We had the good fortune of connecting with Greg Hatton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Greg, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Peace everybody, risk is something that we encounter at every step in life; sometimes we don’t even realize it. The interesting piece is that we mainly associate risk with something big, or something upon which failure will have a very negative consequence of some sort. But risk exists on every level of our decision making process. When you think about it like that, we start to find parallels in our smaller decision making all the way through to our bigger decisions. There’s magic in that — and responsibility. When we break down our innate process of learning, understanding and application, we start to see ways to alleviate the common stressors or associated fears that come with the idea of “risk”. All of a sudden, we’re no longer taking chances. We’re just in the game.
Sadly it’s not that easy for most of us. Also, that factis often manipulated for the wrong reasons by individuals far more often than it should be.
Those are symptoms of fear. We’re almost bred to believe in the doom of failure. So risk can take on a very unrealistic appearance, even if the task at hand is something you’re very confident in. Ask the artist who’s scared to show their work, or even talk about it for fear of rejection. Or a person going against what they believe because the group suggests something different.
I was that person for many years. I’m sure you know people like that too; you might be one yourself.
Over time risk became a marker for me to push myself past the comfort zone; to see what’s on the other side. To talk to people I wouldn’t usually, to try new foods, see different things, challenge my own thoughts and basically try to experience life from more perspectives. That’s living. That’s a decision you make to put yourself out on the water and trust yourself to adapt and learn to swim. Because you can.
You have to believe you can do that. Not just for yourself, but for everyone that sees and learns from you. You quite literally become the example.
Over time my favorite retort to family and friends that ask “what if you fail?” became “what if I succeed?”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a filmmaker and a photographer. More intimately, as an artist I’m a storyteller.
Image making has always been something that fascinated me. Every image, drawn, painted, or captured on film takes a hold of my imagination. That’s been true since I was a child. Family photo albums started this in me. I was amazed (as a child) to see my parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents as children and then age through those images. The idea of seeing their past was mesmerizing to me. Cameras being the vehicle for that, took it all the way to where we are today.
When people ask, “what makes your work different?” I think the perspective needs to be changed, because each of us see the world differently. And it might serve us better to see the artist on the whole to better understand the art/work they present.
I think every person has a story to tell and regardless of how similar the story, the perspective is different. That variety can make things forever interesting, but that’s where the responsibility of being authentic comes in. Also where the responsibility of the viewer comes into play. I don’t copy what’s been done before. I learn from those things and do what I can to contribute and effectively share my perspective on life in our time. I’m hungry for the opportunity to tell the stories of our time. With the way I use cameras and words, I think the work shows that there is a supreme desire to show “us” to ourselves. In all our beauty and foolishness. I’m here to offer yet another way of seeing our world. To help broaden the understanding and discussion surrounding every aspect of our lives. I feel like that’s my purpose, that’s what I represent.
Filmmaking is actually my second career, my first career was in Motorsports. I spent 15+yrs at race tracks across the globe. An amazing experience that taught me a lot about life and chasing dreams.
That experience helped so much because it really wasn’t easy finding my voice. It took me years to understand “why” I was so drawn to these aspects of life or to find my practice. If it were easy I’d probably be saying much different things here.
But I had to learn and adapt. I had to face fears and fail. I had to persevere; never give up. Being black and from Los Angeles in the 90s, I didn’t have a lot to connections to filmmaking. I was literally the pathfinder in my life cutting through a jungle trying to find something I imagined could be. And what I was looking for was it’s there. It always was. Regardless of the people that doubted me would say or the doubt I had in myself. Same thing goes for whatever it is you’re looking for.
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?
Spots that I frequent with friends and outta-towners usually goes like this:
Things to see
– The Getty Center
– DTLA when the vibe is right (when the light is right. Usually an early morning or late afternoon run for photography)
– Leimert Park for culture and my people
– The Huntington Library for chill time and a bit of nature
– The Vista (classic theatre to watch films)
– Venice / Malibu / Palos Verdes cliffs when it’s time to see the sea
– Angeles Crest for some fun on the roads and play a little bit with the cars and bikes
– Race Service to see friends and vibe a bit in the motorsport culture.
– Sage Vegan Bistro
– Crossroads Kitchen
– Howling Juice
– Met Her At A Bar
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Joel Bell Frank Jackson
Johnny Simmons, ASC
Gill Hubbs, ASC
My Mother above all else.
Headshot photo by Sarah Hodges Onset photography provided by The ASC All other photos were taken by me