An Interview with Jordan Reznick

Meet Jordan Reznick (pronoun: they) — photographer, scholar, activist, educator, and artist-in-residence at Dickerman Prints.

Jordan's passion is photographing communities of people with whom they are intimate: exploring both the agency and vulnerability of their subjects.

Jordan Reznick's Queer Babes series — which is the centerpiece of their residency at Dickerman Prints — was recently exhibited at Aperture Foundation in New York and Romer Young Gallery in San Francisco, as well as being honored with a feature in Vice i-D Magazine.

Some of Jordan's other work includes a series documenting a cooperative community in Oregon — where they lived — and an in-depth exploration of their immediate and extended family.

Jordan received a BFA in Photography from New York University, and an MFA in Photography and an MA in Visual & Critical Studies from California College of the Arts. Currently, Jordan is a PhD Candidate in Visual Studies at UC Santa Cruz.

To experience Jordan's work, please join us on Thursday, September 28, 2017, at Dickerman Prints Gallery for an opening night reception for The Residents. (RSVP HERE)


Dickerman prints gallery: WHEN DID YOU GET STARTED WITH PHOTOGRAPHY?

Jordan Reznick: "My father was a photographer. I grew up admiring his strange photographs and smelling darkroom chemicals. He taught me to use a manual camera when I was ten. I’ve been photographing ever since. "

Oriah twists (2011), from We Wish That We All Have a Wonderful Life

Oriah twists (2011), from We Wish That We All Have a Wonderful Life


DPG: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE KIND OF PHOTOGRAPHY TO TAKE AND WHY? (EX. PORTRAITS, LANDSCAPES, ETC )

JR: "I take photographs of people. For years I avoided photographing people because of the power relationship involved and my own discomfort with the interaction—I’m pretty shy. However, over the years, I realized that all of my favorite photographs are photographs of people. In a photograph you can stare at some one in the face at length in a way you rarely can in person. Photographs of people captivate me in a way that landscapes never do. 

However, because of the power relationship involved and the politics of representation, I choose to only photograph people with whom I am intimate or have a shared sense of vulnerability. I want my images to be honest and vulnerable, and I also want my subjects to feel that they have power over how they’re represented."

Rhae, San Francisco, California (2017), from Queer Babes

Rhae, San Francisco, California (2017), from Queer Babes


DPG: WHAT PROJECT(S) ARE YOU WORKING ON DURING YOUR RESIDENCY AT DICKERMAN PRINTS?

JR: "I’m working on the Queer Babes project. It’s a portrait series that explores the complexity of gender identity and beauty within the queer and trans community today."

Christiaan, Rosemead, California (2016), from Queer Babes

Christiaan, Rosemead, California (2016), from Queer Babes


DPG: FOR YOUR QUEER BABES SERIES, DID YOU HAVE A PERSONAL CONNECTION TO THOSE YOU TOOK PHOTOGRAPHS OF? OR WERE THEY STRANGERS? IF YOU KNEW THEM, DID YOU COME UP WITH IDEAS BEFOREHAND OF HOW YOU WANTED TO SHOOT EACH INDIVIDUAL OR PERHAPS YOU COLLABORATED WITH THE MODEL?

JR: "I began the project by photographing my friends and lovers, but since then the project has expanded to include new people I meet and people that I had not met until approaching them about the project. Many people that I did not know before, I now count as my friends. I feel really lucky in that way. 

I photograph each person in or around their home when possible. I don’t plan the photograph beforehand, but try out several settings once I arrive for the shoot. There is sometimes a sort of collaboration about outfits and backgrounds, but it really depends on the person. Every shoot is an entirely different experience. Sometimes making photographs is only a small fraction of what we do."

Eric, San Francisco, California (2016), from Queer Babes

Eric, San Francisco, California (2016), from Queer Babes


DPG: WAS WE WISH THAT WE ALL HAVE A WONDERFUL LIFE SHOT IN A PARTICULAR PLACE? CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THIS PROJECT? 

JR: "We Wish That We All Have a Wonderful Life is a project exploring my family. I photographed my immediate and extended family in different parts of the country, exploring what it was like to photograph while experiencing shared vulnerability with my photographic subjects. I photograph from a place that is embedded within my relationships with my subjects rather than as an outside observer. "

Mom's orange tree (2012), from We Wish That We All Have a Wonderful Life

Mom's orange tree (2012), from We Wish That We All Have a Wonderful Life


DPG: LAST BUT NOT LEAST, DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW PROJECTS YOU'D LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT?

JR: "I am working on developing a new project and all that I will say about it is that it’s pornographic, dirty, and fun." 


To see more of Jordan Reznick's work and for contact information, please visit their website.

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