Seeing Through Photographs
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Lucas Blalock | Strawberries (Fresh Forever), Strawberries (Forever Fresh)
I often start making a picture by bringing some objects into the studio, and I start by trying to get this object to sort of sing for me, and that process is in some ways sort of self-contained. But then once I've shot the film and I take it to the processor and get it back and scan it, then I'm left with this relationship to this object that I was attempting to have. So I was attempting to relate to this thing through drawing its picture with a camera, and I think that sometimes there's a gap there or a space there where there's more that could be done or more that could be considered, and that's where the computer comes in. Whether I'm making a straight photograph or an unmanipulated photograph, or a photograph with a lot of manipulation, this is my process. It goes camera, scanner, computer, and so the computer can be very active. So if I see an opportunity within the picture-making in the computer, then I'll go ahead and take it. So you say that you start by bringing some objects into the studio. How do you choose these objects? I've said before that I really like objects that have a kind of pathetic quality. But I think there's some objects that are sort of really made to be looked at, that that's sort of... it's sort of in their DNA. And other objects that really aren't, that refuse that somehow or that might be... that there's still something left to be discovered in, and I think those are the objects that attract me more than others. So let's take as an example the strawberries, for instance. Can you run us through how you made that, –Sure. –those two pictures? The strawberries photographs are two photographs that start with the same two negatives. One negative is on top of the other, and then in the other one the relationship is flipped. So it started out by me bringing these sort of strawberry candies into the studio, and sort of arranging them onto a table into a field that sort of just took up a space in front of the lens. I really like objects that sort of act like photographs, that are imitators of the things that they're trying to be, even if they're sort of, I don't know, not so convincing. And so I made this picture of the candies, and they actually sat on my table, I think, for a day or two, and it popped into my head that maybe I should replace them with the real thing. And at that point, it's like this problem has gotten set up, and I did. I went and bought some strawberries and took the candies away, and replaced them with the strawberries, and made another photograph. And at that point I didn't know whether maybe they would be just two straight photographs that would sort of hang out together or how I would end up drawing that relationship. What ended up happening was that I thought about them through this overlay of one sort of taking the place of the other. Their titles are Fresh Forever and Forever Fresh. The forevers are the candies, and the fresh ones are the fresh ones. So in each of the two pictures, they have the opposite relationship.