Personal Works: Cass Bird
Cass Bird likes girls. She likes them just as they are and how they come, not how they think others might want them to be. Her photographs of them are honest, true and real – the kind that remind you just how good it can feel to smile just for you and not for anybody else, and that things can be beautiful JUST BECAUSE. Sometimes, though, Bird’s images serve not as a reminder you’re in need of, but a straight-up lesson. A lesson to let go of everything you think and just to be, to not care what anybody thinks and to be yourself – whoever that is. Over two summers, Bird hand-picked a group of girls – studio assistants, those cast from her familiar NYC streets, whoever – for the way the light falls on their faces, their wit and their choice of bedfellows. All of them confident in the company they keep, most not so sure in front of the lens. So she packed a clutch of boho dresses and tutus and her camera and took them to Sassafras, Tennessee to remind them, to teach them … Her new monograph – published by Damiani – tells the tale of their rewilding. And now, she speaks with RUSSH.
What do you dream of most?
Shooting the Pirelli Calendar.
What were you last surprised by?
I woke up this morning to my son’s head full of lice.
Where did this all start for you?
My girlfriend signed me up for a photo 101 course, I was 21.
Why do you do what you do?
Because I can’t do anything else.
What do you find most difficult about doing what you do?
Taking a good picture, that’s the hardest thing. Sometimes the conditions for that make it more challenging.
Rewilding – where did this come from?
It’s a project I worked on that expanded my own definitions of femininity.
What will you remember most about this project?
Learning how to pee standing up. The whole experience was magic.
What kind of equipment do you use for this?
I use a variety of film cameras, from 35mm point and shoots, to medium format.
What do you look for in a subject?
What for you is beautiful?
What photographers would you say you look up to? Or have influenced you the most?
Bruce Weber, Peter Lindbergh, and Diane Russo, I mean Arbus!
What gives you the most satisfaction?
Connecting with my subjects.