Artist Spotlight: Griffin Lotz - Photo Editor At The Rolling Stone
Griffin is what one would describe as a photo nerd in the most lovingly way possible. He can be seen walking the through the shadows silently, happily being ignored as he captures the finest moments in life. He has harnessed this ability to the show the world his subjects' personality in their most true form. Every photo he takes you feel as if you were there with him experiencing the exact same thing. It's really no wonder why he has been a staff photographer for Rolling Stone for half of a decade. We are more amazed by his willingness to answer our shitty interview questions. Enjoy.
Name: Griffin Lotz
Hometown: Montclair, NJ
Website: My Instagram: @grifflotz
Where are you from? Tell us a little about your background.
I grew up going to school in Northern New Jersey and spending summers in Ocean Grove on the Jersey Shore. Ocean Grove is now my home away from home when I'm not in Brooklyn.
At this point how long have you been shooting photos?
I started shooting photos when I was about 14 years old and was working my first job as a busboy and kitchen helper during the summer in Ocean Grove. One day after surfing, I still had about an hour before work and asked my dad if I could try his camera to kill the time. I liked the shots I got and decided to stick with it. Once I got serious about it, I made a personal goal of working for Rolling Stone and/or Nat Geo.
What do you currently shoot with most or whats your favorite camera that you have?
My current digital body is a Canon 6D, but I use a lot of other cameras for personal work or day to day things. Some of those include a Contax t2, Lumix GF2, Canonet QL17, Holga and Hasselblad.
Who and what currently inspires you to pick up your camera?
An obsession to document the amazing things I see and experience in every day life. I rarely leave home without some sort of camera and feel anxious if I do. This question is always tough to answer without sounding cliche, but when shooting daily life, I am expired by people, color and shapes. In my mind, I see compositions and like to play off complementary colors. Sometimes while shooting I'll lose myself and the motion of composing the shot and pressing the shutter is more of a visceral reaction. Other times I am very consciously attempting to layer elements within the frame.
Rewinding to your personal goal, you shoot for Rolling Stone now right? Have you joined the ranks as an official staffer or are you still in the freelance arena?
I've been a photo editor in some way at RS since summer of 2011. It's been almost 5 years on staff (hired in August 2011), the first two at the website, and since that point at the magazine.
Where do you call home?
I've lived in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn since April 2012. Not always the same place, but Bed Stuy do or die. However, I grew up mostly in Monmouth County, NJ and am most likely to be found there if I'm not in the city.
Oof, you ever get the New York vibe that "you ain't from around here" being a Jersey boy?
Ha, not really. New York is such a mishmash of people from all over that it doesn't make much of a difference where you're from if you find your niche. I went to HS only 45 minutes outside of the city, so it has always been there. Sometimes I like to ask people that aren't from the Tri-State area what their first time seeing Times Square was like. I grew up too well acquainted with the area that seeing that was never a 'thing.'
I remember when we met back in the dark, depths of Venice in what I can only describe as a whirlwind of good times. We met through Chris Krieb right?
Haha, yea that was some night and yes we met through Chris Krieb.
Ah yes, good times and Chris Krieb. Good guy that one.
Good times and Chris Krieb, two things that always go hand in hand.
Were you in LA shooting for Rolling Stone, another publication or were you just out for a visit?
I was in LA on vacation. I took a week off and spent a few days there before driving up the coast to SF.
Did you take the 1 or I-5 up?
I took the 1 and stayed with different friends each night. I started with a few days in the LA area, which is where we ran into each other and then drove up to Morro Bay, Santa Cruz and San Francisco to fly home.
Did you check out the very scenic vibes of Big Sur on that trip too?
How could I not? Next time I need to schedule more time North of Santa Barbara. I spent a couple days around Santa Cruz, but would like to get off the grid in Big Sur next time.
You know, I actually saw one of your photos on Rolling Stone's Instagram not too long after our meeting and had a total, "I know that guy moment." Do you get people hitting you up pretty often when they see your work getting coverage?
Haha, that's awesome and I feel so honored to have elicited that kind of reaction. I definitely do get a good amount of messages or comments from friends anytime a photo of mine makes it somewhere very public. Some of my closest friends have gotten used to it, but others will always give props and that feels good. I still get that giddy feeling seeing my name in print or in any other high-profile place.
Haha, yeah I didn't know if I should kook out and hit you up but it was rad to see your work.
Enough with these cookie cutters. Let's be honest. Where do you you see yourself in 5 and 10 years? What's the end goal where you will find yourself sliding in bed every night with a big grin on your face?
Now this is a real question! So many factors at play as to where I could be in 5 years, but if anything I hope I'm shooting as much or more than I am now. I have no plans of leaving my current position any time soon as I have so much more to learn about working with other people and photography. Every day is a new experience and I want to keep aspiring to do new things, see more music and creating more images of all of it. I'd like to eventually move towards shooting full time but will only do so when the time feels right.
Thank-you Griffin for your time and I feel like we are going to have to do a follow to this one to dive deeper in the voodoo that you do so well. Do yourself a favor and give him a follow over on his Instagram: @grifflotz and check out some more of his work below.