Saturday, 21 September 2013

K. Eleanor Bleier

Chicago, US
website flickr blog


I am guessing that most of the people on your pictures are your friends?

Yes, good buddies and good times. It's rare that I take a photo of something that isn't personal.

Does it ever feel like taking a huge ride on memory lane when you look through your photos? Do you get nostalgic?

How could I not?

What is freedom to you?

Trying to pinpoint that is like nailing Jell-O to a tree... Maybe it's that movie montage feeling; hand out of the window, surfing the wind with your palm, Rolling Stones playing on the radio kind of thing. I don't know. Just laughing.

Is there one thing that you can single out that you feel really hinders you from being creative? How do you deal with it?

I place a high value on my personal alone time. When I'm all holed up in my room, it can benefit me creatively for things like putting together a new zine or something similar. But my photos are of documentary nature, so if I'm not around friends, there's not as much to photograph, and that again hinders me. I'm not an antisocial or shy person, I just sometimes need to be alone. My friends and I always joke about 'French exit'-ing parties and shows, not saying bye to anyone, just dipping out. I'm good at that.

Is there an art form you admire but would not consider engaging in yourself?

There is a lot of stuff I admire a ton, but there isn't not much I wouldn't be down for trying. I'd love to learn different printmaking techniques... But wait, maybe tattooing, that's it. I used to think I wanted to do that when I was younger, but it's too much pressure. Too exacting. Bold permanent lines really aren't something I'm good at. A good tattooist is really admirable.

Do you like to make plans?

Very much. I always like to have things to look forward to. I had a really long conversation with one of my friends the other day that got me so hyped: it was about travel plans, things in general, everything. I make a lot of lists. The beginning of this summer, when I was still in Indiana, I had a pretty long running list of weird roadside shit to see - waterfalls, swimming holes etc. - and I managed to see most of the things on my to-do-list before I left.

Your favourite movies: do you like them because of the imagery or rather for the dialogues?

That's tricky. I'm a huge Coen Brothers fan as far as dialogue goes; I think their movies are like the cream of the crop when it comes to quick wit. But when it comes to movies, that whole 'That's when you know you found somebody really special - when you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably share silence,' maybe that 'sensation' applies, too. I just like the feeling some movies put you in. Like that summer-going-into-fall feeling that's super strong when you're a kid. I'm working on a new book with Nighted right now called 'Down Home' and I want it to have the feeling of such a movie. All this kind of is like my answer for the freedom question, too, I guess.

What's your favourite way of traveling?

It depends on where I'm headed. I guess I do most of my travelling alone so I usually go by plane. I haven't driven a car in years (or any sort of vehicle until yesterday when I broke that streak with a riding tractor lawn mower at the farm I'm currently working at, it felt awesome whipping that around). I love long car trips with friends though, and everyone has always been really understanding about me not driving.

And how many cameras do you take with you normally?

Right now I have three on this trip, one disposable underwater camera, one Olympus stylus, and my Leica point and shoot, may it rest in peace. Last month I was being an idiot and took it to Sutro Baths in San Francisco. I climbed down onto the rocks and got drenched, the camera broke, and I can't stop whining about it. It was good I had the Olympus as backup. I'm not one to run multiple rolls in different cameras at a time, but it's a habit I should pick up: one camera for black and white, another camera for colour.

What do you do with photos that turn out "wrong", empty or under/overexposed etc.?

That happens all the time. When I'm broke I'll buy lots of expired film on Ebay and it's hit or miss, or I've had some weird cross processing experiences after my old photo place stopped doing E6. Almost all my photos from a trip to Ireland/Scotland this year are weirdly overexposed and saturated because of that. I'm an impatient girl, and should have just sent my film out instead of chancing it. I used to mess with the colour balance on Photoshop if I had a roll that was particularly expired or grainy, but I don't now. It feels impure. I'm sure I would mess with things more if I scanned my own film, but that's something I lack the patience for. It's not very DIY of me, but scanning film is like a heinous chore. I am willing to make my own butter, but not scan my own film.

Whose work are you following currently?

Tons, I get photo crushes all the time. Right now I'm following Alana Paterson. She's got the farm vibe going on, too, and I've read a few of her interviews and the way she answered one particular question made me go: YES, I could hang out with this girl'. I like Sandy Kim, Joe Skilton, Luke Byrne and Petra Collins. Oh, Man Freckles, too! I met him last month at the NIGHTED opening at Book & Job Gallery, and we both mutually were all like 'HEY it's you!' It's cool to meet people who shoot with a similar style, because you kind of have a window into their life and what they're up to already.

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