Jacqueline Di Milia grew up in America’s first mass produced suburbia, Levittown, New York. In Spring of 2005 she received a BFA in Photography from the School Of Visual Arts. After a few years of photo assisting with wide range of photographers, including Danielle Levitt and Cass Bird, she began shooting editorially in 2006. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York and obsessively watches French New Wave films. We interviewed her recently.
What made you to start taking portraits?
‘I think it’s something that I was naturally drawn to. I’ve always watched tons of films, so I’m sure that had a large part to do with it. Photography just seemed more accessible, especially when I first got into it in High School. I plan to make a film at some point, but I see it as something that would be pieced together very slowly. It would maybe take five years to slowly collect small bits and in the end they could ideally work together’.
What is the shortest amount of time you were allotted to photograph a subject and who might that be and how did it work out?
‘When I was shooting Beautiful People for Paper magazine, I think that some people were shot in less than 15 minutes. There were an average of 12-16 portraits a day in a nine hour day. My head was definitely spinning. I’ve previously compared it to speed dating. The Beautiful People Issue, is a special situation though. For a solo portrait, I had less than a half hour to photograph a very famous musician from the 70s for a two or three page story. It had been planned that we would do it in an hour and a half and when I showed up, she and her crew were in a rush to get off to lunch so my time was cut down. The pictures were definitely not so good’.
What are three of your favorite locations to shoot?
‘Homes, outdoors, any place with great light and will allow some one to feel comfortable. My favourite shoots are ones where I can meet the subject where they live and simply follow them around for a day. I love it when I can shoot someone and it doesn’t feel like someone is just standing there for the sake of the photo, it makes everything very intimate’.
What camera do you use?
‘A Mamyia 645. An old boyfriend passed it on to me during college. I like it because you can easily strip down all the extra parts and it can turn into a very small, light weight medium format camera. Which is good because it keeps the camera from becoming too intrusive while trying to create a relaxed environment. If I could afford another camera I’d like to get my hands on a Mamiya 7’.
What photographers are you really loving right now?
‘I mostly pull away with inspiration from film makers like Godard, Polanski, and Ozon, to start with.
I love Heidi Slimane’s intimacy, Cass Bird’s energy, Will McBride’s My Sixties, Juergen Teller’s subjects and … I’m not sure where to end’.
Where has your work been seen?
‘Paper, Spin, Bust, Theme Magazine, Harpers Bazaar UK, and The Irish Times’.