Damaged / Goods: Grant, you describe yourself as a director x photographer x dj x designer. When did you start working as a photographer?

Grant Spanier: My first real “work” as photographer was touring with Gallant and Sufjan Stevens in late 2015. Photography has been one of my last disciplines to take up. I think I’ve been shooting less than 3 years. I backed into it as a release from the complexity of filmmaking.  

Damaged: You describe your personal aesthetic as playful, mischievous, sweet, sexy, strong and contradictory. Is there a message that you are trying to convey through your work?

Grant: Essentially, I am trying to honor the subject and original creative concept versus trying to “say” something as artist. The process of photographing is intimate and sacred to me and I try to honor that intimacy through soul-exposing, liberating images. Shooting women is vital for me to display humanity, power and independence versus objectification. 

Damaged: What inspires your work as a visual artist?

Grant: I find myself more inspired by contemporary photographers like Henrik Purienne or Asher Moss. But lately I am mostly inspired by music video directors lately, probably because I’m working in those mediums.

Damaged: Was your Tedx talk influential in your shift towards music as opposed to public speaking?

Grant: I started DJ-ing and realized at that time that public speaking felt more prescriptive and less participatory. 
I wanted a way to access that feeling. I learned to mix music because I saw the experience of mixing/DJ-ing to be a more communal emotional experience. 

Music has the biggest influence on my work, it is my way of progressing in the purest sense. For now I am enjoying creating mixes, it makes my life feel significantly more meaningful.