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The Weekly Check In with Todd Cole

I’ve had the honor of following Todd Cole’s career but also getting to help him with some of my favorite internet/technology questions ever over the last 5 years or so.

Not only was I already in love with his photos but the films he has directed so far are so beautiful/magical I just don’t know how he does it. After you read this be sure to check out his website (which he made with Virb) and watch all of his films / look at every photograph he’s got on there.

Name: Todd Cole (the man with the big hat pictured above)
Location: Los Angeles
Home Town: Houston
Occupation: Photographer/Director

Rubin: When did you become a photographer and make it your living? What do you like shooting the most?
Cole: I moved to LA from Texas to try and become a director. I worked on some feature films as an assistant location manager during my first year or so in LA, and I then assisted a director for a few years. All the while I was teaching myself photography. I ended up directing music videos for a while, but didn’t enjoy it at the time.  So i quit directing and focused on photography. I spend most of the last decade building my photography career.  

A few years ago, as fashion films and branded web content started to become more prevalent, I directed the first Rodarte film, and I had so much fun making it. So essentially I started in film, then moved to photography and I have arrived where I actively do both.  I love doing both, but the  are very different in so many ways. But at the moment, film is more inspiring.  There are so many new creative challenges. Moving images are much  more multi dimensional - things like narrative, performances and music are so much fun to work with.

Rubin: Are you moving towards directing/cinematography full films in the future?
Cole: I plan on directing a feature film at some point in the future. I am working on a couple of scripts at the moment. When I was directing the first time around, I was never really actively trying to direct a film. I was working on music video ideas and spending my other time working on photography projects. Making personal hand books that I would give to friends. I was really in love with photography at that time, not that I am not still, but I was working in darkrooms and experimenting with different cameras, different toning processes, etc… But i worked through all that and experienced a lot of different aspects of photography. And now I am most excited about telling stories.  So doing a feature really appeals to me at this point in my life.

Rubin: What are you currently working on or just finished that you’re excited about?
Cole: I am working on doing a third film for Rodarte. I have already shot some of it…  Super Cell storms on the great plains. I am speaking to investors to finance the rest of the production. We want this to be a much bigger and more elaborate film than the first two.  

I also have a new photography book that has just been published by AndPress. I shot the body of work over the last three years, and I am super happy with the images. Check it out here.

Rubin: Where have you traveled recently or going to next?
Cole: Lately? Fucking New Orleans! Rules! I want to go to Morocco next. Get real Paul Bowles on it.

Rubin: Favorite music right now or of all time that you just can’t stop listening to?
: Liars, Tim HeckerRave Death, 1972" is the best record ever lately, Grimes, I got a advance copy of SFV Acid from Dean (No Age Dean) and it is super good. I have been listening to The new Fennesz/Sakamoto record over and over and over. Early Brian Eno.  My Graham Parsons Pandora station. Bonnie Prince Billy, Arthur Russel!

Rubin: Best food you’ve had in your neighborhood lately or just favorite places to eat?
Cole: I kind of live at Loteria (the Hollywood location). The best mexican food in LA.  And Hollywood blvd never disappoints.  It feels like a David Lynch movie at all times.

Rubin: What are you reading right now? (books, magazines, article, blog posts!)
: I just finished the most amazing book…  Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. It is beautifully intense. I could not put it down. Here is an interview with the author on NPR’s fresh Air.

I love my friend Ryan’s blog: He has a great men’s shop here in LA. 

And here is my guiltiest of pleasures. I am a recovering conspiracy addict, and this is just my little taste…

Rubin: Anything else you want to mention?
Cole: Just THANKS dude.  You have the patience of a stone.