Monday, October 29, 2012

Taylor Curry

Taylor Curry was born in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, grew up in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He recently graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design, and currently the Co-Founder and Editor for Aint-Bad Magazine, as well as a freelance photographer and photo assistant. 

Find more of Taylor's work here:
Check out Aint-Bad here:

Ashley Kauschinger: What sparked your interest in camera-less photography and what significance do you think it has in contemporary art?

Taylor Curry: On hearing the term “camera-less photography” many will question the very possibility of creating a camera-less photograph. Understandably, one must have a camera obscura to create a photographic image. This perception is false.

Camera-less photography was invented in the 19th century and since then, many new and innovative processes have been invented. I was first introduced to camera-less photography during my second year at the Savannah College of Art and Design. It was during a History of Photography class that I was presented to the works of a 19th century botanist, Anna Atkins and her series of cyanotypes titled: British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions. It’s because of these beautiful cyanotypes that I became infatuated with the act of creating a camera-less image and began to research camera-less photography methods.

I have often felt a lack of control while using a camera to create imagery — That I am not creating the photograph but the camera itself, the machine. What I believe I was feeling was a lack of the tangible. The act of creating a camera-less image requires much more than just the click of a shutter. It requires knowledge, understanding and respect of the medium of photography. Photography was once heavily rooted in process, experimentation and the exploration of the medium. Today contemporary camera-less photographers such as Adam Fuss, Pierrer Cordier, Susan Derges and Garry Miller still push these ideals of the visual language that is photography. Camera-less photography is more than just a flat image on photosensitive material; it is a whole new way of viewing the world around us. It is a powerful means of communication that speaks without the use of a shutter, but with some form of higher meaning. Camera-less photography brings the artist closer to the medium by his/her use of technique. It is interesting to me that despite the recent advances in technology many photographers are seeking new ways of utilizing historical processes within their contemporary work.

AK: Your camera-less images are intoxicating and evocative typologies. They beg the viewer to examine and compare them. Can you speak how the detail in these images is achieved and why you chose to create typologies? 

TC: Experimentation, failure, experimentation, repeat. The majority of the photographs are created by using an enlarger and a plate of glass to project a given specimen onto various light sensitive emulsions. The specimen becomes the negative and the very matter that makes up that object is transferred via light and captured on the chemistry. This allows for extreme detail within the final image. My main interest in camera-less photography stems from my infatuation with Anna Atkins’s Cyanotypes. I take her process a step further by applying similar subject matter to today’s technologies. I created the Plants, Feathers and Fish series using the above method.

Last year I was faced with the challenge of analog photographic printing methods because the RA-4 print processor was dismantled and destroyed at my school. With no way to create color images I reverted to traditional black and white techniques. With my graduation approaching at the time, student loans and the mighty dollar bill constantly beckoning my attention I chose to focus on the physicality of the dollar bill. Using Ilford silver gelatin fiber based paper and Ilford Positive fiber based paper I created my ongoing series titled
Founding Fathers.

Founding Fathers stems from my interest to further understand the way we view currency in the United States. The U.S. Dollar is the most consumed and collected item in the world today.  Central to our lives, it is something that we use daily and yet rarely stop to question or understand where it comes from or why the whole system works. We honor the shared understanding that these cotton bills value as a dollar, a ten, a thousand.

The series examines retired currency from the 1930’s. These bills, having lost their original face value, have become collector’s items, gaining a new cult value over time. These values are somewhat arbitrary, determined by condition, print run and serial number. This series suggests that the system is flawed. What is the longevity of our physical dollar? Has our system consumed itself? Is the resulting answer simply just to print more money?

AK: You are a Co-Founder and Editor of Aint-Bad Magazine, which is a "photographic art journal that discusses contemporary culture, issues and human existence." Aint-Bad is also committed to supporting emerging photographers. When did you begin this endeavor, how has it evolved and where do you see Aint-Bad going in the future?

TC: Carson Sanders, Caitie Moore, James Jackman, and myself run the magazine. We are all alumni photography students from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Aint-Bad was conceived in the spring of last year. As the end of our school careers was quickly approaching we became increasingly more aware of the need for a strong social community, especially for young photographers. We wanted to create a community to support emerging photographers such as ourselves, on an international platform. We are forward thinking artists that build a reference for contemporary culture and human nature.

I would love to see Aint-Bad become a major resource for discovering up and coming artists. We are constantly working to build our network and to bring the publication closer to our audience. We have some new ideas for the website that will strengthen our community and ultimately the publication.

AK: You have recently graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design, and you already have a lot on your plate. How do you balance editing for Aint-Bad, photographing and working?

I recently moved to New York City and am working as a freelance photography assistant.  Aint-Bad has become part of my day-to-day life. When I’m not dashing around New York City, I’m busy sifting through emails and falling through the Internet in search of photographic artists to feature. Since graduation I realized what most students eventually figure out, it’s tough to make work without the resources that were once at your fingertips. I am happy to say that I recently picked up a camera again.... keep an eye out for my new work.

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