Life, Creativity and Shredding with Michael Cukr

Korduroy: Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and the path that brought you to becoming a filmmaker/ photographer / journalist?
Michael: My first dream was to be a professional skater so I used my dads DV camera to film my friends and I skating since I was about nine years old. John Dykstra(who did special FX for Star Wars) told me to take b/w darkroom photo class so I did. I started filming with the 3 slobs (Kyle Kennelly, Andrew Doheny, and Ford Archbold) when I was 16. From this I met Thom Pringle, then Warren Smith. Warren got me on my first job shooting a commercial for Insight in Panama. Then shortly after he brought me on another project to Maine for Monster children called “Fix The Shadows”. Then What Youth hired me. I had no intent of doing interviews or journalism but my position at WY pushed me in that direction.
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Korduroy: Your style of creative craftsmanship shines a unique light on your subjects. It seems to expose them through an authentic and uncontrived lens, which I feel offers a deep intimacy to your work. — Can you share a bit about your creative process? 
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Michael: I don’t try to direct or control anything going on. It’s generally me with a camera, then my subject, and wherever we are at the time. and whatever first comes to mind is generally what I shoot. If I start thinking about it too much then I feel it looses it’s honesty. I generally won’t shoot a photo if I don’t feel comfortable around the subject and I think that’s where the “intimacy” comes from. Both me and the subject trust each other and are comfortable around each other.

Korduroy: What are five things you never leave home without?
Michael: Surf stuff, Skateboard, overnight bag in case if I end up staying somewhere else, camera bag, my phone. (Wow, I sound like such a typical Californian)
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Korduroy: Can you share your top two influences that have shaped the way you craft your work and interpret a moment in time?
Michael: Some really close people in my life pushed me to trust what I do and helped me believe in myself. Kyle Kennelly being one of them. Then Jeremy Lynch, Brandon Scott, and my family. Also I like early portraiture that just seemed like a stamp in time. Think of old pictures of our grandparents generation. The photos of them next to their car or first house. Just them standing there not smiling.
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Korduroy: What’s next on the horizon? Any projects or stories you’re really excited about?
Michael: What Youth Issue 14 is going to print soon. I have a few interviews and portraits in that that I’m really excited about. I’m currently editing a piece on Ryan Burch… shooting with him was really inspiring. He’s one of my fav subjects to work with this far. Chicago at the end of April then Norway in May.
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