Pirates with Attitude
Timothy O’Malley premieres his gritty photographs of a modern day gang of pirates on Milk Made today. Laced in smoke and bleeding from tattoos, we are given a look at four friends who hang out, give tattoos in their trailer, and are saving their money to buy a pirate ship. Traveling an hour and a half outside of Paris to capture the professional ruffians for a day, Timothy came away with a gritty piece of french culture. His rebelliously alluring photos of the laid back crew show just how appetizing living like miscreants can be. We sat down with Timothy to ask him about this project and his how he started in photography.
Milk Made: What was the first photograph you ever took?
Timothy O’Malley: I think I was around 7 or 8, my mom gave me an old Nikon camera. I went into the woods, hiked and played around. Taking pictures of trees and the sky, really simple stuff. I remember going and getting it developed at CVS and half the shots were totally out of focus, underdeveloped or overdeveloped. I had no idea what I was doing, but I just went for it.
MM: When was it that you decided to go into photography?
TM: I had an internship going into my freshman year of college with Russell James. Right off the bat I was helping with a lot of Victoria Secret shoots, and a ton of cool stuff like that.
I started really shooting fashion during and after that internship. But along the way I was documenting my trips home to see my family in West Virginia and all the characters on the way. I still love fashion photography but right now I’m super passionate about portraiture and shooting real characters. I feel like the Pirates with Attitude project is some of my strongest work to date just because it’s so raw and real and it kind of speaks for itself.
MM: How did this project come about?
TM: It was during a trip I took to visit my girlfriend Chloe Sos in Paris. A couple weeks before I headed out, she told me about this his crew who she had learned about from her friend.
She mentioned it over the phone asking if I was interested in shooting these guys, saying it could be a great project. I was hesitant at first and then she sent me a link to their youtube video and more info on them and it definitely peaked my curiosity. So not only was I packing a bunch of clothes but a bunch of camera equipment too which I wasn’t planning on. If it wasn’t for her this whole thing wouldn’t be possible.
MM: And they give tattoos out of a trailer, does it travel or is it parked?
TM: The trailer is parked on Camille’s family’s property. And the property is like a little dream land. There is a beautiful rose garden and a bunch of different amazing elements around there. It was an ideal place to shoot.
MM: Can you tell me a little bit about the crew and what they were like?
TM: The main artist is Camille, he goes by “Mr. Bass”. He is the main tattoo artist in the group. He was a really amazing host.
Jauntan also does tattoo work, and Tebow is the spokesman of the group. He is doing the branding and creating their name. They are building up their image and just released a hat line. I don’t know if it’s all talk about them saving their money to buy a pirate ship. But even if it’s not it’s a great idea.
Bruno and Tebow are brothers. Bruno was the chiller in the group. Eyes glassed over, thin slits. Had to have been stoned all day.
MM: Sounds like a great way of living
TM: Yeah I mean their whole thing is “Piracy is the essence of freedom and non conformity”. That’s what they go by. They don’t really care about anything other than what makes them happy.
MM: Did you get a tattoo from them?
TM: No by the end of the day I was so exhausted that when it came up I thought “I can’t do this right now” but I should have. Looking back I think “fuck that would have been pretty cool”.
MM: Do you shoot digital or film?
TM: I shoot digital a lot. But a bit ago I got bored with digital and being able to see what you get right away. So there was about a year period where I said screw all digital and shot only film. My camera was a Contax T2. It was incredible. It was a very simple camera only being able to change the f stops and an on camera flash. But some of the black and white images that would come off that camera were incredible. And even just getting the whole feeling back of excitement.
Giving your film away to be developed and looking forward to when you get it back and running home tearing open the package, throwing the negatives aside, and just sifting through and seeing what you have. I got that excitement back when I was shooting with T2 but realized I have to shoot digital, you can’t not.
MM: Do you have any new projects you’re working on now?
TM: A project I have coming up is an event out in West Virginia that’s called Jamboree in the Hills. It’s a country music event, me and all my friends go out there for it.
Its all country music, you camp out for four or five days and you get super redneck and just kinda go at it. My mom is one of 11 children so I have like 50 immediate family out there and 20-30 of them who go out and rent campgrounds.
MM: Wow that’s a lot of family!
TM: Yeah I’m out there wrestling my cousins who weight 250 lbs. and they just whoop my ass. I went last year and came back so beat up, it gets rowdy.
This year I want to document it more because there hasn’t been anything on it. And it’s just such a different culture than the city.
I mean for example each morning everyone gets up early even though they are hung over and they all huddle around the entrance of where the concert is held. They call it “the redneck run”. Where all at once the fence is released and all these people are running across this field throwing down their tarps marking their ground for the concert that day. And it’s four days of that.
MM: Geez, well thanks for taking the time to talk to us. And definitely let us know how Jamboree in the Hills goes, we’d love to see your photos of that.
Photos by: Timothy O’Malley