"F*ck the Golden Years," a new exhibition by photographer Kevin Amato, will open on Thursday, March 8 at NYC's Casa de Costa gallery.
Amato has been working professionally as a photographer for nearly a decade and has contributed to Dazed & Confused, Interview, and Flaunt, among other fashion and lifestyle magazines.
"F*ck the Golden Years" features more than forty framed works and is the first large-scale showcase of Amato's work. The full exhibition also includes previously unseen portraits, landscapes, and still-life work from the photographer's personal catalog.
HuffPost Gay Voices caught up with Amato find out about his background, his inspiration for "F*ck the Golden Years," and more. A selection of photos and information about the exhibition at Casa de Costa follows below and a short video featuring Amato can be seen above.
HuffPost Gay Voices: Why did you become a photographer?
Kevin Amato: I like pushing buttons -- in every sense. I love to capture moments or things that inspire me. Growing up I was always the kid with the little “press” tag in his hat, running around taking pictures. And I love the actual act of taking a photo -- the access I get and the trust I'm given.
(Interview continues below slideshow)
How did you learn your craft?
I took a lot of photos as a kid and my parents were super supportive. My dad was a hobby photographer in the '70s -- he was a bouncer at the Mud Club in NYC. My parents set up a makeshift dark room for me in the basement. After high school, I went on to study photography at NYC's School of Visual Arts. I think photography has been a very natural outlet for my creativity throughout my life.
What are your trademarks? What separates you from other photographers?
I think there’s a certain energy to my pictures. A lot of people associate me with hip hop and sort of a high/low fashion aesthetic. People I photograph are often underrepresented in fashion and art -- whether it’s because of perceptions about their race or gender or sexuality. And I think that my work has an optimistic -- sometimes ironic -- sense of humor.
What was the inspiration for "F*ck the Golden Years"?
My grandmother Marie, who passed away last year, was someone who influenced me very early in life. She was a very strong woman, honest, yet non-judgmental with the mouth of a truck driver and she lived her life to the fullest. “F*ck the Golden Years” was her way of saying you only get one ride, so be true to yourself first and live your life out loud. The work in this show is the product of those moments in my life where I really embraced that attitude or photographed a person in a way that reflects that sensibility.
What is your favorite part of the process?
I love working with people and taking photographs. I hate the rest: retouching, computers, archiving, business… but I do it because it's my job! To me, nothing in life compares to making a photograph. The energy really overcomes me and sometimes I feel like I’m just along for the ride. The most rewarding part is that I have this incredible diary of people I’ve met and things I’ve seen. It lets me hold on to things and relive them again and again, which has its pros and cons, naturally.
How has your work evolved from when you began?
I think my work has become a lot more personal -- a bit more transparent and honest to me. I take a lot more pictures for me now, instead of always thinking about what someone else wants to see or sell. It takes time for a photographer to really develop their own style and I think I’ve been able to accomplish that.
Does your sexuality play a factor in your work?
I see my work as culture and lifestyle. It's Lou Reed, it's Jay-Z... sexuality is whatever the viewer makes it. What’s real? What's postured? I like to play with people’s notions of identity. I think I use sexuality, race, economic status -- all of those things -- in an effort to push people outside of their comfort zones.
Kevin Amato's "F*ck the Golden Years" runs from March 8 – March 31 at Casa de Costa, 11 Stone Street, 6th Floor, NYC.
For more information on the artist, visit his official website.