Scott Conarroe goes into detail about how his work being labelled documentary, and how it isn’t about a decisive moment, but rather a combination of moments.
“The pictures are photographs; they’re a record of a thing or a place, and so by definition, they function very well as documents or documentary stuff. For me, I’m less interested in documenting, but more interested in kind of going out and learning, exploring, and looking. The depiction is sort of an after effect or a result of a practice. […] When we think of a documentary photographer, the event has often resolved itself to some extent or to some degree, by the time the public looks at the pictures, so you can speak with a different type of authority. But the projects that I’m looking at are still unfolding. China is still developing, so we can’t really look back with authority and see the results. North America is still both gentrifying and rotting, and so that progress is still in play. For my glacier pictures, the glaciers aren’t extinct yet, so in a way the images are looking back, yet they’re still ongoing. These ideas don’t undermine or embolden the notion of documentary, but they do displace it.”
Scott also tells us about his experience of art school, photography as a means to explore, his working process, the theme of railways, long exposures, By Rail vs. The Great Eastern, social issues, ongoing projects, being in an artist residency, some tips, etc.
Ruby Elliot tells us about how she determines whether her art is good or not.
“Obviously, it’s very subjective, and because I’m posting the majority of things I do online, the response I get there sways my opinion. Sometimes, I’ll think something’s very good, but it won’t get that much attention and then I think, “Oh god, is it good?” But the real marker has to be, if you sit there and you look at what you’ve drawn and you think, “Oh, that’s funny! That just made me laugh.” That’s how you can tell if it’s good. Oh, and obviously, if you’ve drawn something and you’ve felt like you’ve connected with it, or it’s helped your anxiety kind of subside a little bit, or if it’s reduced your distress, that is a good drawing – it doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a line or if it’s the most complicated portrait in the world – that is good art, to me.”
Other topics she discusses are her academic experience, getting back into art, her family’s support, her work being autobiographical, her visual style, her sense of humour and how it plays a role in her life and work, her immediate process, the importance of sketchbooks, using text, upcoming projects, art as self-awareness, art therapy, some tips, etc.
Mark Johnson begins by telling us how positivity plays a role in what he does.
“Well, I have always been somebody who feels that there’s light in every situation, and I also very much believe that context maybe divides people, but there’s humanity that unites people. In that situation, I guess I’ve always been one to try to look for the positive connections and try to be involved in some sort of transcendence, where I’m involved in something bigger than just my own self. My own personal life doesn’t mean as much to me as everybody connecting, and the possibilities that come from that. So, I think that those things guided the direction I wanted to go with every part of my life. As for Playing For Change, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a job, or a career, as much as a life choice – and within that, there are things I do that pay bills, and there are things I do that spiritually lift me up, and there are things in there that entertain me, or that challenge me. I think that who I am, is a big part of the direction that Playing For Change went…”
He also tells us about his upbringing, how music played a role in his life, the making of Playing For Change, how the project went global, the meeting of musicians, the technical aspects of producing the albums, the different languages incorporated, the foundation, the Global Marketplace, the future of PFC, etc.
Alexandra Levasseur tells us about her work, and what changes happened between her last series and her most recent work.
“Well, it was really my state of mind at that time. I was adapting myself to this environment, after ten years of being in another country! I had no friends, I was really alone, and the winter was so dark and cold. I guess, what changed is that I started to feel more at ease and more at peace in Montreal. I stopped focusing on myself and my preoccupations as the centre of my art, but more about the people around me, and the environment. I started questioning the idea of relationships as the basic element of all that exists and of life itself. I just felt the need to represent something bigger…”
She also goes into more depth about different topics, such as her influences, inspirations, her interesting aesthetic, the different themes explored, the symbolism she uses, working with sound, working with animation, upcoming projects, etc.
Vanessa Aisling talks about differentiating between cinema and photography.
“Well, I call a lot on cinema, and I think it inspires me a lot. I don’t know what’s cinematic and what’s photographic. I understand the concept, but I hear that term being thrown around a lot, and I started to think, that maybe we just associate storytelling with cinema and not so much with photography. I also think it has to with the candid again or these in between moments – moments that aren’t necessarily shown, or are more private and more intimate, that are maybe reserved for a film. Those moments are really interesting to me, because they’re so vital to our own personal memory and experiences, yet often there’s no proof of them, or there’s no way to return to them.”
She also talks more into detail about film as an influence, photography, the things that inspire her, themes she works with, her series Getting Lost, Going Home, travelling abroad and her expectations, working at an artist residency in Spain, some of her other works, her family, social issues, future projects, etc.