Joshua Steadman of Steady Film has been a bit of a fixture around the factory in the last couple years. He's a photographer/videographer who wandered in our door one day and fell in love with all the cool chocolate-y work we're doing. Ever since that fateful day he's been using any excuse he can to shoot projects in the factory space. Most recently he wanted to experiment with creating some cinemagraphs of our chocolate making process. Rather than simply post these awesome pics we thought this would be a great opportunity to get to know Joshua a little bit better and show a bit of a retrospective of all the things we've worked on him with. Enjoy!

Winnowing nibs

[winnowing nibs, always a visually appealing exercise]

 How'd you get started as a photographer?

I’ve always taken pictures. The earliest photos I took were with my Dad’s Nikkormat camera. He had a few nice lenses, although I really had no idea at the time what each one did. Mechanically it was just a beautiful camera and I loved the sound the shutter made when a picture was taken, and then of course the corresponding film winding sound as the shutter was cocked again. Kind of a great introduction to the process for me. So my father was  really the start of all photography for me. He was capturing family outings, or interesting events; so the idea of marking time with photos is something that was imprinted on me fairly early.

which bar?
 
[decisions, decisions]
 
What's one of the weirdest things that's happened to you while on a shoot?
 
Since I’m also a video director, I’ll relay an interesting thing that happened while on a shoot in Albania. I had travelled there for a broadcast documentary, following a dwarf family from the States who went to a special needs orphanage in Elbasan, near the capital, to adopt a dwarf child. At one point the wife had a bit of a panic attack before a meeting with a local judge who was to decide if they could adopt, and hid in her room. Her husband went in with her, and was calming her down, reassuring her, and my camera man, sound man and myself were all outside their room door, listening in on the conversation. We were eavesdropping on a very important moment in this young couple’s lives together, and all felt a little embarrassed. Then after a few minutes they came out of their room, and the husband whispered to me that he thought that the episode would make for good tv, and I realized that they both knew we were listening. I also realized it was still a really emotional and charged time for them, and whether they knew we were there or not, it was powerful cinema.
 
stacking
 
[stack 'em!]

We met you when you wandered in the door one day and wanted to shoot some test footage of making chocolate. What attracted you to the factory?
 
I was talking with a DP friend of mine, Vernon Rudolph about shooting a camera test, and asked him if he knew of any interesting places we could shoot. As soon as he mentioned Starr and Sam, and Videri, I knew we should just go there and see what happened. I think just the idea of a chocolate factory immediately takes me back to childhood, and brings a lot of tastes and smells and feelings to the surface. I was happy as soon as I walked inside.
 
 

3 Questions-Videri Chocolate from steadyfilm on Vimeo.

What interests you about a subject? What are some ideas and concepts you find yourself returning to as a photographer and/or cinematographer?
 
People are really endlessly fascinating for me. And getting them to talk about what they’re passionate about makes for really interesting interviews. And then trying to illustrate those passions with pictures, motion or still, is really challenging and fun. You learn so much when you follow someone down their rabbit hole. I’ve been following Sam, Starr, and you for a while now, and I think theres still a whole lot to learn and discover about Videri.
 
 The Higgs family tours Videri
 
[The relatives of late, legendary North Carolina blues musician, George Higgs, enjoy Joshua Steadman's photos at Videri Chocolate Factory]

We hosted a photo show of yours a few months ago inspired by "roots music". Could you talk a little bit about what that means and what it means to you?
 
I found a group called SOOTS (which stands for Sustaining Roots Music), a local high school based effort to find local blues musicians, learn about blues and culture from them, and, ultimately, assist them financially, since a lot of the musicians they found were older and hadn’t found financial success, or what financial success they did find had long since run out. Charles Montague, a teacher at Raleigh Charter High School, founded the group, and leads students there in finding ways to get those musicians to the school for blues education days, and, annually, to gather at a local community center for a “Bluesfest.” They also give out mini medical grants to musicians in need, helping them with medical bills.
 
I’ve always been interested in blues music and culture, and started documenting their annual concerts and taking pictures during visits to the musician’s houses. Eventually I wanted to share the pictures with the community, and hopefully raise some money for SOOTS. You, Sam and Starr kindly agreed to host our event, and I had a great time sharing my passion about these photographs and SOOTS with all of you.
 
By the way, their last annual show is this April 25th, at the Longview Community Center. You can find information about tickets and learn more about the group here.
 
Josh With the Higgs family
 
[The Higgs family with Steadman (top right)]
 
What's your favorite thing about living in the Triangle?
 
The fascinating people I’ve met, and the friends I’ve made, make it a great area for me and my family. The fact that I can sometimes make films and take photographs of these individuals is really fulfilling.
 
on a boat!
[Steadman with friends (pictured middle)]