Monday, October 8, 2012

Trevor Powers

Trevor Powers (b. 1985, Burlington, Vermont) is a photographer based in Austin, Texas. He studied photography at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where he graduated in 2008. Trevor’s photographs have been featured in numerous exhibitions and publications throughout the United States, in print and online. His work is primarily based around travel and the relationships, connections, and routines of everyday life. He is interested in exploring America, collaboration, zines, and dogs.

View more of Trevor's work here:

Ashley Kauschinger: Your images feel present, and derived from experience of travel and place. What do you think about moving through the world with a photographic eye? Why do you think you are drawn to photographing your life as it is happening?

Trevor Powers: I think it’s pretty distracting to be honest.  There is an inner dialogue that happens. I ask myself, what is more important: experiencing the natural beauty of the world and being present physically and psychically – OR – being aware of that beauty and taking pictures to look at later knowing full well that it’s not and will never be the same.  There needs to be a balance, and I think it’s important to know when to not take a picture and actually enjoy life, the world around you, and make connections. 

I am drawn to photographing my life as its happening for fear of forgetting, or in order to create a mark or archive to leave behind to say that I was here on this earth, I existed and this is what I saw, this is where I lived, and these are the people I cared about.

Technically, my shooting process is slow and I spend a lot of time looking, mostly because I use a large format camera.  For the most part (unless I am traveling) I am photographing what is around me – my house, my neighborhood, the people in my life – all subjects that I am around frequently so I have spent a lot of time looking at them.  Since film is becoming more expensive, I spend more time looking at what interests me photographically. When I do have film I know exactly what I want to capture. There is this anticipation and chance with film that doesn’t exist with digital.  I like how there is a possibility for failure.

AK: Do you think that you can photograph America's landscape, without making a statement about America? Do you feel like these images say more about you or the land?

TP: Subjectively, yes I do think images of the American landscape can be made without making a statement.  Although, there is lot of editing that goes on before I take any picture (and before anyone takes a picture) – what to include, what to exclude, when to take it.  So in that sense the statement lies in personal interests and attraction. If my images do make a statement about America (or myself), I don’t know it yet. This is the beauty I find in working the way I do, and leaving this “project” open-ended.

I never have a clear idea of what I want to photograph during any of my trips. Sometimes that was frustrating, but for the most part I wanted to have trust in the journey. I mean, the journey really is the destination.  Traveling alone in a new place is scary enough, let alone walking around with a tripod and giant backpack. That kind of fear is good, and it pushed me, allowing me to see and experience the world differently.

AK: These images were created and made into a collaborative book. How do you see the connection of photographs and books? How different do you see the process of making images and sequencing and designing them in book form?

TP: I think that photographs and books go hand in hand. I love how books allow us to collect images so quickly and experience them immediately in a very personal space.

There were so many decisions to make in regards to sequencing and design that the photographs definitely became secondary to the book as a whole and I really enjoyed that. We designed the book in such a way that our photographs co-exist together and there is no level of importance or authorship – we simply wanted to create a new body of work pulling from our respective archives.  I have a lot of fun sequencing images, be it for a book, website or portfolio.  I think it allows you to build a visual dialog between seemingly unrelated images and can bring out aspects of the images otherwise looked over.

AK: What is your process of and thoughts on self-promotion?

TP: I don’t think I have one, in part because I am turned off by it.  I understand its place in the art world, and have definitely taken part in it.  I guess I am more interested in making direct connections with people who are doing things that intrigue or inspire me (be that running a space, publishing zines or books, taking pictures, etc.) that I would like to be involved with.  And in that sense, sort of build a connection based on respect and admiration.  If I want to show my work, either in a gallery or book, I am more apt to just do it on my own than to wait around for a break.  

Thank you Trevor!

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