We had the good fortune of connecting with Tina Paul and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tina, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
Inspiration comes from inner thoughts, surroundings and culture. It can be a place, a person, an object or idea to explore within the depths of sensitivity and what is seen. When you see beauty, you visually define beauty, in nature, sadness, history and life in Miami. There is beauty in most things we see and experience so it is about how we connect in each moment. As a photographer it can be a significant occasion or memories that resurface. Inspiration can be found everywhere in our environment and relationships.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am actively photographing new subjects using technology while in my professional work I’m doing photo research for client projects and managing my archive. Photographs take on new meanings and have historic importance over time. I began my career before digital photography and became proficient with film and darkroom skills. Artistry and perception combined with access, trust and style are characteristics that define my work. My photographs have an insider’s perspective of being there in the moment. To be in the right place at the right time is important to get that special photograph, and how you connect to people and situations is equally significant. I am most known for my work in nightlife photography, having photographed inspirational DJs like Larry Levan, the legendary nightclub Paradise Garage, and the notorious Club Kids. My photographs play a larger role to my cameo in recent films, “Love Is In The Legend” and “Larry’s Garage.” New books that include my photographs are, “New York Club Kids” by Waltpaper, “The Club King” by Peter Gatien and Debbie Harry’s “Face It.” My Miami debut of New York nightlife photographs from the 80’s and 90’s was during Art Basel 2015 in the exhibition “Beyond the Limelight” at Keni Valenti’s Museum of Fashion in Wynwood, and afterwards at Patricia Field’s Art Fashion pop-up boutique. Years of perseverance in what I was doing together with confidence and support resulted in recognition. Currently my photographs are in two exhibitions in London, “Electro: From Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers” at The Design Museum and “Grace Before Jones” at Nottingham Contemporary. Art and photography represent social and political statements while activism can be considered performance art. My professional time has been divided between my lifelong photography work and community involvement. In 2016 I was elected to local government and currently serve as Vice Mayor for Town of Surfside.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite place is the beach, especially since we are still affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The beach is our greatest asset and very calming for these uncertain times. Since I live in Surfside, I recommend a day at the beach ending with drinks at the newly restored, historic Surf Club outdoor terrace. A visit to Wynwood to see the art murals, then tour the Design district and venture over to South Beach to see the Art Deco architecture and stroll Lincoln Road. Something fun that I would like to do is the tour of Stiltsville or the Everglades and if they were visiting for a week, definitely take a road trip to Key West. Other beautiful areas unique to Miami are the Ancient Spanish Monastery, Vizcaya, Little Havana, Bayside, Downtown and Brickell.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am grateful for having had parents who believed in my talents and abilities and supported my artistic adventures. My partner Arhlene continues to be with me on our wild ride together in life. Good friends, family and community provide encouragement to accomplish shared goals that confirm our meaningful existence.
TinaPaul_2017 by Arhlene Ayalin 2015_MuseumofFashion_1 2015_MuseumofFashion_2 2016_ArtFashion_1 2016_ArtFashion_2 2016_Surfside_Invite 2017_DC 2019_Electro_Paris 2019_NYClubKids courtesy of Tina Paul