Charlie Durso for The Meadow

interviewer: Sara Sharif (@sarangelic)
interviewee: Charlie Durso (@slugsushi)

Charlie Durso is a Jacksonville Florida based creative, working in both analog and digital art, but most notably in photography. They aim to find the vibrancy in every individual they shoot with their focus on creative portraits saturated in colour.

What do you consider the perfect moment?

"I think any perfect moment is one where you feel safe, in an emotional sense of the word, like the feeling of safety you get when you're surrounded by people who care about you and it really hits you how much you love them and you know y'all would do anything to be there for each other."

* in relevance to our issue #5 MOMENT 

t h e   i n t e r v i e w

1. Please start with a little introduction about yourself!

My name is Charlie I am a queer creative currently living in Jacksonville Florida. I've been active in the scene for about two years now. I like all types of art, fashion/makeup, and I play the sims too much.

2. What is your photography style?

I would say colourful and creative portraiture.

3. When did you decide or know that you wanted to be a photographer?

I've been drawn to photography since elementary school, I think about fourth grade when I got my first little point and shoot camera from my grandparents for a week summer arts camp at a church. After that I took photos of everything and have never really considered anything else.

4. How has your journey been so far?

Incredible. I never thought I'd really get to consider myself an artist or be part of such an amazing community before I moved to a larger city and found myself immersed in the DIY communities of Jax. I've just met so many people who mean so much to me and to get to see what they create and share my work back with them means literally everything to me.

5. I adore your work and vision! Tell us more about your inspiration that drives you to capture what you do!

Thank you so much! This question is always so hard for me to pin an answer too 'cause it feels like just about anything. Largely it would be colours, certain people give me an overall colour feel and sometimes I run with that. Sometimes I come across a random texture or item I like and will center around that. Like a friend gave me some good slime, I found a particularly nice bunch of oyster mushrooms, or I just really liked how the sunlight bounced through a clear doorknob. Once I crushed an egg for fun and thought "this would look cool on someone's face, lemme go ask Seven if he's down."

6. Who is a photographer you look up to?

I've somewhat recently really fallen in love with the work of Allis Chang (@titwillo), everything they create is so dreamy and so so incredibly lovely! My brain just actually kind of explodes a little more each time they share something new and I aspire to one day be able to capture the level of emotion they do.

7. Do elaborate on some of your own favourite works and the behind-the-scenes! 

1--Model _ MUA _aneurcyst.JPG

"This shoot with my best friend @aneurcyst is probably my all time favourite. I mentioned earlier it just came from crushing an egg and my brain was like, okay this + clown + primary colours lets go. I don't know if many people I know would suffer through getting egg yolk in their eye for me while only on a couple hours of sleep but he kept saying like "no I promise I'm fine just get a couple more shots before I'm not." I got a couple burns on my fingers hot gluing the tulle around his neck but it was so worth it we had so much fun."

3--Model _ MUA _aneurcyst.jpg
2--MUA _slugsushi model _tonofivy.jpg

"This was done with @tonofivy and was one of the quickest shoots I've accomplished, but the prep time took much longer. I've always just been a bit obsessed with mushrooms and wanted to make a somewhat goblin-aesthetic shoot. I couldn't get my hands on the mushrooms I originally wanted because the farmers market had a bad batch so had to replan the whole look that night while cutting what I had up while my girlfriend dyed Ivy's hair pink."

"This is the most crowded shoot I've done so far, there were about five of us in my teeny tiny bathroom around seven in the tub, Nikolai was nervous trying not to pour too much water onto Seven's face or splash it on the camera since I had to be so close up, and Tetra was maneuvering my 5 foot lamp for light trying to not hit anyone in this poorly lit bathroom, and then with another friend just hanging out (and my roommates going in and out to check it out)."

8. What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow.

After I go through and select my images I upload to Lightroom to do some mass colour and exposure/contrast tweaks, then move to finish cleaning up whatever is needed, or giving someone a new head, in Photoshop.

9. What equipment do you use and swear by?

I have been using the same first camera, a Nikon D3100, I got in high school from my grandparents and it's always held up. My favourite lens I have is a 50mm Nikkor lens, it's really good for allowing in more light.

10. What are the editing applications and software that you use and would suggest for beginners?

I only use Photoshop and Lightroom, it's what I was taught to use in school and there's so many different usage tutorials online so learning and navigating them is really accessible.

11. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

To get comfortable learning to manipulate my light sources far sooner than I did, to not be afraid to really play around with what I had versus just relying on natural lighting.

12. How has work been different during the pandemic?

It's been a tough adjustment from previously doing a lot. Before the pandemic my household had been running music/art shows out of our house and so I had gotten to connect with new friends and just really felt like I was starting to get to be apart of this wonderful community, but then we had to move and stop. It was a bummer, but me and some friends who were running an art show decided well maybe we can make this positive y'know like bigger than the front yard. But then covid hit and all plans had to come to a halt, and shoots planned got put on hold/spread out.