Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Art Student Interviews Juznobsrvr

hiya i realise you may get a lot of these... but i'm a student from england and i've been following a lot of your lomography work as well as your other work and i'm using you in my sketchbook as an artist study.... if you could get back to me i'd really appreciate it, i just need to know your name and maybe why you do what you do.. in a nutshell it would be great for my sketchbook. id really appreciate it, take care... rebecca

hi rebecca... i'm flattered that you would choose my work for your study but i'm curious why you would pick me -- my work is not typical lomography. i suppose i do art because i can't help it. it is my passion. btw, what school do you go to? please tell me more what your proposed study entails... perhaps you can shoot me some questions for this gig... regards, rob

well the project i'm doing at the moment is about imperfections, ill write the briefs out for you so you can maybe get a rough idea; 'the photograph as an object: an investigation of imperfection and obsolescence in relation to the photographic print.' so basically.... i only work with film i hate digital photography, and i began to ask myself why, an i looked through photo's i've used and taken before and i realised i only choose those that have gone a little bit wrong, or the lighting is bad, or different as the case may be.. or there's a water mark on the photo or a smudge, or a fingerprint from the film (t hats the best) i just really appreciate the little mistakes, it makes every piece so different.... and when i look at your work, some of it, where you've fiddled with the films or whatever just comes out so wonderful... if i had more money id seriously invest in some good cameras but right now i've got my lomo fisheye.. a bunch of out of date lomo disposables.. 2 box brownies and some slide films...

i go to Eastleigh College, full time art and design, but i'm training to be a tattooist too so its hard to fit everything in :(
hey rebecca, not sure if the following makes sense but here goes:

could you tell me what you try and achieve with your work? --- wow, that's a multi-faceted question... i'll try to cover as much as i can... metaphysically, i try to come up with a universality from particulars. for example, when i show you a picture of a little girl i've taken, i want you to not just see the little girl whether her name is pam or megan, who she is and what she is doing in the picture. i want to go beyond that. she could be anybody or everybody. my hope is that you will see what that little girl could represent at that time the picture was taken.

from a practical standpoint, i may not be aware of this objective in mind. my approach may not coincide with my world view. i may just snap away thinking "oh, what a cool shot this would be." but at the end of the day, when i reflect on what i've shot, i would go, "what the heck was i doing?" it's this conflict and paradox that i have to deal with each time i endeavor to do art whether it's photography or painting or music. the reality is that almost always i don't achieve what i've pre-visualized before i hit the shutter on the camera or strike the brush on the canvas. yet i anticipate that the surprises may come out pleasant... and it's worth it even if i get only one good shot out of a hundred. hopefully, as i refine my art, my batting average will improve.

another facet is style. my style is to be different, i think. i don't contrive to be different. i don't have to as i have painfully discovered. also i am not interested in getting uber sharp images or highly defined images all the time. they're great but most of them are a dime a piece. really, one can take a great picture of a sunset but there are a million out there that are going to look like it. i may be interested to learn certain techniques but what i really want is to use those techniques unconventionally. kinda like how bob dylan or neil young make music. they may play folksy songs at the surface but when you really listen-- it takes you somewhere. bottom line is how do you take a message and have a medium and put them together. i think that is what i strive for-- how far can i take a message using ordinary media. does this make sense?

what got you started? --- you mean in film? my first camera was a diana because that was all i could afford at that time. but i love the results i got from it. years later, i've forgotten about this camera. in fact, for a while i've abandoned photography completely in pursuit of other arts. few years ago, i picked up a digital cam... played around with it... but something was missing. the images i produced were mostly sterile. then i discovered lomography. i gravitated towards the imperfections. yet do i care about the rule of third? yes i do... but it's how you apply that principle that counts. do i care about sharpness? of course... but try to selectively make specific things sharper, now that can be tricky. all in all, as i indicated, i care about techniques. but it is what it is -- just techniques. without a meaningful message or content, techniques can make art cold and dead. to me, content is primary. techniques are great if you know when to or not to use them. sadly, i think most of the lomos posted in this site are not about art. it's about "me". it's "hey vote for me... you like my lomo? please vote for these." real art should not be about pleasing others so you can be popular.

i guess i digress but to supplement my answer to the question -- i've only started shooting film very recently... less than a year actually. yet for me it felt natural to shoot film. shooting film made me think harder, "why am i doing what i'm doing?" i think it made me into a better photographer ( i say "better" as tongue in cheek)...

what film cameras do you use? --- oh dear, my wife says i have too many. all my film cams were bought used except for my holga. i don't really have a favorite but the holga and the canon rebel 2000 get a lot of work out. i'm embarrassed to enumerate but here's what i currently have used:

holga 120N
ansco memar with pronto lens
ansco super memar rangefinder
canon rebel 2000 SLR using various EF lenses and canon mount lenses
nikon fe with f1.8 50mm lens (belongs to my wife)
zeiss ikon nettar with viewfinder
zeiss ikonta without viewfinder
zeiss ikon rangefinder
fed 4 rangefinder
kiev 5 rangefinder
mamiya six medium format folding cam
yashica mat 124g
argus FF500D point and shoot
nikon nuvis 75i point and shoot
polaroid 600 (belongs to my church)
kodak 35 rangefinder (a heavy and ugly beast)

i also have a dozen or so cheap point and shoot cams i continue to accumulate from my local thrift store. a lot of them i would later find out do not work. i've not tested all of them. recently, a friend of mine gave me her vintage cams as they were supposedly going to charity. fortunately for me i got them but i haven't tested them yet. except for the kodak pony 35mm, i think the kodak brownie and kodak jiffy will work. the required films were discontinued though. oh well.

so i hope i did not bore you with this long and silly banter. please let me know if you have more questions or need me to clarify stuff.

regards --- rob

hey, just had a good read you've got some really interesting points i will definitely use you as my main artist study- no one at my college gets interviews like this! first hand info from a great photographer:D you're so lucky to have a great collection of cameras, i'm just starting mine please let me know if you ever want to get rid of any of them, ill buy them from you!! all the best thank you very much.