Filmmaker, photographer Dorian Warneck discusses new exhibit at 4th Wall

Dorian Warneck is debuting a photo exhibit at 4th Wall this week.

Dorian Warneck is a producer and editor with the local production company Lunch and Recess, and on the side, he’s a lifelong skateboarder, musician and an avid photographer. He’s debuting a new collection of photos called “Neighbors” this week at 4th Wall (formerly known as Jericho Arts), 815 Savannah Highway. The opening will be held Wednesday, beginning with an artist talk by Warneck at 5:30 p.m. The photographer spoke with the Charleston Scene this week about the collection.

Q: First, tell us a bit about the new photography exhibit debuting at 4th Wall this week.

A: My show ... is an exhibition of street and portrait photography shot in Charleston and elsewhere, all using 35mm film. “Neighbors” is a zine that I self-publish on a rough quarterly schedule as a means of getting my street photography work out into the world via a means other than the internet.

I leave the zines around town at coffee shops and stores for people to pick up for free. I also sell them online for cheap so that people out of town can get them if they want.

Since the first issue in January of 2015, “Neighbors Zine” has built a small local following and I’ve received orders from multiple countries in Europe, as well as Canada and Japan. Since most of the photos are taken in Charleston, it’s exciting to be able to show some of this work in an exhibit here.

Q: How did you land on this concept?

A: The Neighbors project sort of happened by accident. I decided I wanted to revisit 35mm film photography a couple of years ago, so I bought an old camera at a flea market.

I needed to shoot a test roll, so I walked around my street, which at the time was Race Street right near Burke High, and shot some portraits of my neighbors. When I got the film back and saw the results, something just seemed to click.

I immediately became obsessed and started shooting portraits of everyone around me. I slowly became more interested in shooting candid moments as well, and basically started spending all my money on film. I was sharing most of my photos on Instagram, but wanted them to have a more tangible existence, especially since 35mm film is such a real and tangible medium. That’s where the zine idea came from.

When Josh Silverman at 4th Wall asked me if I wanted to do a show, it just seemed obvious to show this body of work.

Q: What kind of background do you have in photography?

A: While I have no formal training in photography (or anything else), I’ve been taking photos and making videos since I can remember, and I do consider myself a professional. Although much of my professional experience lies in the world of moving pictures, I have on multiple occasions done commercial still photography.

Q: Since you also do videography and production work for the local creative firm Lunch & Recess, which are you more passionate about: film or photography?

A: I don’t think I could say I’m more passionate about either one. I love many aspects of both and I think having both of them be a major part of my life helps me stay inspired and motivated.

Q: How would you describe your overall style as a visual artist?

A: I would say my overall style is real and unpolished. I’m drawn to real life, real people, real (often times mundane) situations. I’m pretty far from a perfectionist (for better or worse) and tend to overlook and accept imperfections. I focus much more on the moments in my photographs than whether or not they are technically “good” photographs.

Q: Is there anything else you are working on that you hope to debut soon?

A: I do have a few other things I’m excited about, all happening this month basically. For the past few years I’ve been working on a feature documentary about my father called “The Color of Fire.” This is the first feature film I’ve directed, and the first feature to come out of Lunch and Recess, so we’re pretty excited about it.

The film will be premiering at the Indie Grits Film Festival in Columbia on Thursday, April 14. I also have a selection of photos showing during the Indie Grits Festival as part of their “Waterlines” theme. That exhibit is all photos of Charleston’s iconic summertime rainstorms and floods.