"Adrian Miles is a photographer and filmmaker residing in Brooklyn. His most recent project 'Pas De Deux' is a collaboration he did with his mother about movement and self empowerment. To get a taste of his work, scroll down and check out the trailer to the film. His photography is a mix of moody nudes and radical personalities. Luckily, I had the opportunity to take photos and have a conversation with Adrian over dinner."
1. What is intimacy?
Intimacy is being bare. Obviously everyone's definition is different- a lot of people think it's about sex and for others it's about sharing a private, very special, aspect of themselves to another being. It's about being present. It's about being here.
I'm having a pretty intimate moment with this plate of food right now.
2.' Pas De Deux" is intimate in so many different ways: it's a film you worked on with your mother, it's about dance, and it takes place in the privacy of the characters boudoir. Why this subject matter? How was it working with your mother? And will all 4 short films be just as intimate?
The series is about self empowerment and self improvement through movement. This story particularly, follows a woman experiencing self transformation, which we all have, but a lot of times we see it through a superficial lens of Hollywood. Really though, it's for women, and women of color specifically. They are generally given roles that are stereotypical- jail bird, the drunk, the drug addict, and this, and that... the same fucking roles over and over as if we aren't experiencing shit as actual humans. We too experience healthy relationships and healthy love.
Also, it's for women to have a positive image, especially body image. I can't speak for women because I am not a woman. But being raised by a woman who is a feminist and who is willing to say "fuck you, I'm gonna do this because this is what is best for me" needs to be shown. I believe that women of all shapes and shades should be appreciated and acknowledged.
Being raised by my mom, and us being so close, made her more of a sister. Obviously she's a mom when she's gotta be my mom, but it was a blessing being raised by her and being so close with her. I think if we didn't have that type of relationship, seeing eye to eye on things, or sharing similar philosophies if not the same at times, then doing this project together wouldn't be possible. Since this is her vision and passion as a spiritual guide, former pilates instructor, yoga teacher, and martial arts teacher too, it's kind of a product of everything she is into. She has so many ideas. My interest in photography, and now film making, allowed us to combine forces, along with my sibling Ella, who is also a big part of it too. Working on it together as a family was really dope because we have experienced life and traumas and achievements all together. It was only right for us to work as a team since we know each other so well. There was no reason not to collaborate... If you know you can do something, just do it.
3. Your nude photography is very sensual. I like that it's not explicit; It's moody; and it's honest .... How do you create your space with your subjects to get them comfortable? How do you think food brings comfort to those at home, when meeting new friends, or on a first date?
Honestly don't know how to answer that. In normal shoots, I encourage people to just be comfortable and as natural as possible. For some, getting their photo taken can be unnerving but for others they come alive. All depending, but most importantly it's about trust. Like, "hey. I'm not a creep. This isn't for that. Totally not about that shit. This is strictly art, simply expression. I want you to be able to express yourself and be as comfortable as possible." It's about capturing intimacy or a moment or a mood.
I don't want to be an asshole because I'm really not full of myself.... if anything it's the opposite, but generally people are just pretty comfortable around me.
I want for people to be comfortable around me..... And not even for me, but for you. I want you to be comfortable for you. I want you to be happy for you. That's just the kind of person I am. Plus, when you are taking someone's photo, you don't know their insecurities or what they are really proud of, they know that but you may not know that, and for them to allow you to take pictures of them, especially nude, there is levels to it and that's amazing.
Food in general is something we all need to survive. It's that one common thing everyone can share, no matter what your differences are. If you do share things in common or want to get to know someone, food is that bridge. Not only does it feed you but it feeds so much more than that. If you're into someone and they cook for you..... that's some hot shit.
"I want for people to be comfortable around me..... And not even for me, but for you. I want you to be comfortable for you. I want you to be happy for you."
4. After talking the other day, you said you relate food to your mother and her showing love to you and your sister through cooking. Can you expand on that? How does the intimacy from your mothers cooking differ from the intimacy you feel when cooking for a lover or being cooked for by a lover?
The way my mother loved us is the way I hope I love others. My mom raised me, got her masters degree, was working, got with my dad, took care of him, me, and my sister, and two dogs, and paid the bills, AND cooked. She did all of that and she still cooked? Anyone can easily throw some shit in the microwave or throw whatever on the table and call it a day, which is totally understandable, especially if you're doing so much. With that being said, that's why I value cooking so much because it means a lot. That's what I would like to do for others, like "hey. I care for you. I love you." I love cooking for my girlfriend or my roommates when I have the time.... or when I have groceries. Whatever I have, I'll cook it for you. We may just have spinach and mushrooms right now but I'm about to make you the best fuckin spinach and mushrooms you'll ever have. Seeing that satisfaction and wanting to satisfy someone is really the simplest thing you can do. We all eat.... it's not that hard.
5. You're pretty political on Facebook, which I love, how do you feel about our food industry's current state? What do you think would help the problem?
I wish I knew more. From what little I know and the observations that can be made, the fact that you have to pay double to three times the price for something that is good for you or said good for you just because it has an organic label on it,whether it's actually organic or not, says a lot. Not everyone can afford that and it's obvious that there is no Whole Foods or any health food stores for low income families or students who are working. What are we suppose to eat? Not to knock affordable grocers but do these businesses have options? Do they know that their customers want new things? Then again, is it the customer? Who's duty is it? We should be able to trust our government to provide us with healthy food, but they don't give a shit. They just want to make money. You have atrocities like Monsanto and they clearly don't give a shit about us..... they just want to make money. Especially off of what we eat because that's the easiest thing. Like "humans need to eat. Let's capitalize off of that." Whose responsibility is it? Is it the people? Is it the business owners? Is it the government?
The only thing we can do is educate each other and encourage each other to really make changes. Like growing our own or providing those skills and knowledge to try and help each other out. There are things that can be done, but I think it's everyones responsibility.
6. And finally, tell us about an intimate experience you've had over a meal?
Theres been a lot.... but the one I am thinking of right now was when me and my girlfriend were cooking. It was just us in the apartment, I have two other roommates, but they were out. It was just us and we were making food, listening to music, talking, and dancing around. Which lead to other things, but it was such an intimate and fun moment that food created. Not only that, but food brings us together. If food can bring enemies together, at least for a moment, just to be able to eat and then you can go back to killing each other, think about food bringing lovers together, you can only imagine the love and positivity.