Photographs by Adriana Bianchi
Interview via emails, September 2016
How did your relationship with photography begin?
In a very cliché manner, I had the opportunity to take beginning black and white photography in high school. However I had a lot of external factors working against me. We were not allowed to leave campus in order to make photographs and I was a very shy and nerdy teenager unable connect with my work group.
It wasn’t until undergraduate in college that an old mentor convinced me to change my major from English to Photography. I also met some good friends there who were as motivated, if not more to learn about and make photographs. I've learned the most from my peers, and I’m very grateful for the friendships I’ve forged through art.
Where does that intuition to photograph come from?
I photograph to understand myself, and my community. Photography is my way of not only gaining access to people and places but also to make sense of my environment and to reinterpret it through art.
Has moving to the East Coast affected the way you look at your work?
Absolutely! I have a very different relationship to the East Coast than I do the West Coast. I’m from San Jose, California, which is a metropolitan city that shares a history of agriculture, technology and innovation. On the West Coast I grew up in the tradition of straight-photography, and had not planned to deviate from that when moving to the East Coast. East Coast photography institutions are more interested with the conceptual, which has pushed me to look at my work in a more nuanced manner.
What's something new you've learned about your photography practice?
I was surprised to find how open I’ve been to intertwining different artistic practices in my work. I have been developing a foundation in theory, and am interested in finding ways of intertwining weaving, and sculpture into my work in order to deliver a more tactile experience to the viewer. I’ve been interested a lot in the psychology of social groups and the way that they use language to not only represent themselves but also navigate the external world. I want to find a way to merge my amateur sociological research with my art.
What is the most recent art object you've been inspired by?
I hope photo books count…Taking Off. Henry My Neighbor is a story about the obsessive archiving of a wife Martha, by her then husband, Henry. It’s hard for me to summarize the book, but I was equally fascinated and disturbed by the various ways he disembodied and interpreted her body through art.