Interview: Brad Pogatetz - Photography

I fell in love with the above photograph and the rest of Brad Pogatetz's work last December at the One of a Kind Show in Chicago.  (I am sure my architecture roots had a little something to do with it.) Two months later, I received the above photograph (minus the watermark) matted and framed to hang in my living room for my 30th birthday.  I still do a double take every time I sit down on the sofa.  I had to highlight this incredible work here, and I recently had the pleasure of getting the man behind the lens to agree to a short interview and the use of his image above. Here is what Brad Pogatetz had to say about his work.

What attracts you to a site?

At most sites, I am initially drawn in by my curiosity. Quite often the facade of a building can be deceiving and the inside can be much larger or interesting than expected. Other times it is because of the style or purpose of the building.

How do you find your locations/gain access?

I am always looking for new locations to shoot. Some of them are places that I have driven by for years and then one day just decided to stop and take a closer look. Others I have discovered while driving around specifically looking for new subject matter. Sometimes I photograph at demolition sites. I also network with friends and have had architects contact me about rehab projects they are working on.

A lot of your work is centered around buildings, particularly dilapidated warehouse structures that you turn into beautiful photos.  Can you expand on your fascination with this subject?

I am fascinated by early industrial structures, especially factories, because of the architectural details and the fine craftsmanship that went into them. Many of these reinforced concrete structures are very utilitarian by nature, yet overall are very beautiful. With my background in engineering and machining, I also have a keen interest in what was produced in these buildings. 

I would imagine completing some of your shoots can be quite an adventure. Have you encountered anything particularly odd or unexpected while photographing these sites?

It is not odd to me, but I often encounter scrappers in buildings pilfering copper and aluminum.

How have the economic struggles of the building and manufacturing industry affected your work?

While the trend of sending manufacturing jobs offshore is not new, combined with the current economic status, it has led to a great number of empty industrial buildings and many demolitions. It is unfortunate, but it makes me even more passionate about capturing and preserving the beauty of these structures.

Fill in the blank: When I'm not taking photos, you will find me....

When I'm not taking photos or traveling, you will find me designing or fabricating something.

Thanks for the interview and inspiring work, Brad! Check out Pogatetz's photography here and at one of his upcoming exhibitions:

Art in your Eye: Batavia, IL on August 13-14th Lakeview East Festival of Arts: Chicago on September 11-12th Naperville Riverwalk Art Fair:  Naperville on September 17-18th

[Image property of and courtesy of Brad Pogatetz]