Thursday, 9 December 2010

Harvey Hartley

Harvey Hartley
Petersborough, England

Have you ever had and followed the urge to run home and get your camera in order to photograph something you have spotted passing by?

Yes, but they're the photos that end up on the cutting-room floor, by the time you get your camera nothing is quite the same, the moment has gone. That's why I always have my camera with me, it's become obsessive - an unattractive trait.

In connection to this, do you think that luck plays a big role in photography?

None of my photographs are pre-planned or set up, so I only have luck to rely on, it’s just a matter of keeping my eyes open.

Do you use your mobile's camera? Would you classify this as some sort of a guilty pleasure/necessity?

A while ago I started to play with the camera on my old phone because it gave me really nasty CCTV style images with strange little nuances, but now the camera I have on my phone is too good and really boring so I don't bother anymore.
I work as a graphic designer, so in my spare time I try to escape from the digital world and 35mm film enables this. It's nice to create things for myself that may not look so shiny and polished but the goal is always the same - to create a well made image no matter what the process or medium.

When thinking about all those new gadgets and electronic devices, which do you deem the most unnecessary?

As long as Boots keep developing film I'm happy! It's not for me to say what is and what isn't necessary, I guess gadgets are only unneccessary when nobody benifits from them, I'm sure there's somebody out there that found true companionship with a tamagotchi, but however.

You have a degree in illustration. How far can you implement your knowledge from this area into your work as photographer and vice versa?

Yes, I have a degree in illustration but I work in many different disciplines within the world of design - everything from illustration to video, print to animation and one informs the other. I imagine I take photos like an illustrator, maybe my compositions would be frowned upon by someone with a photography degree, maybe the way I use shapes and colours might be a little different, it’s all academic really.

Returning to photography, what do you wish to convey through taking and exhibiting pictures? Is there something you find yourself searching for or do you rather shoot away?

There are certain criteria I look for in a subject but it's not a list that could be put into words. I guess there is a common thread running through my work but I like to think that it's not contrived in any way, I'm not sure why but I feel that I can express myself though photography a lot clearer than I can through other means.

If you were to choose your favourite from the pictures shown here, which one would it be and why?

I have a fondness for the 'Abandoned Rose' image as it has an accidental story-telling element to it, I like other photographs from the same period because of the connection between the images and that time in my life rather than the images alone. I promise to give up this photography farce as soon as I take a shot that I'm truly happy with.

What do you enjoy looking at yourself more: pictures with or without people on them?

I wouldn't put that kind of restriction on viewing a piece of art. I try to be broad-minded, I love the work of Nan Goldin and Larry Clark but I also love William Eggleston and Stephen Shore. In my own work I very rarely take photos of people (I can't think of any at the moment) - maybe my friends just aren't as exciting as Larry Clark's or maybe I'm just to shy and awkward. 

Your most indulgent purchase for your photographic work?

I wish I could tell you stories akin to diamond encrusted giraffes and cocaine- carrying dwarfs but alas all my cameras are second hand and they're usually given to me.

I'd say the camera here is an attractive trait. Take a look at his work.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Garrett Lockhart

Garrett Lockhart 
Nanaimo B.C.

Your body of work is like a tribute to film photography. Is the engagement in analog photography something 'near and dear' to you?

Something about film has always excited me.  The fact that you really have to thing about what you are shooting, and even when the moment is captured, you have to wait to see the finished result.  I love film.

What would you say are the charms of 'suburbia' as a photographical setting and motive?

How everything moves.  People, cars, bikes, flashing lights.  It's hectic, but beautiful.

And does this stand in contrast to nature photography, or do you see overlapping themes in both areas?

The same thing can be said about nature photography.  Nothing is ever still.  Grass in the wind, trees rocking back and forth, a stream trickling.  

When you look at your own pictures, which is more often the case: you see the images in vivid remembrance or as time held still?

I would say as time held still.  That's what people take photos for.  To make time stop.  

Connected to this: Would you say that engaging in photography implies a romantic notion of dealing with time, or the attempt to historicize experienced moments?

Definitely a romantic notion of dealing with time.  Historicize sounds a bit harsh.  Capturing images should be a kind of intimate thing, I believe.

Do you enjoy it when the colours on the pictures you take are different than the objects in
real life, or does it rather bother you?

I love it.  It's a complete surprise with film, and that's why I enjoy it so much.  

Do you find it difficult to throw pictures away, no matter how bad and irrecognizable the images are?

Yes, I do.  A few weeks ago, only two prints could be developed on a roll I had taken.  The photos turned out horrific, yet I couldn't throw them away.  It seemed like it just wasn't right.

If you were to establish a photography/art agency, upon which premises would you base the work conducted within it?


Would it even interest you to engage in such organizational work, or would you say that the individual life and work of an artist is what you would prefer doing?

I would rather work on my own.  I work better that way anyway, but I focus more on what is around me when I'm alone.

Finally, when you take a moment to look at the set of pictures shown here, what is it that goes through your mind?

Curiosity, really.  We are curious beings.

Altering colours and grain. Take a look at his work!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Sid Black

Sid Black
Oxford, England

I come from Oxford, England and am - unfortunately - still visiting school. I love art, especially photography; thus I can't wait to get out of school and take pictures non-stop. 

But it appears good things come along with school, too... This series was taken during Sid's school trip to New York City.

I took the following three pictures during one of my fondest memories while in New York: we were on the first day of our school trip, and had planned on visiting Central Park. We arrived there in early evening and the light was amazing: it was just peeking through the trees and buildings onto the rocks we were sitting on. It was almost too beautiful. Most people were sketching, but I couldn’t stop snapping away with my AE-1.

The next picture was taken in the McDonalds on Times Square. Being on Times Square was a bit of a gift and a curse: the lights, signs and tall buildings were amazing, but it was a little crowded and all in all overwhelming. So it was nice to sit down and rest. Plus, I even got a free wrap!

After that we walked back from McDonalds and went to this corner where our group was supposed to meet. The light from the building down the street was falling so nicely onto the metal grill, so I just had to take a few pictures! Then we headed off to the Empire State building and went right up to the top of it.

These were taken right from the top of the Empire State. I don't know how to describe this experience, but it was just like nothing I've ever done before. I'm usually scared of heights but up there I felt very comfortable. 

A few days later, when we were on a boat taking us around Manhattan, showing us the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero - and everything else there is to see - I took the next picture. It was pretty amazing, although maybe a little a bit crowded, but I really like the colours that I got out of this film (which actually was some brand-less long expired one).

During our last full day of our trip, we were walking along the High Line, an abandoned railway line in Chelsea – quite near to where we were staying. The High Line itself wasn't all that great, but the view from it down this street was amazing. Oh yeah, and I burnt this print with a match after being inspired by this photo.

On the last walk back to our hotel -  the very last night we were staying in it – I took this picture: there was a lot of fog, and you could hardly see the tops of the higher buildings. This photo seriously doesn't do it justice, because it probably was one of the best things I have ever seen.

Early the next morning we took the plane back to England. 

Here: young photographer's enthusiasm coupled with love for NYC. Take a look at his further work!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Shayne Stroud

Shayne Stroud
Austin, Texas

As self-indulgent this might sound; does your own work ever inspire you?

Inspiration for me bounds from forces like music and film. My own work is certainly an inspiration though I am hard pressed to know if it is the making of it, or the actual work when revisited that inspires me more. I get so excited when I forget about an image and then on finding it again buried deep in some unorganized heap of files or prints, exuming the memory of the initial emotions/inspiration that went into making it. Sometimes I am inspired by it to make new works with the same intentions.

Quick return to photography: when planning on a picture, is it more often a mood or an image you wish to convey?

A mood is usually the first inckling of inspiration I have, and I live my life and make my work guided by my ever flippant emotions. I do not think it is intentional nor planned, but as my work is born out of an emotion so I suppose the result would convey that emotion. I never draw out images or plan down to the smallest snidbit before a shoot. I have whimiscal ideas and dreamy hopes for what it may become, but in the process of shooting the moment arises and I know that I have got what I wanted. I guess that is an emotional decision too, and when editing the finals I seem to choose those that fit the mood and…well as I do not wish to push any meaning or mood on the viewer, I do hope they are moved in some way nonetheless.

Within modern art, which contemporary artist(s) have you perceived to be most groundbreaking?

I do not keep up with the art world as much as I have been told I should. Often my inspiration is derived from music, film, or daily life. However, there are artists that I can not help but notice. Joel-Peter Witkin is a favorite of mine. Using older techniques, and unconventional subjects he has made haunting work that always excites me. I also greatly appreciate the work of Sally Mann. Maybe not so much all her work, but the beauty of capturing an image of someone you love so deeply is something…. I heart Harmonie Korine, Catherine Breillat, and David Lynch, too!

The perfect autumn afternoon would imply…

Coffee, a bike ride in a just-bought vintage dress, and more coffee.

Nostalgia on the rocks, in bright, glossy colours. Take a look at her work!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Matthew Kanbergs

Matthew Kanbergs
Brooklyn, New York

You're currently exhibiting your first solo photography exhibition. How does that feel?

It's very rewarding to see high-quality, well-framed prints of my work in an exhibition. I was asked to do the show a couple of days after I came back from Europe and only had about two weeks to put it all together. Luckily, I was able to dedicate all of my time to the show and am pleased with the result. I'm looking forward to future opportunities where I will have more time to focus on the exhibition. 

The name of the exhibition is "We Were There". What's the concept behind the collection/series?

All of the photographs I chose for the exhibition reminded me of the same feeling. Each image captures this vague memory that without being put on film, would have been forgotten altogether. The photos were all shot in locations that share a similar anonymous quality, with people that are not fully revealed. When I was choosing the photographs, I felt that the images captured something that wasn't singular, there was a dialogue taking place, which is how I formed the title "We were there...".

What is it that provokes and excites you to engage in photography?

I get a lot of satisfaction from shooting photography. I enjoy always having a camera with me to capture whatever I want. Sometimes I'll grab my XA with eight pictures left on the roll and head out for a whole day knowing I can only shoot eight photos, just waiting for the right time. Since I only shoot film, I don't worry about taking multiple shots of the same thing – but I'm always shooting with different cameras and film, so I get a wide-variety of photos on each roll, some things I probably would have forgotten about. It's a very convenient medium, but one where I feel that dedication really helps you to develop as an artist. 

In your joint project "Propeller Brooklyn" you work together with Natalie Okupniak, who, on her website, defines herself as a writer in the first place. What would you say is most rewarding in a cooperative project between photography, traditional art and writing such as yours? 

It's nice to not have such a narrow focus all of the time. Propeller Brooklyn is working to be a platform of sorts. It started out just being about fiction and has since transformed into something else completely. I'm dedicating basically all of my time to creating something out of Propeller, but it doesn't feel like a job to me, since Propeller can be a piece of flash fiction, a photograph, a print, or some pickled vegetables – we haven't really set any boundaries for it. If I've got writer's block, then I shoot some photos, if I'm out of film then I can work on a print – it's just about creating something, anything really, and it's pretty fulfilling.

Is there something that you yourself enjoy especially within the process of writing?

Writing is unlike anything else. It's perhaps the single most difficult thing in my life. It's very intimate, even though I really try not to put much of myself into what I write. I've also got a problem where when I use my computer I tend to open up about ten different windows and get easily sidetracked, so I mostly write on an old Royal De Luxe typewriter. Even though it's difficult for me to focus on writing as much as I'd like to be, I'm still always writing fiction in my mind, and putting down little notes, so that when I actually bring myself to create something again, I'll at least have some material for it. The thing is, I probably enjoy a finished piece of writing more than anything else I've put time into creating, mostly because of how difficult it is to create in the first place, and then to get published.  

On "Propeller Brooklyn"s website you state that each photograph you take is "anonymous" in its time and place. What do you mean by this? And aren't there always some (hidden) clues?

Of course there are clues, I don't especially try to hide the location or the people in the photos. It's just how I enjoy shooting. I'm working on putting together a book of what I captured in Amsterdam, but a lot of what I shot isn't how you'd normally imagine the city. I didn't just shoot the canals and coffee shops, or gutters and bums either, I just took pictures of what I felt made the place for me. When I shoot I'm constantly thinking of how it fits into a series or collection, and I find myself capturing similar shapes and environments or actions – but I generally don't find myself taking pictures of monuments or other immediately recognizable places, I shoot what would otherwise be ordinary occurrences, things that just take place in my life. 

Do you think that a certain amount of idealism is necessary to be an artist, or more correctly maybe, to live the life of an artist?

I think you definitely have to be an idealist. I can't speak for other artists, but when I start to think about the reality of things, it's hard for me to really consider pursuing art seriously. But somehow I've been able to dedicate the last four months to making something out of Propeller, and haven't had to have a proper job. I just don't think about it, I don't question it, I just keep on working on my art in all forms, and I keep convincing myself that it's all going to come together somehow. 

What do you do to clear your head from everyday life, work, projects and thoughts?

I really enjoy cooking and drinking.  

You live in Brooklyn, but travel a lot. Is there any place you have visited and considered to move to?

I'd love to move to Amsterdam. It's where I see myself really living. I'm from California; I came to Brooklyn a little over a year ago before ever visiting New York. Growing up in California was amazing; I had a car and could go south to the desert or north to the mountains in just a few hours. But Amsterdam felt like the first place where I wouldn't really mind spending the rest of my life. New York can be just a bit too busy. I lived in London and loved it, but it's got a lot of the same problems that New York has. The San Francisco Bay Area is great, there's nothing like the Pacific Ocean and the west coast. It's very explorable. But Amsterdam felt livable; the quality of life there is unbeatable. 

What do you consider more important within your own photographic work: flexibility or constancy?

Definitely flexibility. I've acquired an insane amount of cameras, each one unique in some way. You have to adapt to the situation, the equipment, and external forces. I'm always trying to capture what interests me, and if I stuck to one thing then I wouldn't be happy with the outcome most of the time. When I was in Europe I shot a wedding and did it all with an Olympus XA, a Canon F1-N and a Bronica ETR-Si, with a bunch of different types of film. I shot it just like I'd shoot anything else, within limits – but I was flexible and didn't think too much about it, I just took pictures of how I thought they'd like to remember their wedding.   

Finally, which artist has inspired you most lately?

I found this amazing bookshop in Amsterdam, with a bunch of art books and whatnot in it. For ten euro I picked up a copy of "What We Want" by Francesco Jodice. It's inspiring because it doesn't feel unreachable. I know that the publishing world is all out of order and that sooner or later everything is supposedly going to be viewed on a screen, but I really appreciate the quality of paper and the act of printing something and having art be tangible. That's what I really want out of Propeller Brooklyn, I want to be able to print things that I feel should be printed. It's easy to just click through photos or skim some writing real quick on the internet, but holding a piece of art is something else entirely. I think people will start to get it again soon.

Writing photography. Take a look at his work!