Photography has this incredible breadth to it. Photographs have been made of everything from DNA and microorganisms to stars, galaxies and nebulas. Pictures have come back to us from the farthest reaches of space and the depths of the ocean, from high above us and deep underground. What photography is also fantastic at is using that available breadth it has to trick your sense of scale… and that can result in surprising and wonderful images.
My initial reaction to the pressures of grad school was to cling on to photographers whose work I thought was beautiful. I felt overwhelmed by the multitude of directions I could take my work, and thought (rightly so) that looking at other artists’ work would spur me on. I decided on Rinko Kawauchi, and started to gather photographs of hers that I found most appealing. I said to myself (not so rightly) “I will emulate this and it will be beautiful and that will be that!” When my teacher asked me a few days later who I was looking at lately and I gleefully said “Kawauchi!” her response to me was “You need to stop looking at her work.”
A fifty year old murder-spree across the northern plain states inspired one of the most highly praised photobooks of 2011. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the constant influx of new, different, and beautifully printed publications, but there are sometimes those that seem to rise above the rest. Redheaded Peckerwood is one of those books.
RRRRRRROLL is a tumblr of simple, amusing, and sometimes beautiful gifs. They are lovely but largely uninteresting photographs, however the imposed movement brings out something in them that was perhaps largely forgettable or overlooked otherwise. It’s yet another innovative use of the gif format, but enhanced by the quality and complexity of the scenery, the expressive and mysterious leading lady, and the sense of the peculiar that is present throughout the whole series (which continues to grow weekly). Gifs have been around for well over two decades now, and have gone from fun website decorations and AIM-profile enhancers to avatars, popular applications like cinemagram, and in fact an entire and hugely multifaceted subculture, much of which relies on humour. Along with Rrrrrrrrroll, a few others who have been using gifs in more artful ways include Ignacio Torres and duo Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg (who have coined the term Cinemagraphs for their sharp, clean and often minimal animations)
So my essential tool is an essential internal force. I have had a lifelong propensity towards disorganization, overlooking details, and sloppiness due to haste. This has manifested itself in all parts of my life, from my chicken-scrawl handwriting and lost points on algebra tests to forgetting to check my aperture before shooting and misplacing papers I intended to read. It’s a fairly serious debilitation.
My solution? An internal impulse. The voice of Gordon Ramsay.