Michael Stonis

Ian Flanigan

Michael Stonis
Ian Flanigan

Hi Ian, tell us where you're from and how you got into photography?
I was born in the San Fernando Valley in California, but then I moved to this shitty town called Simi Valley. I have a love-hate relationship with the place, it's actually like 3 parts hate, 1 part love. I've always had a knack for creative shit, but skateboarding was the path that led me to photography. Started out filming skate stuff with my friends and it slowly evolved from there. I actually went to college for graphic design, but then dropped out when I realized how much of a joke The Art Institutes are.

How would you describe your work?
Rad as fuck.

Where has your work been published?
Freshjive and Warriors of Radness catalogs, t-shirts, and online stuff mainly, nothing in any real publications yet.

What is typically in your camera bag?
Right now there's a 7D with 35mm lens, a Nimslo 3-D camera, phone, keys, debit card, Hello Kitty grinder, a lighter, and some Warriors of Radness stickers.

Do you prefer digital or film? 
Film, but I mainly shoot digital.

Who are some of your influences in photography?
Vivian Maier, Helmut Newton, Bruce Gilden, Bill Cunningham,

You have done a couple of photo projects such as "Los Angeles by Skateboard, what influenced it and how did it start?
I had been interested in street photography for as long as I can remember, but I was never in the right environment for it. I lived in Simi and worked in Westlake Village, both of those cities are absolutely fucking terrible, suburban hell. Westlake has zero culture to it, but nice scenery. Not really good street photography there.
It all changed when I got the job at Freshjive in downtown Los Angeles. There's so much weird shit going on here everyday, it's like a fucking zoo, but not a nice ethical one where they treat the animals with care. It's more like this weird twisted zoo where all the animals are in one cage and never fed. And I'm riding my skateboard through it with my camera glued to my face.

Who is one photographer you would suggest our viewers check out?
Vivian Maier. There will never ever be another photographer like her, ever. She didn't take pictures to pay her bills, she didn't take pictures to be famous, she never put out a book, SHE NEVER SHOWED ANYONE HER PHOTOGRAPHS! And yet, she had over 100,000 negatives and hundreds and hundreds of undeveloped rolls in her storage unit. Think about that for a second, taking hundreds of thousands of images and never showing anyone, never trying to get a paycheck or recognition for it. There will never be anyone that great ever again.

What would be a dream shoot for you?
Albert Hoffman, Erno Rubik, Leonardo Notarbartolo. 

What do you have planned for the near future? Any projects?
I have a sketchbook full of ideas that I would love to start just doing, some just single images and some more series based. I also want to start a less-formal interview site as well.

Thanks Ian!