JUSTIN MONROE TAKES US "DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE"
Just in time for the holidays, Bruno Gmunder will officially debut Down The Rabbit Hole, Justin Monroe's first-ever photo-book. 160 pages of full color, highly conceptual imagery will take you on a journey through a world of fantasy and hyperrealism, from which Monroe calls a “red pill ride!” Featuring such prominent personalities as diva model extraordinaire Janice Dickinson, legendary performer Amanda Lepore and sex icon Jessica Rabbit, Down The Rabbit Hole will pull you down into a world of surreal fantasy, sinister humor and visual allegory. Some of the photos from Down the Rabbit Hole include Dickinson as “Glinda the Good Witch” on the verge of a nervous breakdown; porn star Erik Rhodes as a souped-up superhero; Kama Sutra, the art of pleasure; a tea party you won’t forget; and one very dirty bunny!
SIT DOWN AND CHAT WITH JUSTIN MONROE...
Q.) With your first book, Down The Rabbit Hole, where does your inspiration come from that makes you so different from other photographers out there?
A.) I get my inspiration from everything, whether it's from a dream, to a movie or a song, people on the street, the model walking in to do a job, porn, the news…you name it. Its a collaboration of internal data. I think what sets me apart from other photographers is that I have an unending mental library of ideas and a wide range. When you see one of my images you can definitely tell that it's mine. But, I can go from dark, cold, gloomy, low-key and depressing to a bright, colorful, funny, high-key story. I can go from luxury to poverty or beautiful to grotesque, One day I can work on an assignment that requires me to shoot my subject very raw and grungy, and the next day I can be shooting a super polished and elegant diamond campaign. This is what turns me on. This is why I am a photographer.
What do you want people to gain from your art? Are you trying to send
an important message, or are you just simply being creative?
A.) I hope people get a bit of enjoyment, and better yet, a laugh or a
hard-on, or both. I strive to breathe life into my work so that the viewer feels something. Thats why I sometimes push my models right over the edge of their own comfort level. In fact, I do not care if the viewer feels uncomfortable…I actually live for it.
Q.) Down the Rabbit Hole is Bruno Gmunder's first-ever book featuring female content. Quite an accomplishment, Justin! How did you swing that?
A.)It was a bit of compromise on myself and the publisher. A lot of dialogue and a common goal, to create something with staying power that won't get lost in the mix.
Q.) Your book features such divas and
starlets as Janice Dickinson and Amanda Lepore. They're both two very
dynamic women. What was it like working with each of them?
A.) Its like the lion and the lamb. Janice is a powerhouse of a woman and a talent, so she would be my lioness. Cats scratch, claw, and sometimes bite, and so does Janice, but when she is on the set, she is ready for business. Her work-horse ethic and determination is why she was coined, 'World's First Supermodel.' Janice is not messing around. Her fierceness is why I chose her for my book. Amanda, my lamb, is like shooting a beauty from an old Hollywood movie. She brings class and poise to the set of which I have never seen. But do not be fooled. She can take you there and back. Amanda is a true chameleon. She can take on any chair actor, and serve you back a masterpiece.
Some people say that Amanda Lepore is like a human palette, in that she
can shape-shift her looks drastically. Did you find this to hold true?
A.)Not only her looks, but her entire demeanor from one shot to the next. From glamour to daddy's little she-devil, Amanda is a true actress.
Q.) You've already started working on your next book, Eat This. Quite the prolific photographer! What will this book be like?
A.)A clash of cultures. Imagine two trains on one track. The first train, the 'Hollywood Express,' carrying supermodels and celebrities, famous and infamous. And, the second train, the 'Redneck Nougat,' carrying trailer trash, convicts and drug addicts. Imagine if these two trains were to collide creating a super sexy mess. A scorching hot mockumentary of our society, showing us that white trash has never looked so hot!
Q.) If you could select three new celebrities to photograph next, who would you choose. And, why?
A.) Uma Thurman. Love her look and she looks like she would go all out to get the shot! I have been in love with her since 'Kill Bill.' Brad Pitt, for all of the obvious reasons. I prefer him trashy, not classy. And, Amy Winehouse, since I'm sure it would be a crazy experience!
You have some pretty surreal and sometimes creepy photos. When you go
home at night and turn off all the lights, is it hard for you to
separate the visions that you photograph from reality?
A.) My photographs are my reality. I have very vivid dreams and I actually count on them for a lot of my content matter. It is my obsession. I could not separate them if I tried. They are what makes me, me.
Q.) Give me one word that epitomizes your style of photography.
Down The Rabbit Hole releases on November 25, 2008 but is available now for PREORDER.