Thursday, 21 July 2011

Damian Beard

Damian Beard
United Kingdom

Which part of the "picture-taking-process" do you enjoy the most?

I'm not sure, it probably changes a lot, depending on what I'm doing.  Sometimes I'm having a good time doing whatever and I'll just take a picture without thinking about it, which will turn out good, like this one.  Other times I don't enjoy taking photos at all; I was having the worst day when I took this picture, for instance: I thought I was going to get beat up and robbed, I felt like hell, hung-over, and proper disgusting. But I love the picture that I came away with.  I take a lot of photos, because I'll see something and will want to see what it might look like as a photograph. So I enjoy my own curiosity whether I'm having a good time or not.  The best bit out of the whole thing is waiting for my films to get developed and bricking it that nothing will come out.

And what is it that you're hunting for with your camera?

What I want to get, when I take a picture, is a print or an image that is almost like a made up thought or experience or something.  I take most of my photos out of curiosity to see what stuff looks like when it's photographed. The finished photo doesn't have to resemble what it was that I had actually photographed; for instance, if you went to this place, it probably might not look like this. Maybe there would be vacancies or you wouldn't be standing in the right place to see the signs or you wouldn't notice some of them, but the photo brings all the signs together to invent something that isn't really there, and that's what I want to capture with my camera.  I don't really hunt for it, but I definitely keep an eye out for it.

Who has been the biggest critic regarding your photographic work?

Me.  It takes a lot for me to like any of my photos, I've got boxes of prints that I think are just trash.  I don't show my photos to too many people either, at the same time I'd like more people to see them, so I could get more criticism and take better pictures. Harvey helps me out though, and tells me what he likes.

In art, often it all seems or is claimed to be subjective. But what defines a "badly taken picture" for you?

Anything that just feels or looks forced or unnecessarily complicated, whether it's because it's too staged and is trying not to be, or whether it's a photo that didn't need to be taken in the first place.  Sometimes you see something awesome that you really want to photograph, but looking at stuff with a camera is so different to just being somewhere or seeing stuff in person. Sometimes the two views just don't add up and there isn't a decent photo to take; if you take a photo then, then it's going to be bad.

Would you consider being a professional art critic someday?

No.  Unless this question is a job offer, in which case, yes, I have few scruples and need the cash.

Which art form would you say is most similar or different to photography?

Maybe painting? You've got the same kind of decisions to make when painting as you do when you’re taking a photo. You also have to overcome the same kind of problems when presenting a painting or a photo. For instance, unlike in film or a piece of writing, there isn't a voice to describe what you're trying to say or what you're thinking, there's just a static silent image.  And you're limited by all sorts of circumstances, too, for instance your canvas or your viewfinder is only so big so you've got to choose what to include, what’s important, what's dragging your picture down … You don't have an extended time period where you can show several things from different perspectives like you could in a movie.  I think that in the end, photography is really unique, though.

Do you think that it is important for an artist to exchange with other artists, or do you prefer the romantic notion of the lonely individual?

It’s important for sure, even if that exchange consists of you looking at the work of somebody else.  I'm pretty rubbish and don't really know any other photographers or anyone that I really talk to, and I'm not too good at doing this kind of thing over the internet either. But I think that's probably a bad thing. And it doesn't feel very romantic.

Summer in the city or summer at the beach?

Summer in Barcelona, a city with a beach.

Let's see if things work on film. Take a look at his work!

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