must keep the faith that you are living your life as a photographer.