Anyone in New York fashion would light up instantly at the mention of Jimmy Moffat. Famous for discovering the next photography hot shot, the founder of the powerful and super successful talent agency Art + Commerce has full bragging rights for picking up photography mainstays like Sølve Sundsbø, Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier and Annie Leibovitz.
His most recent initiative, Red Hook Labs, provides space and opportunity for those who lack it. It has become a public-benefit corporation dedicated to build communities and self-reliant businesses in the developing neighborhood Red Hook, in Brooklyn.
Their latest display, Labs New Artists ll, is showing at a disused gas station in Frogner in Oslo until the 21st of October, only. We were lucky enough to be granted a sit-down with the legend.
– Out of over 1000 submissions, we handpicked 25 photographers from all over the world, with the help from a jury of high-profile photographers, leaders, magazines and agencies. They’re so incredibly excited to have their work seen by this community in Oslo, Moffat says.
The fuzz about Jimmy Moffat is not hype – and the opening of this vernissage is no exception. The place is packed with people inside and outside of the legendary building on the corner of Lille Frogner Allé.
– I think the concept is a success because it’s built on a mission to provide opportunity to people who otherwise lack a physical space to show their work, amd education to unexposed young people who don’t necessarily know about photography, he says.
– By giving these young people a camera, you allow them to express themselves as artists. You allow them to communicate about their lives, about issues and social justice that they deal with every day, in terms of housing, crime, police and so on. Give them a camera and all of a sudden a whole new world opens up to them.
Known for his ability to discover the undiscovered, Moffat has contributed to shaping the careers of countless notable photographers. His technique of discovery? Labs itself is an arena that draws talent. But he’s also quite diligent on Instagram. Especially for a man born in the 60’s.
– I spend way too much time on the Instagram feed. I discover photographers like anyone else. I see pictures I like and I go “okay”. Then I DM them, we become friends, and maybe they have something to show.
So how is it that someone succeed and some don’t? When hunting down talents, Moffat says, it always comes down to originality:
– I look for a consistent originality and a consistent point of view that is unique to that person. Nothing is necessarily new or unique, but everybody has their own point of view, and that’s what we look for.
– I can not personally take a good photograph, but the ones who succeed has a gift of seeing, arranging it, choosing things that means something to them. Something that draws them to it. Then they create a composition with the frame of the camera and out comes poetry, comes music, comes original photography.
Check out the exhibit – its glorious art will adorn the dear gas station until the 21st of October!