"Chad Michael Ward is a critically-acclaimed photographer and filmmaker with over a decade of experience shooting musicians, celebrities and pretty faces in the urban wilds of Los Angeles.
His unique portrait and fashion portfolio has made Ward one of the more sought-after talents in the industry with work appearing in numerous galleries, magazines and books. Ward’s work has also been collected into several monographs including Black Rust, Autopsyrotica, DevilEngine, Dangerous Beauties Storyteller and Storyteller: NUDE." - www.thechadmichaelward.com
Danny Stygion: How did you get started in photography?
Chad Michael Ward: I originally started as a writer early on. I had (and still have) aspirations to write comic books and screenplays before I got sidetracked with art and photography. When I became a digital artist, I need to photograph people to use in my art. Originally this meant family and friends but eventually I started working with actual models. When I moved to Los Angeles, I started doing less digital art and more "straight" photography. Eventually this evolved into me doing photography pretty much full time.
Danny Stygion: What type of equipment and programs do you use to photograph and edit your work?
Chad Michael Ward: Tools: A Canon 7D, a 22" iMac running Photoshop CS3 for my desktop and a 17" MacBook Pro running Photoshop CS5 and Final Cut 7 for my laptop.
Danny Stygion: Which digital manipulation tools do you consistently use and focus on?
Chad Michael Ward: I'm strictly a Photoshop junkie.
Danny Stygion: How long does it take you to build your sets?
Chad Michael Ward: Depends on the project. I don't really do any major set building on most projects. It's usually a found location or something I drop in digitally later.
Danny Stygion: How did photography evolve into film directing and how did you break into music videos?
Chad Michael Ward: Just as I sort of fell into photography, the same holds true for directing. It's something that's always been in the back of my head, but not anything I thought I'd ever be able to act on or do. That all changed when I moved to L.A. and was invited to shoot some still photos on the set of Static-X's "Cold" music video that was being directed by my friend Nathan "Karma" Cox. The minute I got on set and watched Nathan do his thing, I knew this was something I wanted to get into. It took about 3 or 4 years from the moment I decided I wanted to do this until I got to direct my first video for Dragonlord's "Until the End".
Danny Stygion: You have stated that you are a big fan of horror films. Which horror films would you list as your favorites?
Chad Michael Ward: Hmm. That's a really long list. Off the top of my head I'd say some of my top horror films are Hellraiser, Martyrs, House of 1000 Corpses, Trick r Treat, the 1930s Universal Monster movies, Ginger Snaps.
Danny Stygion: I have read that Floria Sigismondi would keep a semi-sleep journal next to her bed and when she starts to drift off to sleep... that's when she would get her best ideas for images. Where do you get your inspiration and darker ideas from?
Chad Michael Ward: Most of my ideas come from my childhood; trying to recapture that youthful wonderment, a time when the world was so much bigger than us. As for the dark stuff, that's just who I am. Everything gets filtered through that dark lens.
Danny Stygion: You have stated that you are a big fan of David Fincher. What do you get out of his work and what did you think of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"?
Chad Michael Ward: The level of detail Fincher puts into his work has always been my favorite thing about him. He has a slick rawness to everything he does that I find inspirational. Having seen the original version of TGWTDT, I was hesitant to watch Fincher's version but I though he did a wonderful job and made his version just as engaging (and yet keeps that rawness) as the original.
Danny Stygion: Which single piece of art that you've created are you the most proudest or satisfied with?
Chad Michael Ward: I tend to hate everything I do within 30 seconds of completing it, but if I had to pick a favorite, it'd probably be "Victorian Blue", "Unholy Trinity" or "The Hierophant".
Danny Stygion: You have done several short films. Do you have plans to film a full length project at some point?
Chad Michael Ward: I go behind the lens in April to shoot my first feature length horror film with my business partner and producer Pearry Teo.
Danny Stygion: What projects are you currently working on?
Chad Michael Ward: I just wrapped videos for Lacey Conner and Coyote and I am currently prepping two music videos for Awaken the Empire as well as the aforementioned and as-yet-untitled horror film.