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    Securing the Past.

    Capturing the past in the present through his U.S. road trips, Niehues’ soft, grainy and bleached-out photographs gives us a sense of nostalgia that we never knew we even had.
    Photography by Larry Niehues, Interview by Appy Norapoompipat.

    AP: When did you become interested in photography?

    LN: At around 20 years old, I started taking pictures of my brother's clothing brand. My eye became more precise about what I wanted to photograph and my own style came out of this. I realized my interest of people growing into the images I captured, and decided it was worth giving it a try as a photographer.

    AP: Born and raised in the south of France, what first drew you into America’s culture so much?

    LN: My passion for America came from my parents and their culture. They loved to travel in the U.S. and wear vintage clothes they bought from there. The decoration in our family house has always been atypical: full of vinyls, books and articles found in old American towns. Music and motorcycles are my passion and led me into a deeper interest in America, where these things came from.

    AP: Why did you move to McAllen, Texas specifically?

    LN: I have a good friend who lives there. He’s in the vintage clothing business, and he helped me to set things up out here in the US. I then moved to southern California.

    AP: Was there any culture shock once you arrived in the States, or did everything meet your expectations?

    LN: Culture is definitely different to where I’m from. Even though architecture, lifestyle, and cars have changed a lot, and even though it is hard to spot that old way of living we see in movies from 50's to 70's, wherever I look, I always see details that remind me the Old America that I've heard in my family stories and that I saw in movies, read in books and listened in music.

    AP: What photography equipment do you use and why?

    LN: I have few cameras but the one I carry with me all the time is my Nikon F3. I shoot 35mm film only. I love the old fashion process and being challenged of capturing the picture at the right moment.

    AP: What’s the charm of film photography - especially expired film stock?

    LN: I love the vintage effect of expired film, it’s a risk because you never know If your pictures will appear or not. All my icons and inspirations in photojournalism were or are shooting in film, and that made me move towards it.

    AP: What are the inspirations to your road trips? How do you choose the routes?  Who do you go with? How long do they last?

    LN: My biggest inspirations for road trips are photographers William Eggleston and Robert Frank. I usually choose a state and then seek for small roads in the map. I try to travel with a friend but I'm usually by myself. When I plan to go farer, my road trips are longer. The last one I did was driving from LA to NYC back and forth. I was on the road for a month.

    AP: Your photography seems to a longing and yearning for the past - why is it so important for you to capture Old-America?

    LN: Vintage in general is really important to me and always has been. I don't think it is important for everyone to see the old America, but those who want to know, now or later, should get the chance to see that it was still around in the 21st century. It didn't stop in the 60s or so. We have it now, and some people are dreaming about it, they can get it now! It is not only the past.

    AP: Do you actively seek out places that look and feel retro, or do they come to you naturally through your surroundings?

    LN: They naturally came along while I’m on a road trip. If not I’m looking for them by driving in to small old towns.

    AP: What subject do you love photographing the most?

    LN: Cowboys!! I have a series of photographs called “Urban Cowboy”. I love shooting them they are a really interesting subject.

    AP: What interesting projects are you working on now?

    LN: I’m currently working on a book that I’d love to release at the end of next year.