Monday, November 26, 2012

Elizabeth Moran

Elizabeth Moran lives and works in San Francisco as a photographer and graphic designer. In 2007, she received her BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Elizabeth is currently working toward her MFA in photography and her MA in visual and critical studies at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Elizabeth has exhibited nationally, and has taught photography at the International Center of Photography, the New England School of Photography, and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. 

You can view more of Elizabeth's work here:

Ashley Kauschinger: How did your interest in the pornography company begin and turn into your current work, The Armory? How did you gain access into their headquarters?

Elizabeth Moran: After leaving New York for San Francisco, I was still very much under the influence of my previous project, For Christopher Fife, where I questioned the fantasy of having a “good job” by looking at the physical space of a corporate office. I hoped to contrast those images with a more atypical work environment, perhaps even reflecting the personality of San Francisco. After doing some research and reaching out to several different companies in the area, expressed interest in my project. They have been a pleasure to work with ever since.

AK: What do you think these images say about our current society? How do you think an international audience would respond to this work and have you thought about photographing the pornography industry in other countries?

EM: After I began photographing in the Armory, the historic building that house’s offices and sets, I realized that while I am still interested in these spaces as places of work (staged scenes for actors), they also reflect the desires of real people. What is produced and how that influences the viewers, blurring the line between fantasy and reality.

I’ve always been attracted to spaces where you can feel a tension even if you can’t put your finger on it. I think this gives the viewer room to breathe and allows them to imagine the events for themselves. As I describe the sets in my project statement, these are private spaces built for the public gaze, a constructed voyeurism, mimicking reality for the purposes of creating a fantasy. But, again, the line between the two is never clear.

I do not plan to continue this project beyond the walls of the Armory. The history of the building itself, at least for me, is an underlying theme, and I also think of The Armory as a foil to Larry Sultan’s The Valley.

As for an international audience, obviously the role of sexuality in culture is highly variable between different countries and even within individual nations. On the one hand, my photographs are not overtly sexual, but on the other hand, the use of these spaces could be considered obscene. For example, a photographer from Tehran has expressed interest in possibly showing my work to shed light on that gray area.

AK: What is your process of self-promotion? How do you create a balance of making work and promoting it?

EM: I spent several years working at an ad agency and definitely believe in the power of advertising. I try to update my blog daily to show my works-in-progress and things that inspire me. I also update the work on my website every few months. Obviously, I can only do those things if I’m constantly generating new work. So for me, promotion and creation go hand-in-hand.

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