Travel

Michael Danischewski and Andrew Johnson Are One Photographer in Parallel Universes

These guys are the low-key Melbourne photo bromance you never knew you always wanted.

by Michael Danischewski and Andrew Johnson
Jul 23 2015, 5:50pm

Photographers Michael Danischewski and Andrew Johnson have been best friends for years, but until now haven't managed to get their artwork in the same room. This week they're finally getting their shit together with their aptly titled joint exhibition These Things Take Time. The show's basis is simple: here are two dudes who love each other, grew up taking photos together, and worked to make each other awesome. It's the low-key Melbourne photography bromance you never knew you always wanted.

VICE talked with Michael about parallel universes, fake realities, and ceremoniously burning out cars.

VICE: Why did you guys decide to team up now?
Michael Danischewski: We actually met at high school so have been hanging out forever. We were the kids that liked skating and weird heavy music, and you know, you just kind of group together. But outside of that we really liked photography as well and started going on missions and shooting together at a lot at parties and what not. After that we've always been tight, but never quite managed to build a whole project together. Hence the name of the show.

What makes you guys work well together?
I tend to be more abrasive and with my images and say, "look at this!" While Andy Draws you into the frame a bit deeper. I think that's why we've always been attracted to each other's work and its difference in approach. But there's a similar aesthetic there; with this show it's hard to tell our work apart. We both shoot on similar cameras. Mostly a mix of Mamiya 6x7s and Contax point and shoots. Sometimes we'll come back from hanging out and check and the shots, and it always amazes me the different point of view that Andy has, even though we were in the same place at the same time.

It's kind of like what you would have shot in a parallel universe.
Totally.

So you burnt out a car for the show?
Yeah we wanted to bridge the gap between old and new. The car that got torched was the same model that Andy had when we were in high school, it seemed fitting to recognize it as the thing that gave us the freedom when starting out on our photo missions, I'm not sure the local authorities saw it that way. It's nice to put it to bed and now we can focus on creating new works.

Your show is being co-presented by IPF, are you involved at all this year?
Nah, unfortunately nothing outside of this show. I'll be in Morocco shooting for a new photo project, I haven't submitted anything previously but I went to most of the shows last year, the Alessandro Simonetti and Khalik Allah shows looked amazing, I'm a huge fan of Alessandro's work. I haven't seen the schedule yet but I'm sure they'll have tons of good stuff on this year too.

Any plans after Morocco?
I'm going to back to shooting black and white for a bit. I've always been drawn to photographers like Daido Moriyama and Ari Marcopoulos and their use of the black and white medium, I think it's good to shake things up and not get too comfortable. I like the directness of black and white, how it kind of strips everything away except the raw message of the photograph.

It kind of embraces the fake reality of photography to me more too.
Yeah totally, like if you took the same photo a meter to the side, you could have told a completely different story.

Most photographers try to keep the same stock for continuity?
That would feel like a desk job to me. How can you keep learning if you're doing the same thing over and over again? I have to keep changing it up.

'These Things Take Time' opens Friday 24 July at RVCA Gallery in Collingwood, Melbourne.

Interview by Ben Thomson. Follow him on Instagram.