(Featured in: Snowboard Magazine)
In recent months the interests of my mind have wandered from the tangle of wires and hard drives that defines the 21st century. The RAW file has become nothing more than an ironic icon trapped in the confines of my computer screen. These days the general population strives to improve the world with allegedly better, more instant remedies; such a foolproof nature leaves the creative pallet parched. Recently my process has flipped the traditional script adding thrill and risk that excites the mind as a tangible negative is manipulated into something which cannot be undone with a simple keystroke.
Merriam-Webster defines a process as “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.” I disagree. If there is one thing to learn from the “process” it is that, contrary to Webster’s definition, there is no particular order and certainly no particular end. The course begins at the point where most photographers end, the point where an artist would decide an outcome to be subpar and simply go back and reshoot or ditch the idea entirely.
An undeveloped roll of film draws a number of parallels to purgatory. The film is exposed yet the photos still lie there in a bed of emulsion, unseen until they are cascaded with a specific series of chemicals. About a year ago now I found myself in a position which ultimately led to extend this purgatory and start an ever growing series of photographs. In the bustle of shooting I had exposed a photo so far down the end of a roll that it had overlapped with the tape holding the film to the spool. Once developed the problem was uncovered and in a fit of dissatisfaction and frustration I attached a drying clip to the end of the strip of negatives puncturing the photograph four times. Weeks later the negative was scanned for the archives and from there the knee-jerk reaction continued as it seemed necessary to damage it further in the vehicle of wire brushes and flames. As frustration boiled over scanning of the negative continued after every manipulation that was made until the negative was given a second chance at life between the pages of my binder.
The process has no particular steps, only a motive to create an interesting looking image in my own eyes. The risk factor of completely destroying a perfectly good negative does hinder progress at some points but generally after about a year of experience in the matter almost no negatives are rendered unusable. The ones that don't make the cut create a series in and of themselves so I keep all of those negatives together but despite the risk of ruining a negative none of them actually go to waste. Time will ultimately tell where this will go in the upcoming years, as of now I plan on creating a solid series of these images and showing them together outside of the editorial realm.