But you’re happy to use academic language when you talk about your work?
The catalyst for a project for me comes from a conceptual or theoretical realm, but I spend days or months or a year working on it, and in that time, in the persistence of working on a project like that, you have to come at it from a much more visceral and relatable thing. The choices you make, the things you photograph. Some of the images I’ve been working on, for example, are from his dad’s house in Florida, and we go there together every year in the winter. They have a totally biographical feel for me, but that’s not the reason I take these pictures. The painting on the photography is really the reason, but the subject matter is always going to come from where you’re at, especially with photography. I think that’s something he can consistently relate to because he knows me so well, that he can come in here and see this and not just look at it for color or form, but also like, there’s my dad’s pool.
What’s your role as a big brother?
There was this time when we were driving home from New York after Christmas and I was dropping him off at Sarah Lawrence, and I had been living in a room that was literally like a closet with no window, and I was paying $500 a month in Williamsburg, which is more than I had ever paid. All of these people were living these crazy lives that I didn’t really relate to. It was kind of gnarly, and they were all doing coke all the time. We were talking about that on the drive down, and the girl that was on the lease called me and was like, Hey, something has come up. I didn’t know that we couldn’t be living there, but we were all getting kicked out. On the phone she was like, You can fucking move out. It was the middle of winter. He witnessed that whole breakdown. I literally went and got all my stuff and lived out of my car for two weeks, and would go visit him at Sarah Lawrence. For him to see me go from there to here is pretty encouraging for him, and it shows that you can kind of do whatever. Collaborating on this project is also important because I’m able to help him a little, whatever that means. I think it’s encouraging for him.