Interview with Photographer / Party With Panda | Edition IX

How do you describe your Photography to people?
Spontaneous, In-the-Moment, Raw, Creative, Fun

Did your early photographic goals include earning a living from photography, or did it start as a way to express yourself creatively?
Both. I’m shooting because I’m having fun. I’m not going to pull out my camera if I’m bored or not interested in what’s going on around me. I started PartyWithPanda.com to bring a fresh unpretentious look into the nightlife photography. I started it knowing I would eventually generate income.

Do you remember the first party you photographed?
Yeah. It was in 2007 for a wack nightlife website. I hated it. I felt awkward and didn’t know why I was taking photos of the people in the club. It didn’t help that I was 20, sober, and in a club full of the Ed-Hardy/Affliction type. Luckily I figured out my niche and the situations I liked being in.

Describe one of your craziest experiences while holding your camera (during a party/event or shoot)
Ha. Drunk antics are the norm on my site, it’s hard to think of what would be some of the craziest. One crazy experience happened in San Diego a year back during an ASR tradeshow. after party. There was a huge fight between a couple known people in the action sports industry and the whole hotel was in a frenzy. Then another fight broke out between some people and the management, I don’t think I could tell who it was at the time but I was in the mix and just started shooting photos. I wasn’t in any condition to drive that night and ended up crashing in a friends room in the hotel. In the morning I was missing a contact and totally forgot what happened the night before. Then scrolling through the photos I saw the shot. It was a pro skateboarder, underage, in a club karate chopping a security guard with a warrior look on his face. I probably could have sold it to the tabloids but I have more respect for myself then to put some people on blast. I never published the photo… but it’s deffiantly going to be featured whenever I get around to putting together my own photography show.

Who are some people you would like to work with?
I’m not sure. I’m working with a lot of the people already. I guess I want to further my relationships that I already have and build more. Ideally I just want to be contracted by the biggest event magazines and cover some big festivals and other interesting events.

Do you feel like what you are doing is important?
I’m not curing cancer or anything. But I believe having a good time is important. I think when I’m shooting photos I lift a lot of spirits and the photos reflect a great time. That’s important to an extent.

Must art have a relationship to the rest of the world?
I think art is the strongest relationship in the world. Art evokes emotion. No matter how vast and different cultures are on this earth we all have one common way to express ourselves. Art. It’s a very powerful thing.

Lastly, could you talk about any long-term goals you have in mind?
Long-term. Living prosperously, having an amazing family, and creating daily. My next project is to create a really thought provoking documentary based on my Dad. The whole party thing is great but that’s not how I define myself as an artist. I created a moniker for that aspect. There’s Panda and there’s Clayton Woodley.