Justin Tyler Close

Los Angeles, CA

Justin Tyler Close is a Canadian born artist located in east Los Angeles, CA.

He has produced works for print in magazines such as Nowness, Office & Booooooom to name a few.

He’s an artist who’s been on our radar for a while now for his analogue photography and filmmaking.

We wanted to catch up with him and get to know a little more about the artist, his work and his plans ahead of exhibiting his works with us in 2021…


Copenhagen Contemporary

Founder / Designer / Creative Director

Where are you from, where are you based now? Can you tell us a little about both?

I’m originally from Canada, and now live in East Los Angeles, California. 

I’ve lived in LA for about 10 years now. It’s a love/hate relationship. 

In Canada, all I did was dream about California… In California, all I do is dream about Canada. 

Just like that. (One is cold, one is hot) 

I’m very much controlled by the weather… And in the words of the late great Harry Neilson… 

“Going where the weather suits my clothes” 

What got you into photography and how long have you been shooting for?

I started shooting when I was young. My grandmother always had a video camera around the house, so naturally my older brother and I would take it, and try it out. Following people around, shooting whatever.  National Geographic meets the suburbs.  Hiding behind bushes and all that… 

My childhood was mostly about basketball, and sports. All I cared about was going to the NBA. So photography didn’t really become a thing for me until after I attended film school… So, I would say in my mid 20’s I started to realize that it was a thing. And then it became everything… I became obsessed. (still am)

We love your polaroids, what is it about the format you like?

Thank you!

My favorite camera in the world is a Land Camera Polaroid that shoots FP-100 and FP-3000. (Although it’s impossible to find film these days). There’s something about ripping the film from its back, the raw negative, the smell, the chemicals, the stickiness of the glue, and then watching the picture slowly develop.

I used to follow Andy Warhol’s work back in the day, and he used The Big Shot Polaroid Camera with that funky flash bulb on top! My love for pictures is in process of making the image and with polaroids… you can really play with how you develop and fuck with it.  I find the mistakes, most interesting.

Can you tell us a little about the “Of Love and Shadows” and 1619 “Silverlake Blvd” series?

Of Love & Shadows is a collection of intimate images taken over the last five-six years. Mostly of my romantic relationships. Naturally, the person closest to me is the most interesting subject; so I take a lot of photographs, documenting my time with that person, both romantically and not. It’s also about my relationship to the natural world, traveling and shooting landscapes. www.justintylerclose.com/of-love-shadows/

1619 Silverlake Blvd was a documentary archival project. I lived at this residency house with my friend / painter Nouel Riel. The house was full of little trolls, spirits, so the house itself became the subject and all its happenings. I mostly just followed Nouel around, dressing up and painting in the yard etc. I also documented the evolution of our lives in this space, from the day we moved in until the day we moved out. It’s an on-going book / time capsule project that I’m still working on at my current address. www.justintylerclose.com/1619-silverlake-blvd

You’re also a filmmaker, how do you find photography and film both cross over in your work?

It’s all the same, the only difference is with photography I have more control. Films as you know, take a small army to create. It’s a lot of collaborating and planning. But with photography, it’s usually just myself and my ideas. It feels more immediate, like playing music or painting.  

With films, I write a lot of these fictional ideas, where it can drift into these fantasy realms, and with photography I find that it’s more about the truth. At least that’s how I feel today, tomorrow it might change! The one crossover is how I compose images… that’s the same in both mediums. 

Is there a specific feeling or thought you try to invoke in your image making?

To be honest, I try to not think about this too much. The result of an image. I do what I like, and make images that I like to look at. 

Whatever feeling the audience is getting from that image… is up to them and their own perspectives. 

What have you planned for 2021?

I hope to travel again. As you know, this year has been rough for all of us.  Other than the odd anxiety attack, I think I’ve made the best of it. I finished a screenplay and started to paint again and rewired some bad habits. I’ve achieved some things that I don’t think I would’ve done if it wasn’t for this pandemic. In a way, it slowed down time and allowed me to look at my work and myself in a new way… (a silver lining perhaps?)

In 2021, I hope to start putting together this film project. That’s the plan at least! Who knows.

Until then, I’ll be wishing, hoping, praying for everyone’s safety and for this damn virus to go away forever.

Where can we find you online?