Flavorwire Artist Spotlight: Photographer Zak Krevitt’s Provocative, Gender Binary-Defying Portraits [NSFW]

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I first met photographer Zak Krevitt through a mutual friend a couple of years back, when he was living at Bushwick’s (in)famous McKibbin Lofts. I was immediately taken with his talent for photography, and it’s been fascinating and gratifying to see his career progressing in leaps and bounds since then. As such, he seemed a perfect choice for the first of a new semi-regular series on Flavorwire where we take an in-depth look at the work of an artist whose work we enjoy. (A warning: a couple of the photos are NSFW.)

Photo credit: Zak Krevitt

Krevitt: “The earliest I can remember taking pictures was around four years old, my grandma was getting re-married and they had placed disposable cameras on all the tables. I remember running around and taking all of them and clicking away. I loved the bright flash and watching people all stop and freeze and then go back to rollicking around the room. Something about the energy in the air was intoxicating and I got wrapped up in it.”

Photo credit: Zak Krevitt

“I wouldn’t really revisit photography until around 10th grade when my boyfriend at the time got a DSLR for his birthday. I was fascinated by it and we would spending hours making pictures and trying to teach ourselves about photography. He was a scene kid so getting that perfect MySpace profile pic was really important. We were also going out a lot and decided we should be capturing all of this awesome stuff we were seeing. We would sneak out of the house and go into the city and dance on tables at Tigerheat. The night would end in some super sketchy and debaucherous loft or shady restaurant downtown but we always made it back in time for high school in the morning.”

Photo credit: Zak Krevitt

“We eventually broke up and I got my own camera — a lot of my friends were musicians so I started photographing them and their shows at local gigs. Around the same time I met this queer French artist who had a background in portraiture and we started making these elaborate portraits in my living room, which was under construction at the time. I think our first real portrait involved a six-foot snake and a topless woman and a bunch of flowers and stuff. It was great.”

Photo credit: Zak Krevitt

“We were both really involved in queer activism at the time, too. It was around the time Prop 8 was a thing, and we led all these rallies against it. Some of those got really heated, with kids throwing stuff at our heads and local churches showing up to protest us, it was fucking crazy. Seeing Prop 8 actually get passed was so incredibly upsetting. Really fucked up. I think that really imprinted on me. A lot of my work looks at the queer community, some of it is glorifying, some of it isn’t.”

Photo credit: Zak Krevitt

“My heart is with the LGBTQ community but I also take issue with some of our aggressions against each other and other problems I see. A lot of my work lately has been about Queer Cognitive Dissonance, a term I’ve been using to describe that space in your between created by two opposing forces, dissonant thoughts that come together and create a bubbling middle space. Any photo of mine is never about just one thing, just one emotion or person. It’s about opposing forces, being pulled in an infinite number of directions, sexuality, artifice, love, lust, chaos and control, decontextualizing and decontextualizing images that are simultaneously foreign and familiar, it’s all of this.”

Photo credit: Zak Krevitt

“My work mirrors my life: a lot of images are things that I’m seeing just by existing, and decide to capture with a camera. It works both ways, though: a lot of my portraiture subjects are people I want to get to know, or get to know better, or look at, or see naked, and so photography acts as a lubricant to create social interactions between my subjects and I.”

Photo credit: Zak Krevitt

“Photography has become so ingrained in my life that there really is no distinction anymore between my photographic intentions and my daily life. They’re intertwined and constantly informing each other.”

Photo credit: Zak Krevitt

“Hari was my partner for about a year, 6 months of which I spent in Helsinki Finland. When we were together I was constantly photographing them. Hari’s a performer so it was only natural. The combination of Hari’s natural inclination to live for the applause coupled with an intense and fiery relationship made for some very good photographs.”

Photo credit: Zak Krevitt

“It’s the same with the GIFs, really, I wanted to create something more fluid that could take on a life of its own and better describe certain states of mind or emotional states. I was also really interested in photography’s place on the internet, and the significance of the printed photograph (which, by the way, is very very important), but I wanted to make something that couldn’t be printed, something could truly live on this digital connective tissue. The GIFs of Brennan are all off by a frame or two, which means they fall in and out of sync, coming into the light at different times and sort of striking these chords that sound a bit different each time. I really like this because I felt like a clockmaker, setting something in motion and watching it live on eternally after my hand had been released.”

Photo credit: Zak Krevitt

“On a related note, I created a grant for young artists. I looked around at my peers and thought, ‘Wow, there is so much raw talent here — someone needs to give us a bunch of money and exposure.” I’m working at a creative agency called Two Hustlers and I asked my bosses if I could create a grant. The grant is open to all graduating seniors in NYC, as well as artists that aren’t enrolled in school at all. It’s been so great to see the submissions come in, to set something in motion and see what happens, I love it. If you or anyone you know is eligible tell them to submit five examples of their work to grant@twohustlers.com.”