Q&A - Aidan Cullen | Photographer + Videographer

For those who don't already know, what do you do?
Primarily, I'm a photographer and videographer, but my time is also spent running a clothing brand "AllCity", doing some creative work for some musicians, and I'm about to announce my magazine production company that I started with my friend Quinton and release some projects under that.

Initially, what made you want to get into photography/film?

It was a mixture of a couple of things. I was always interested in cameras and visuals because my dad's a writer/producer/director so I was always around it. I was also very into skating at the time and I was never good at skating so I figured I'd be the film guy of the group. Those two things started my interest and then also at the same time I was super into sports but I was diagnosed with a pretty bad neurological disease so I had to stop playing sports. All of this added up to me taking photo and film more seriously.

What are some things that influenced your style growing up? 
When I was 12 I started interning at Undefeated in Santa Monica. I learned a lot about clothes and shoes there. Being around that streetwear scene, skating, being around stylish people, and living in Santa Monica/Venice my whole life definitely had an influence on my style.

How has being based in Los Angeles impacted you creatively?
It has definitely helped me get my work out there. There are so many talented and important people in LA, you never know who you're going to meet or who will see your work. Building a face card to go along with your work is super important in my opinion. LA is full of opportunities and cool people which has helped me start to expand. 

You often photograph a younger crowd skating or just going around. Can you offer some insight into your creative approach?
My age definitely plays a big part in that. I just turned 18 so a lot of my friends are on the younger side. With that being said though, age is really just a number to me. One day I could be taking pictures of a 12 year old I'm friends with and the next day I could be taking pictures of a 40 year old. In terms of creative approach, when shooting I try to bring out people's character by naturally capturing them in their environments. I'm not very controlling of the subject(s), I prefer to capture what they are already doing rather than telling them what to do.

Who is the most interesting person/group you've worked with and what made them special? 
In terms of companies: Undefeated and Rokit. First of all, I love their products and brand stories. They have also taught me so much and I have met so many amazing people through working with them. In terms of people that inspire me, my friends Nast, Swoosh and Sloan are all very inspiring. They are all very talented musicians. Nast has a sick style and he also turned into a big brother to me. He has put me on to a lot of game and opened up many doors for me. Swoosh has also introduced me to a lot of cool people. He has such a distinguishing personality and look I feel like so many of the photos we take together come out awesome. Sloan's persona is fairly mysterious to the scene and it is fun to work with him because we take a lot of slow shutter photos and things like that to continue his mystery.

Tell us about a time you first learned of an artist and were in awe. 
When I found out about Martha Cooper I was amazed. That time period in New York was so interesting. Also the fact that she's an older woman. shooting crazy kids in the streets is so sick!

What's something you disliked at first, but now are into? 
Clothes. I used to wear whatever I could find in my drawer but now I actually care about how I dress and love clothes.

If an album played while someone was looking at your work what would you want it to be? 
Sampha "Process".

Who else do you think is doing cool stuff in the photo/film world at the moment? 
Dexter Navy, Dan Regan, Places + Face, Illegal Civ, Quinton Dominguez, Chris Skylark, Matt Kaplan, @Zorrs, @Camneh, Kenneth Cappello, Chi Modu, @meltheking, @hidjifilms, @rayscorruptedmind, Julian Klincewicz, Nico Young, Faso, Christian Smiley, Terry Richardson, Josh Klassman, Durimel, Sagan Lockhart, Noah Dillon, Tyler Mitchell, and there's so many more good ones!

If anyone dead or alive could paint a portrait of you who would it be?
Either George Condo or Basquiat.