AN INTERVIEW WITH OUR COVER PHOTOGRAPHER - MAGGIE LEE
If you've spent any time at all with our little magazine, or clicked your little clicker around our website, you already know who Maggie Lee is. She's a little Asian ball of creativity and energy who takes photos and reviews zines for us...
If you've spent any time at all with our little magazine, or clicked your little clicker around our website, you already know who Maggie Lee is. She's a little Asian ball of creativity and energy who takes photos and reviews zines for us about 30 times a month. She was also the person behind the lens of this month's cover photo.
Over the years Maggie has taken pictures of everything from sluts on copiers to Satanic slumber parties to Hamilton Morris roofie-ing himself. When she's not taking photos she's usually making some of our favorite zines or going on top-secret photo trips with Ryan McGinley (which she's doing next week but can't tell us anything about).
We called Maggie to find out all about those sexy, sexy lips on the cover of our Psychedelic Booby Trap Issue.
VICE: Hey Maggie, whose giant pie hole is on our cover?
Maggie: That is my friend Coco. She's a mega babe.
Have you seen the cover yet?
It's really nice, embossed and everything.
When was the last time you ate some of the Devil's Paper?
I was taking Ambien and I accidentally took some acid—so I accidentally took acid in my sleep. I woke up and there was N2O, fruit candy, and chargers all over my floor. I had to go to Sheepshead Bay at 9 AM for a doctor's appointment because I had gotten in a bike accident and fell on my arm. I was still tripping when I got to the doctor's office.
Did you have any fucked up dreams?
I think I stayed up all night. All I remember is everything being really warped and enhanced. Staying up on Ambien, even if acid is involved, is quite a forgettable experience.
This is the third cover you've done for us. The first was the 2008 Fiction Issue, then the Technology Issue, and now the Psychedelic Booby Trap Issue. Do you have a favorite?
Yes, the Fiction Issue cover. That was when I first started working for you guys. I was in class when Jesse [VICE's then Editor-in-Chief] called me. I had to sneak out to take the call and he said, "We need a cover by tonight."
So you were like, "No problem, I know a girl with a nice ass"?
Haha, well, so my friend Jen came over and we shot it in my room. At the time I was living in a closet. It was really tight in there, and my other friend Alex was standing on a ladder holding a desk light. That shoot was awesome. Sometimes when you're doing a shoot you just know it's gonna be good, and that was one of those times.
I like that cover too. My next question was actually: Would you think it's weird if I told you this is the second cover you've shot for us that gave me a half-bone? The first was the Fiction Issue.
So I'll take that as a "no"?
I like to think with my dick.
Good answer. A couple of years ago you did a shoot for us called "Frenching" that had a lot of mouths involved. Is there something about mouths you really like?
For a while I made zines called Frenching, and then I did that shoot based on Frenching.
So you do like mouths?
Yeah I like mouths a lot. I like teeth, too. Like weird teeth, snaggle tooths. But yes, mouths are chill.
The fashion shoot that accompanies our cover, "Dealer's Delight," is pretty great. What did you have in mind, just a couple of babes tripping? Or is there a deeper narrative?
Thank you, I'm glad you liked it. It's about naive girls tripping and being taken advantage of by a naughty dealer.
Taken advantage of in a "this acid sucks" sort of way, or in a rapey way?
A rapey way.
Dark. Where did the shoot take place?
We shot it in my friend Ashley's studio apartment. The vibe was right.
You've been shooting photos for us for about 25 years now. How did you first get involved with VICE?
I've been obsessed with VICE since high school, and always wanted to work with you guys. One time I told my mom I was going to a portfolio review in the city, and I took the train to Barnes & Nobel to see a Dos and Don'ts slideshow.
There was a Dos and Don'ts slideshow at Barnes & Noble?
Yeah, I still remember what I wore. I was such a loser. I was 16 and I wore these black platform shoes, then later I snuck into Misshapes and drank my first vodka cranberry.
Anyway, back to how I got involved. Jesse found my blog and emailed me. I sort of think it was ESP. I must have sent subliminal messages into Jesse's office telling him to look at my blog.
What was the first photo you had published in the mag?
I used to take most of the Dos and Don'ts, but that doesn't really count. The first real photo was a picture of my friend Irina getting possessed. It ran in the table of contents.
Did you look for anything specific when taking Dos and Don'ts photos?
I felt so bad taking them, but I would look for things that made me LOL, eye roll, girl crushes… things like that.
"Maggie Lee" is a pretty common name but, judging fame by the infallible results of a Google search, you are the most famous Maggie Lee in the world. Even famouser than some boat from Chesapeake with its own Wikipedia page. How does that feel?
Haha! Whoa, I never knew that.
Despite being over 100 years old, The Maggie Lee (above) still can't make it to the top of a Google search.
The boat ranks like eighth. You're number one.
I feel honored of course, but sometimes I wish I didn't exist on the net. Unfortunately, the net is my life.
Yeah, your Facebook page says your occupation is, "The Internet."
It's true. The net rules my life. I wish I could marry the net, but I'm just stuck with a connection.
HAHA, that's a good one. Are you working on anything right now we should know about?
I'm working on my abs.