Ep. 4 of Figure Isms: Sidney

We’re all trying to tell a story somehow, someway.
— Sidney

My guest for episode 4 of Figure Isms is Sidney. We talk about his path to becoming a photographer, his love of cinema, personal loss, social media, and more. While listening to this episode I think it's easy to get a sense of Sidney's enthusiasm and love for what he does. This becomes even more impressive when contrasted against the tragedy that ended up being a turning point for him and his decision to pursue art. 

Follow along and find out more about Sidney with the links below and don't forget to check out the show notes!

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Selected Links From The Episode

Show Notes

  • Sidney opens up with how his photographic journey began in New Orleans, which included: his cellphone, disposable cameras, and abandoned homes and churches that were ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. [2:03]
  • He tells a story about how he first shot a model, and how it gave him the bug to start photographing people. [4:05]
  • As a self-proclaimed cinephile, he talks about his love of film, directors including Jean-Luc Godard, and how he incorporates those influences onto his photo sets. [5:27]
  • Find out how Sidney blends his passions of movies and photography. [7:22]
  • Sidney talks about the differences between photography and films, the complexity of one over the other, and how he bounces around like a bunny rabbit on his sets. [8:49]
  • He talks about some of his favorite filmmakers who were once also photographers; can you guess who? [13:20]
  • Find out Sidney's favorite camera medium (hint: "you shake it like a ...") Also listen in to some of his observations,"We're all trying to tell a story somehow, someway"  [15:08]
  • We learn about how Sidney studied film, how he once gave shit to photographers, and how he is the proud owner of at least 30 cameras now. [16:20]
  • We find out how he first started shooting polaroid and how it became his "weapon of choice." [18:35]
  • Sidney tells us the story about how he first started shooting nudes, how that changed the trajectory of his photography career, the repercussions that can have, and the relationships he has been able to establish because of it. [22:56]
  • Sidney talks about growing up in a religious household, Catholic school, nuns, bibles, being spanked with rulers, and how that has influenced some of his photo shoots. [30:09]
  • He tells us about his father, and the influential role he had on Sindey's passion for movies. He  also discusses the lack of censorship in his household growing up, and how that effected his perception of nudity. [31:48]
  • Sidney delves into how his work walks a thin line and how there is a lot of miconception about what it represents; listen in to hear what he has to say about pornography and his work. [33:47]
  • He talks about nudity and its inclusion in all forms of art, and how some of his favorite painters dealt with the backlash of moralism. Do you think he likes to push boundaries like his favorite artists? Find out here! [35:01]
  • Discover what compels Sidney to push boundaries and who are some of the artists that he respects for doing the same. "... if you are being controversial, doing unique things then your work kind of lives on" [38:07]
  • Listen in for Sidney's understanding of what makes art interesting, what he is trying to do with his art, and how he would like you to respond to it. [41:01]
  • He talks about the awareness you have in doing something taboo and the effect he is trying to have with his art. [42:33]
  • Sidney tells us about the women and the types of women that surrounded him growng up. [44:05]
  • Find out how The Real Housewives of OC, conversations, and nude photo sets tie in together. Sidney discusses how he has gained greater understanding into sexuality through the nude art he creates. [46:36]
  • He talks about his shoots with women and the insight he has even gained into what women have to deal with on a regular basis; and ultimately the respect he has for them. [48:20]
  • I chime with my thoughts on the mindset you have on a nude photo set, and what the focus should be. [50:08]
  • Sidney talks about the gradual shift of mentality he had with his nude shoots, how happy it makes him to be trusted by the models, and the lightheartedness there is at his shoots. His photo sets include great conversation, eating food, shooting, talking, etc. [51:55]
  • Here we both talk about nudity, conversations, and being comfortable in those situations. [54:14]
  • Find out the number one question Sidney gets asked about his shoots, and find out why it makes him so angry. [55:20]
  • I add to what Sidney says, and what I think is the saddest part  in people's assumptions on the relationships between the photographer and model. [58:25]
  • Sidney has some words of advice for some stupid men out there, so if you are stupid, you should definitely tune in! [59:20]
  • Sidney goes into depth about what he wants to evoke from people, his love of interaction regarding his work, and how he appreciates being challenged. [1:01:22]
  • He loves most questions, except for maybe this one. [1:04:25]
  • He talks about his bondage work, the community, and how he incorporates bondage into his photos. [1:05:25]
  • Sidney makes light of a common misconception people have of him being a small white guy. [1:09:39]
  • He takes us on his journeys from Florida to California in pursuit of his film career, the film industry, the downside to being in Los Angeles, and his ultimate journey home to New Orleans. [1:10:17]
  • Here Sidney touches on the tragedies he has endured, which begin to give us a picture of what he has overcome. [1:15:15]
  • He tells us about the option he had to pursue a lucrative career immediately before Katrina hit.  [1:16:29]
  • We all have heard of the terrifying stories of Hurricane Katrina, here Sidney tells us his own, and the incredible impact it had on his family, including the tragic loss of his father not long after. Learn how these events propelled him into the creative life.  [1:17:49]
  • Once Sidney connected to his artistic side,  he pursued it and never looked back. [1:20:02]
  • "Life is short, when you are around something that drastically changes you, your family, your city...there are certain things that happen that change you forever." Sidney opens up the effect Katrina had on his family and the bond it created. He also shares with us a potential movie project he has been working on for several years. [1:22:16]
  • Sidney talks about his father, parenting, their relationship, and what he wished his father knew about him before he died. [1:27:15]
  • We find out that Sidney makes the best cookies ever made (according to his mom). He also tells us about unique way in which he introduced his mom to his nude work. Listen up, because it's a great story! [1:31:12]
  • Sidney talks about my photo work, specifically my "A day in the life" series with my wife and kids, and his impressions of that. [1:34:10]
  • I talk about how my wife finds models for me because I stuggle to do it, and about sexuality and the place it has in our lives. Sidney brings up his struggles with being creatively judged based on one aspect of his body of work, and how disheartening it can be. [1:36:03]
  • We talk about our impressions of being creatively represented on IG, maybe you can all relate! [1:39:30]
  • We talk about social media, my 13 yr old daughter, Black Mirror, and learning through the real world. [1:42:40]
  • We go back to talking about my "A day in the life" series a bit, and my family. [1:46:58]
  • Sidney talks about sexuality in his work and the intention behind it. "It's not about sex, sexuality and sex are two different things" [1:48:10]
  • Here we find out some of Sidney's favorite books and about his love of flowers. [1:54:03]
  • Can you guess his favorite music? [2:01:18]
  • Sidney talks about perception, what art is about, and how you should feel the freedom to pursue it how you want.  "Art is about freedom, it is the only place we can do the stuff we want to do and not worry about how it's going to come out." [2:04:40]
  • Contact Sidney through his IG @Sidantman [2:09:43]
  • Thank you Sidney!

People Mentioned

  • Jean Luc Godard
  • David Cronenberg
  • Kar-Wai Wong
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Stanley Kubrik
  • Henry Cartier-Bresson
  • Vivian Maier
  • Robert Capa
  • Larry Clark
  • Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Egon Schiele
  • Gustav Klimt
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Marquis de Sade
  • Kanye West
  • Nobuyoshi Araki
  • Jessica Todd Harper
  • Michael Jackson
  • Michael Jordan
  • Robert Mapplethorpe
  • Patti Smith
  • Maurice Sendak
  • Spike Jonze
  • Tupac Shakur