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Blog

Emil Handke: Can photography make you a better person?

Michael Winters

This artwork by Emil Handke is now available as a limited edition, 18x12" print through our shop.  I asked Emil a couple questions about his work.


You've made a lot of photographs at night.  What draws you to photographing in the dark?

The short answer is that night makes me uncomfortable. And I want to confront those feelings. The longer answer is more nuanced. After about three months of making photographs for this current series, I became discontent with the images I was making. They didn't have the feel I wanted. The series was dealing with my early childhood and some of the struggles that came with it. I wanted the images to have a dark, somewhat haunting tone to them. So I started experimenting with making images at night. At the same time, I began to make myself write more, to confront some of the issues of my early childhood. As I did this, I realized that much of what happened to me occurred during the night. So I turned my focus on making photographs in the dark of night.

It sounds like your creative process is aligned for you with your own personal development.  Do you think photography can help make you a better person?

Yes. Absolutely. But if you would have asked me this two years ago, I would have a very different answer. For the first few years making photographs, I felt like I was wandering, not knowing what I was looking for. I didn't know what my portrait work meant. I was frustrated and tired of just making images and sharing them to social media. So I began to ask myself some questions. Questions that sometimes weren't fun to answer. Why am I making photographs? Is this something that I have to do? What am I trying to say with what I am making? Why portraits? What is the goal? Am I doing this only for likes and recognition? Or is there something more to what I am doing? These were difficult questions. I really had to be honest with myself. I am glad I did, because it made me reevaluate things and change my approach. This is part of what led to my transition away from just making photographs and focus more on long term projects. I wanted to make work that meant something more. Something that asked questions. This is how my first series, "In the Silence of the Night Sky," started. I began to look at my early childhood and figure out how and why it shaped me. Taking a long look at questions and attempting to make something visual out of it is a difficult task, but one that is rewarding. For me, this series has been a good step toward understanding why I am the way I am. By forcing myself to confront issues of my past, I am taking a step toward healing. There is more I could say, but this is one of the main ways making photographs has help me to become a better husband, father, and person. 

Emil Handke is a photographer based in Louisville, KY. See more of Emil's work at http://www.emilhandke.com/

 

Tim Harris: With what you are given

Michael Winters

Tim Harris' image Window and Goose is now available as a limited edition, 8x10" print through our shop.  I asked Tim a couple questions about the image and his work.


I know what I like about this image, but what do you like about it?

I like the simplicity of the photo and the feeling it coveys to me. It feels like a quiet moment without having any people in it. I love the wear and tear on the aged home and the draping of the curtains. 

Yes.  That's what I appreciate about it too. The drapes fall so elegantly amidst the broken down goose and the messy paint job. Given that you work primarily as a photojournalist, do you think of yourself as an artist, or not really?  

I don’t think I really have ever thought of myself as an “artist” in the traditional sense. I am not sure why not. I think it is because most of my work relies on other people and their lives so it doesn’t seem like a fully individual artistic expression when I work. I think of it as documenting reality I guess. But I do think there is art in the way a documentary photo is taken, composed, etc. It’s about being as creative as you can with what you are given. 

Tim Harris

Tim Harris

Tim Harris is a photographer and filmmaker from Louisville, Kentucky who currently works as a staff photojournalist for a business newspaper. He has traveled the world taking photos in South Sudan, The Czech Republic and New Zealand. He has a B.A. in Photojournalism from Western Kentucky University and has worked for a variety of local and national publications. He lives in Louisville with his wife and enjoys mountain biking, gardening and eating pizza.  View more of Tim's work at timharrisvisuals.com.

Eric Hurtgen: 2 questions

Michael Winters

North of Woodlawn, 2014 by Eric Hurtgen

North of Woodlawn, 2014 by Eric Hurtgen

Eric Hurtgen's image North of Woodlawn, 2014 is now available as a limited edition, 12x12" print through our shop.  I asked Eric a couple questions about the image and his work.


Did you construct this image, or did you come across that sheet of glass sitting there?  

I did construct the image, which is something that I've been doing for some time. The transparent surface is actually plastic sheeting. I like that type of surface for a variety of reasons but the malleability is my primary motivation for using it in the pictures. The bush has an interesting back story—it sits on the property line between my house and my neighbor's house. It's obscured my ability to see the street for years. I used to ask the older couple who lived there if it could be trimmed back and it never was. The couple died within a couple years of each other and now no one lives there but the bush remains.

You work primarily as a graphic designer.  How does your design career shape the way you make photographs?

There's a lot of overlap between certain aspects of art, design and photography. I'm very interested in the overlap, whether it's in the way I make design or the way I approach photographs. I'm interested in those overlapping places in general—the brackish waters where the river becomes the sea or that space between the forest and the interstate—usually you get the most interesting kinds of interactions in those places. I don't know that I'm consciously taking anything from the world of design into the pictures, but I'm sure it's happening in one form or another. I'm not at all interested in surrealism but I'm certainly not making images in that more conventional photographic way, though I very much appreciate that style and form.

Eric Hurtgen

Eric Hurtgen

Eric Hurtgen was born in Louisville, Kentucky and currently lives and works as a freelance graphic designer and art director in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and daughter. He has been making art for nearly a decade and has shown in small galleries across the Southeast and Midwest.  View more of Eric's work at erichurtgen.com.

Now on View: Train by Caren Cunningham

Michael Winters

IMG_3429.JPG

Over 1,000 individually framed images make up Caren Cunningham's exhibit, Train, now on view at Bellarmine University's McGrath Gallery (Louisville, KY).  I was able to visit the show with a friend who knows train art culture really well.  He knew backstories about many of the artists documented in the show.  Caren Cunningham is the chair of the Art Department at Bellarmine.  After we looked around for a while on our own, she was able to join us and point out details we probably would have missed in the huge number of images.   

From a distance, the photographs can easily be viewed as a single installation.  It becomes apparent that train art has a certain color palette unique to that subculture. The near-primary reds, yellows, and blues of many train cars become backgrounds for all the hues available in aerosol cans.  With the consistent compositions of the photographs - always filling the frame - the art of Caren's photography submits itself to documenting the art of others who marked the trains.  

At a distance still, patterns emerge.  We first noticed numbers and then strung them together.  Photos of numbers 1-100 weave through the grids.  Different colors, different fonts.  

White lines perfectly divide the frames.  Closer, you can inspect the component parts of the installation.  You start to notice groupings.  Bart Simpson reappears a lot.  So do different "monikers", simple line drawings and texts that are repeated over and over again with paint sticks.  My buddy that runs Near Zine had his moniker represented on the wall nearly a dozen times, so he was pretty excited about that.  

A lot of people snap pictures of cool train art on their phones or something, but this exhibit is something else.  It's a thorough catalogue of train art passing through Louisville, KY over the past couple years.  

You can see the exhibit at Bellarmine's McGrath Gallery through November 1st.  More info here.