Shoot the Breeze: Justin Clifford Rhody

Justin Clifford Rhody is a photographer from Oakland who has been projecting his work all around the USA in various warehouses and outdoor areas since 2010. He also organizes “Vernacular Visions,” a monthly slide show series that features found photo slides from flea markets and junk shops. Maybe sifting through endless examples of vernacular photography has informed his own work – everyday snapshots that could easily be mistaken as unintentional art photography from the 70s or 80s. We had a field day looking through his work – detailed, colorful and curious. This summer Justin is touring Zona Urbana, a big book of photography he shot in Central America. – CM




1. Why do you take photos?
It’s become a way to engage and interact with the cacophony of everyday life, the real world that we often distort and constrain or try to live outside of within our minds. And while it’s not the cheapest route to that end, it is a lot of fun.

2. Do you carry your camera with you everywhere you go?
Yeah, for sure. During the day I’m dragging around an 8 lb. monster, but when I go out in a city at night I usually use a more discrete, pocket-sized rig.

3. What celebrity would you like to shoot most?
Abraham Lincoln.




4. What animal would you like to be, if not a human?
A mummy.

5. What is your favorite smell?
No smell.

6. Would you like to live forever?
Well, I’m not in any big rush to see what’s behind door number two – but no, I don’t think so. The key aspect to life seems to be growth and change; to learn and experience things from different perspectives in time. If it just went on forever, all of that would get replaced by a grey existential sense of stasis…. Plus, I’m not a fool; I remember that Twilight Zone episode where the guy gets life in prison.



7. What do you think is the best photo you have ever taken to date?
I’d like to think that it’ll be the next one that I take, but without that as an option I’m not sure. It’s apples and oranges really: each photograph is unique in the problems and solutions that it sustains or resolves, so it’s difficult to compare em in that way.

8. What’s your favorite pastime?
Wandering around slowly at the Golden Gate Fields horse track. I’m also a big fan of jazz music, diners, driving a car and making plans.



9. Do you like having your photo taken?
Not in particular.

10. Who are your favorite photographers, currently?
James Montgomery, Stephanie Lister, Justin Smith, Charles Gatewood, Katy Grannan, Alec Soth, Huger Foote, Paul Graham, Michael Jang, John Divola, Ron Jude and Richard Misrach.