Friday, 27 May 2011

Kevin Tadge

Kevin Tadge
New York

You draw comics! How does work with your ambitions as a photographer? Are there any meeting points?

Draw comics! That’s maybe a little too flattering.  I can barely draw, and the comics aren’t very good.  I think there was about a year where I played with them out of an interest in that form of storytelling- one that basically (at least in my case) reduces ideas to the bare minimum of line and shape. So, right now, I don’t think there’s much competition with photography there.  If I could draw and draw well, then it might be a different story.

What was your favourite class in college, and has it shaped your interest in or perception of art in general or photography in specific?

Right now, I can only think of a documentary filmmaking class where discussion lead to the fascinating essay by Errol Morris on Roger Fenton’s Crimean war photographs.  The essay deals with which of two photographs was taken first and the truths that the possible sequences imply. I think the inseparable blending of fact and fiction within any photo is very interesting.  I definitely find myself leaning toward pictures where the possibility of moments being natural or staged isn’t quite distinguishable.  I’m also not that keen on what can be done to a photo on the computer - I’d much rather be given an image that was physically recorded/created and then decide what the reality of it is.

What does a normal day in Kevin Tadge’s life look like?

I don’t even know!  Anything can happen.  Some days I’m editing videos.  Some days I’m on the set of a short film or shooting a wedding or just holed up in my apartment writing or scanning photos or helping friends with projects or out wandering around the city.  There’s certainly plenty of variety.

And to what percentage is photography part of your future ambitions? Is it sometimes overruled by wishes to pursue other art forms?

Percentage-wise, I’d say it’s something like 40% photography, 50% film, and 10% writing prose.  But they all satisfy different ways of thinking.  For me, taking pictures is more like a form of meditation.  It’s a way of being present and focusing on what’s around me.  Whereas film and writing are like daydreaming.  They definitely balance each other out and I feel like I need both sides pretty evenly.   But I tend to take pictures as a break from the other.

What really happened on that magical weekend in Knoxville, that led to the foundation of 'The Laser Crab Revue'?

Oh, that…  But really, you should ask Jesse.  He came to me with the idea and I jumped onboard (and he made up that ridiculous intro/backstory).  It seems like we both wanted to do more writing outside of movie scripts.  That was probably the key factor.

What do you value most about artist collectives?

Acting as a kind of curator with LaserCrab allowed me to see a lot of work people were doing more or less in secret.  Sadly, most of it they didn’t want me to put up, but I was happy they felt like I could be an audience for them, and I hope that in some way I was supporting or furthering their creative endeavors.  I’m a little regretful it’s become such a static project.  The hope was that it would be both a community and an outlet for sharing stuff after graduation, but it’s basically dried up now.  Though maybe it’ll turn phoenix and rise from the ashes.  I have some new ideas for features, and I know Jesse has a few things bouncing around in his head.

And which personal goals do you wish to fulfill by engaging in such collectives?

I feel like I’ve started to answer this one already.  But personally, I think a collective can create a space for more dialogue about projects in progress.  Most people I know, myself included, tend to keep everything they’re making under wraps for as long as possible and even after they’ve finished and the creation has been published or screened, there’s a tendency to want to bury the thing or reject it to some extent.  But I think a lot can be learned through a serious give and take about a piece, whether it’s writing or photos or a film or whatever.  I guess the goal is to share more - to be more open.

What is the worst part of being in an argument with another artist?

I actually think I like arguing…  Arguments are tough in a collaborative relationship, because a lot of the time a compromise isn’t the best solution.  The middle ground is usually the least interesting.  So you’re stuck fighting it out to the end or you end up with something mediocre.  I think the hardest part is when you have your name attached and the piece ends up the opposite of what you wanted.

What defines the dynamics of photography for you?

For me a photo is a kind of balancing act.  It has to straddle the implicit and the explicit, the familiar and the new.  I think it also needs to be aesthetically pleasing without drifting into just being pretty.  It needs a certain amount of mystery.  I also tend to be more interested in bodies of work or photo books rather than individual shots.  I like the possibilities offered by the interplay between pictures and the potential for a larger narrative to emerge.  But there’s no exact formula for why a single image or a group of images works.  It’s very case by case.  All these questions could have huge answers…

Finally, what are your plans for this summer?

I’ve got two short film scripts that I’m thinking about making.  It’s been awhile since I’ve shot a film and I’m starting to get an itch.  I have this photo project that might be interesting, insane, impossible, or just terrible.  I can’t tell yet.  But my eye is really on those movies.

Reality, storytelling, fiction. Take a look at his work!

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