Timothy O’Connell “It Is Hard To Adapt to Chaos, But It Can Be Done”
Timothy O’Connell is a recent graduate from the Art Institute Boston who has just recently self published a book of his own photography entitled ”It Is Hard to Adapt to Chaos, But It Can Be Done”. A 75 page black and white perfect bound book exploring street scenes in and around Boston and beyond. “It Is Hard To Adapt to Chaos, But It Can Be Done” is an exploration into the turmoil consistent with contemporary American identity.
How long did this project take to complete?
Well, I guess the book itself took a bit over three months to start and finish. However, the collection of photographs span almost two years. The majority of photographs were taken between February and April of this year; however, a handful were photographs rehashed from previous bodies of work. The significance of the project existed more in the edit rather than the process of photographing, so, I experienced no qualms about using photographs made prior to the intent of the project.
Where were these photos taken?
The majority of the photographs were taken in the greater Boston area, with a few photographs in New York but I’m not particularly drawn to these areas outside of my own personal nostalgia. I tried my hardest to exhibit an American atmosphere without attributing it to any specific location. The photographs were taken in Boston because that is where I was residing, not because I found the location appropriate for my work. I’m not trying to define the Northeast nor Boston, I find those ambitions fruitless. Photographs from Manhattan were almost instantly ousted from the book due to it’s inherit visual specificity. I had trouble putting in a single photograph which included Boston’s Citgo sign, but it made it in. It is more of a local landmark anyways, right?
What were the greatest challenges in creating this work?
I’m not sure if there is a definite answer to that question. The work continues to present new challenges every day I sit with it, conceptually and aesthetically. But, It has been a consistent challenge dealing with the large quantity of photographs inside of the book. I have to be responsible for each photograph and it’s purpose and position inside of the book; it can get a bit overwhelming. I’ve prepared myself to defend each and every single decision made in the book; I wasn’t prepared to due that when I began this project. I’ve had the opportunity to present the work
What did you shoot with?
I try to shoot with a Contax G1 exclusively, although there have been a few road blocks in the past few months, which has brought me to a Leica mini and Yashica t4, neither of which I am crazy about but I suppose they get the job done.
What would you say is more important Good Knowledge/Good Equipment?
Good knowledge, for sure. For the longest time, I would have just assumed that the answer to that question would be unanimous throughout all photographers. However, I’ve recently spent some time assisting commercially which has put me into contact with the utilitarian side of photography; the side which would have possibly answered oppositely. But I’ve always found equipment trivial in my pursuit of photography.
About how many photos did you go through to make the edit? How many photos are in the book?
I don’t know how many photographs I went through in order to make the edit. I shoot frequently with an almost immediate turn around rate for processing. Between February and April, I forced myself to shoot rolls of HP5 consistently throughout the day , it was some what of a conditioning exercise. I wanted to really comb through the hundreds of negatives which have collected over the years prior to this project, but I still haven’t found the time to do so. I have only really allowed myself enough time to seek out the greatest hits from past works, I am sure there are at least a few photographs waiting to be discovered in the bin of unlabeled, uncontacted negatives siting below my desk. I’m not the most organized to say the least. There are 75 photographs in my book.
If you could work along side any one photographer who would it be?
Garry Winogrand, if you’ve heard enough stories about him then this answer should be obvious.
What are you working on now?
I haven’t really left the project; I’m not sure if this work’s completion is in the near future. As of May, I am a college graduate, which conveniently frees up my schedule as the DNC, RNC and Presidential Election come around. I couldn’t ask for a better time to continue on with this project, hopefully I will take advantage of it all. I’ve been shooting a bit of color too which has been an absolute challenge. I also run a hardcore punk photozine titled closed door. my next issue is to be released in early July.
Any closing remarks/statements/about this work or anything else in general?
Walker Evan’s “Documentary Style” forever changed the way I approach making the work I make now. I suggest everyone familiarize themselves with it.
“It Is Hard To Adapt to Chaos, But It Can Be Done” by Timothy O’Connell is available for $20. To order a copy or see more work by O’Connell visit his website at: http://www.toconnell.com/
An Interview with Viktoria Lisbet
Viktoria A. Lisbet
“WHEN OUR ENAMEL ROTS”
Printed in February 2012
Edition of 120 numbered Copies
14 x 20 cm
Color Laser Print on Munken Paper
When Our Enamel Rots is the second monograph by Viktoria A. Lisbet for PogoBooks. It showcases his constructed scenes of “slapstick erotica” as well as intimate moments from his personal life. Born in 1984, Viktoria A. Lisbet is an artist living in the United States with his wife and their dog.
Interview with Viktoria Lisbet by Michael J DeMeo for No Thoughts:
How long did it take you to shoot the photographs for “When Our Enamel Rots”?
Most of them were taken within the past 10 months, but a couple are older than that. All have been taken in the time since my previous volume for PogoBooks was published. Five of the nineteen photographs were taken in several days on a farm this past Thanksgiving.
Where did the name for this project come from?
Essentially the title of the previous volume (When We Milk Each Other) set the model for this one. They both have the same amount of syllables and have this collective idea of “When We/Our something something.” I do love enamel and the idea of enamels and veneers and lacquers, decaying, rotting, and otherwise deteriorating. I think about it. It is a lovely thing to think about.
I see your work as a photographic example of nonsense poetry, how do you describe your work?
I think that is certainly apt. I would say that at its most distilled, my work is a combination of casual/lazy surrealism, and slapstick erotica. I am very passionate but I am not very serious. I try to create images that are direct in manner so that hopefully the viewer is initially and candidly confronted by whatever ploy is being presented. There is certainly a lot of nonsense, and it is very free form. The emphasis is on the subject and feeling, rather than a narrative or product.
Are the photos in when our enamel rots staged or candid?
There are eleven candid photographs and eight that are more and less staged. More and more I am trying to create more candid work—especially in the studio.
The last few copies of When Our Enamel Rots are available via the PogoBooks website: http://www.pogobooks.de/content/lisbet2.html
Viktoria Lisbet’s website is here: http://vlisbet.com/
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REVIEW: Someone Cuts My Hair While I Sleep by Todd Fisher
“Someone Cuts My Hair While I Sleep” Todd Fisher
Someone Cuts My Hair While I Sleep is one of Pogo Books’ latest releases. A full color 80 page perfect bound softcover book of photographs by Todd Fisher.
Todd Fisher lives and works in New York City and his photographs are for the most part point and shoot. His work is a blend of street and diaristic imagery but what sets Fisher’s photos apart from every other young point and shoot photographer in NY is his subject matter. Fisher lightly touches on party photos, nudity, and being young in the big city, but his most memorable photos are of the bizarre and mysterious. An image of what appears to be an elderly tranny in a a dreadlock helmet, a still life of occupied beds in a morgue, a portrait of an old woman dressed to the nines and smiling through ruined teeth, a street scene of a bald man sitting in a trashcan. This is where Fisher shines and where he stands apart from similar photographers working in the same point and shoot style.
“Someone Cuts My Hair While I Sleep” is beautifully printed and one of Pogo Books’ best releases. It’s interesting, entertaining, and for the most part stays away from a lot of the usual cliches in point and shoot photography. It will be interesting to see how Todd Fisher’s photography will develop in the future, and how weird things might become. -MD
“Someone Cuts My Hair While I Sleep”
Printed in November 2011
Perfect Bound Softcover
21 x 30 cm
Full Color Offset