We had the good fortune of connecting with Drew Carolan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Drew, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
The youth of  today inspire me since they have boundless uninhibited creative energy. With them there is no looking back only forward.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I am a people person. I vibe off the energy that people put out. My extensive experience in production it made it easy for me to work with all kinds of people and situations. I started my career in commercial production as a PA and quickly moved into still photographs which was my background. From there I shot a bunch of indie films and television specials. Along the way I was shooting fashion photographs, testing models and building a portfolio. I was assisting fashion photographers so fashion oriented imagery was a natural course. I was fortunate to work with the best in the business in the early to mid 80’s so I learned a lot from them and they were very encouraging when it came to my own work.

My interest in music photography began in the 70’s. I would go to shows and shoot the acts. I began shooting portraits and bands for magazines like Interview and SPIN in the 80’s. The music photography parlayed into directing music videos for up and coming bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, Ziggy Marley and Living Colour. When MTV was at its height of broadcasting it gave filmmakers like myself an opportunity to experiment with different techniques and points of view. It was basically a big playground where we could make a mess in.

As a photographer and filmmaker I have always taken on projects that interest me. Whether it’s shooting stills on an Indie film or decisive moments in everyday life. There has to be a challenge and the ability to move freely within the parameters of the project. I’ve found shooting stills on a movie very gratifying in the sense that you have the opportunity to step back and take a look at the big picture or get in close. The key here is to not be seen and certainly not heard. Again my background in production and knowing how the whole movie making process works taught me how to get the picture without getting in the way. When someone comments that they don’t remember seeing me there, that’s a compliment and I know I’ve done my job.

I have been fortunate to be given the opportunity to pick and choose the projects that I want to work on and to what capacity. There has to be passion that’s rule number one.

As a producer I worked on David Lachapelle‘s RIZE documentary because he was so passionate about making this film about these kids from South-Central who wanted to create an alternative to gangs. That kind of passion is infectious and when he came to me and asked me to help him I was all in. When you work on a documentary like RIZE you have to be ready to go at any given moment. It’s a challenge that you have to be up for.

When Actor/Director Matt Dillon wanted to make a documentary on EL GRAN FELLOVE, the Cuban scat singer in Mexico City he asked me to produce the project which shot in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Matt loved the music so much and he was so passionate about this unsung hero and telling the story that I had to sign on. It was a labor of love and to see it come to fruition was very satisfying. The key is to believe in the project. Once I believe in it then I’m all in.

I enjoy collaborating. Filmmaking is just that. You are only as good as the people who you work with. I enjoy working with creative people whether it’s a young director or a designer. The process of making something is very gratifying. The sharing of concepts and building a project is always a rewarding challenge. Some of my archival work was the centerpiece for a 30th anniversary box set of rappers Eric B & Rakim’s legendary music. While working on that project the same work was featured in a book called Contact High A Visual History of Hip Hop. That book which came out in 2018 became a traveling show which started at the Annenberg Center for Photography in Century City. Since then it has traveled to New York and Dubai.

In 2017 I worked with Al Quattrocchi and Jeff Smith at Tornado Creative here in LA to design a book of my photographs entitled MATINEE All Ages on the Bowery. I created this collection of portraits in the 1980’s. The book coincided with a photo exhibition of the work at the Helms Design Center in Culver City.

My archival work had been utilized for books, films and advertising. Gucci and fashion designer Dapper Dan joined forces in 2019 and Gucci licensed my Eric B & Rakim and LL Cool J images to promote the new brand. My photographs featured the rappers in custom Dapper Dan outfits. Subsequently Dapper Dan used some those images for his autobiography Dapper Dan MADE IN HARLEM. The CBS television series Elementary showcased black and white photographs from an early 1980’s series on Coney Island and outtakes from a story on the band Crowded House for Spin magazine.

In 2020 I spent the better part of a year making portraits of construction workers as SOFI stadium was being built. When the pandemic hit and everyone was forced to wear masks I focused on the individuals sense of style and identity. The stadium itself is an incredible piece of architecture and the men and women who helped build it should be lauded.

Currently I am working on two photography books. BEYOND W. 4th STREET is a photographic diary of my travels in the Western part of the United States while working with Richard Avedon during the making of his seminal book IN THE AMERICAN WEST (1985). The second book NATIVE EYE is a collection of my personal photographic observations growing up in New York city in the late twentieth century.

I am also producing an autobiographical music based scripted television series based on the book Rock and Roll Victims: A Band Called “Death”.

Additionally I am producing a documentary film FUN GALLERY which is about underground film star Patti Astor and her groundbreaking art gallery in New York’s East Village in the early 1980’s. It was the home to future stars Kieth Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Fab 5 Freddy and countless others who began their careers as graffiti artists.

My fine art photography can be seen at Fathom Gallery here in Los Angeles. https://www.fathom.gallery

I like to keep busy.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

Kustaa in Mar Vista is a place I bring friends and clients for lunch. Tina and Yon combine their Basque and French backgrounds to create a European cafe style wine and cheese shop. Amazing selections of cheeses, sandwiches, salads and fresh baguettes. Yon’s sommelier background offers amazing local and imported wines.

After lunch we would head south the Hermosa Beach pier. A stroll and perhaps a dip in the ocean. Hermosa Beach is one of the last surf towns where you can walk around, shop and chill. A drink at the famous Lighthouse Cafe is a must. The home to jazz and eclectic mix of music since 1949. A gem of a place and the photos on the wall tell the story of this amazing venue.

If we want to head north it would be up along PCH to Malibu and beyond to Leo Carrillo State beach. A hike along the coast and check out the caves and tide pools. After that it’s a quick jaunt up to County Line to Neptune’s Net for some Calamari and other fresh fish. Walk across the street and watch the surfers riding the waves as they roll in.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

Kustaa in Mar Vista is a place I bring friends and clients for lunch. Tina and Yon combine their Basque and French backgrounds to create a European cafe style wine and cheese shop. Amazing selections of cheeses, sandwiches, salads and fish baguettes. Yon’s sommelier background offers amazing local and imported wines.

After lunch we would head south the Hermosa Beach pier. A stroll and perhaps a dip in the ocean. Hermosa Beach is one of the last surf towns where you can walk around, shop and chill. A drink at the famous Lighthouse Cafe is a must. The home to jazz and eclectic mix of music since 1949. A gem of a place and the photos on the wall tell the story of this amazing venue.

If we want to head north it would be up along PCH to Malibu and beyond to Leo Carrillo State beach. A hike along the coast and check out the caves and tide pools. After that it’s a quick jaunt up to County Line to Neptune’s Net for some Calamari and other fresh fish. Walk across the street and watch the surfers riding the waves as they roll in.

Website: www.drewcarolan.com www.matineephotos.com

Instagram: fotoproof & matineephotobook

Facebook: drewcarolan

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.