Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Interview with Pistol & Fur

Chicago, IL

Recently I was interviewed by Jason Hynes the editor of the excellent UK photo collective Pistol & Fur as part of the promotion for the new limited edition book that the website have published. A collection of 49 photographs by 49 photographers, including myself. This is that interview illustrated with a selection of images which until now have not (I believe) appeared on this blog before.

INTERVIEW FOR PISTOL AND FUR WEBSITE

Where are you from and where are you going?

I was born in Middlesbrough in the industrial north of England, but grew up on the south coast. First in Dorset and later Brighton in East Sussex. After a lot of traveling, I now live in Overland Park, Kansas, but plan to move to Chicago this Autumn. In terms of my photographic life, I come from Black and White, Film, Medium Format and a disciplined darkroom practice. Now I work in digital with a small Leica and make pictures in colour. I love colour. For the last three and a half years I’ve been photographing America obsessively, but I feel, as I’ve become more settled in the U.S. my work is slowly becoming much more personal in nature.

Lawrence, KS

What is your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from so many diverse corners that it’s almost overwhelming to think about. I’m especially inspired by artists driven by a strong personal vision who are willing and unafraid to follow their creativity where ever it takes them - beyond their own discipline. I admire explorers and experimenters, or more to the point ‘psychonaughts’. David Lynch, Julian Cope, Jean Cocteau and William Burroughs are a few I could immediately name here. I’m inspired by those with a restless energy, the ‘mad ones’ as Kerouac once said – artists with drive and passion. I’m inspired by the journey. Those artists whose lives, whatever they do, are tangled up in the art they make and live it. These, for me are the true artists and my greatest inspiration.

Chicago, IL

What got you into photography?

Writing was my first love, but photography was always there. I studied photography with a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and I also gained a BA Honors degree in Editorial Photography at Brighton University, passing with a 1st. For me poetry and photography are quite similar in nature. They are both initially about an idea and they are both closely linked to my emotional and psychic life. I used to carry a notebook and pencil around with me everywhere and I scribbled down notes, observations and poems whenever a situation moved me. Now I carry a camera instead. Photography is a much more direct tool, for me, but the thinking behind both is very much the same. The transition from writing to photography was a natural and easy one for me to make.

Pennsylvania Avenue

Baseball Game

Father & Son

Digital? film? no preference?

I love the almost sketchbook feeling of making pictures that digital can offer, but I do sometimes miss being in the darkroom, which could be at times a mystical experience. I sometimes find using a computer to process images a drag and the ethereal nature of pixels makes me nervous.

What do you hear at this moment?

Humming air conditioners, screaming Cicadas and the distant din of traffic.

Tucumcari, NM

If you could work on a project with any photographer living or dead who would it be and why?

I would have loved to have come to America during the 50’s or 60’s. I find that period in U.S. history and culture fascinating and many of my most beloved and respected cultural heroes, artists and writers come from this era too. Without doubt I would have loved to have shared the driving with Robert Frank while he worked on his Americans series. That book came as a revelation to me and his vision inspires me to this day. To experience and explore pre-interstate America is something I find hard to imagine, especially knowing now the sheer size and scale of this country, having made several long road trips myself. It would have been incredible..

Santa Rosa, NM

Waitress

Monument Valley, UT (VII)

Any news you want to share?

There are a number of on-going projects I am continually working on and I am always having ideas for new works. For several months now I have been back at school studying to be an EMT (emergency medical technician) so photography has sadly taken a bit of a back seat, but now that this course is finished I have just began work on producing a couple of books. One of these will be my Remains to be Seen project, a series of photographs which explores loss, grief, time and memory and what we do with the void left within us after the death of a loved one and how it affects the way we see the world. It is a deeply personal project for me and was a difficult one to make. It will, when completed, contain all 50 photographs from this series plus a handful of personal family snapshots. It will also include some writing from that time also, which I recently re-discovered on some floppy disks and in some old notebooks. These writings I intend to publish in their raw, floored and un-edited state and I will use them to punctuate the photographic sequence to hopefully inform and enrich the images and the book as a whole.

Also couple of months ago I was also lucky enough to get a book deal and I am presently working with a few trusted photographer friends to edit and sequence it. It’s hard work. I do not want to say too much about this right now, but I am very excited about it and I am hoping it is going to be something really special. It will be an edit of my American photographs and titled ‘Resident Alien’. When this project really starts to take some shape I’d love to come back and talk about this with you in more detail.

Shawnee, KS

Troost, KC


Pistol & Fur's excellent website and the originally published interview, set with an alternative selection of images, can be found here. Many thanks to Jason Hynes:

Follow these links below to read more interviews:

Interview with Amerikana Magazine with Sam Dickey

Interview with Head On photo-festival with Lyndal Irons

4 comments:

  1. Excellent interview , nicely done. All the best.

    Cheers, Dom

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Dom, glad you enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Simon, I missed this posting of July 2011 while on the road for two weeks last summer going thru the US and Canada. After reviewing the two "identical" interviews I prefer the images and how they flow with the text in this version. The additional images here add a great deal more "depth perception"... IMO of course.

    Great work as always,
    Jan

    ReplyDelete