David Egan Exhibition at 4×5 Gallery

We came across David Egan’s work in his recent show at our favorite Lower Haight photo space, 4×5 Gallery. We felt David’s photographs conveyed a beautiful sense of stillness and untold stories, and so we contacted him for a short interview on the images in The Long Way Around.

Kim Sikora: Can you talk about your recent work?

David Egan: In the summer of 2012, I drove across the United States from San Francisco, CA to my child hood home in Fort Washington, MD and I brought my large format camera and 140 sheets of Kodak Portra 400 4×5 film along for the ride. In the beginning, the trip was just a way to get out and make photographs. As I made my way across the US, I found myself photographing the land, architecture, objects, and random strangers that I encountered. … The vision is about transformation. The project is titled The Long Way Around. This series of photographs is my search for places, people, and things that demonstrate the shift in the American landscape and my own personal search and transition. This shift specifically is a change in the appearance of the United States, things across America look identical.

KS: What kinds of situations or environments inspire you?

DE: I find everyday situations and places to be intriguing if captured within the right frame of time. I photograph real environments. I am often inspired by objects and places that offer feelings of nostalgia and hints of the past.

KS: You have a solo show currently on view at 4×5 Gallery. Can you describe some of your editing decisions in what you included in the show?

DE: Working with Gordon Szeto and Hung Tran of 4×5 Gallery, we edited images from my series The Long Way Around to work in a cohesive manner for their gallery space. The show contains 15 total images all of which are landscape photographs. We originally had discussed having portraits in the show as well but I personally decided to exclude them from this showing. Editing work is always a tough process as I find myself wanting certain images for personal reasons and it can be difficult to be objective at times.

KS: How has your imagery changed in the past few years?

DE: I have been fascinated with the changing landscapes in the US for awhile now but my work has certainly evolved and progressed over the past few years. It was not until 2009 that I truly got serious about making photographs and enrolled in graduate school to pursue an MFA in photography which I completed in 2012. I am very much of the mindset that hard work and dedication gets you places so I just continue to work on my photography. I study a lot of photographic history as well as currents trends within the art but nothing compares to getting out there and just learning on the job.

KS: Is there a new project you’re working on you’d like to tell us about?

DE: There is a new project that I am just starting to work on but it is in the very beginning stages. The series focuses on the theme of winter and my nostalgic feelings and memories.

Check out David’s website to see the portraits from The Long Way Around, alongside some of his other photographic work.

Artistic Identity

Two local photographers share their views on forming a photographic identity.

 I mage © Doug Birbaum I mage © Doug Birbaum

Kim Sikora: How would you describe your aesthetic?

Doug Birnbaum: I would describe my aesthetic as having a reference to classic hollywood films. I love shooting people and I like to plan series and shoots around cinematic moments. I love old films. I was a filmmaker before being a still photographer so I like to dream up shoots with people based around locations, props and wardrobe. I always dream of being able to direct bigger and bigger crews to achieve large scale production.

In photography so much of our aesthetics derives from the equipment that we use. Many times photography is dated because of the state of the art equipment available to the artist. I shot a series a couple of years ago about the golden age of California surf culture. We took some old Woodies down the beach and I shot up and down the coast on old film cameras, from 4×5 to Medium format on Ilford Black and White film. By stepping back into a photographic process that more closely matched the era of the historical piece that I was trying to create I found a harmony. This series really informed what I would try to do moving forward, to use current digital equipment to come closer to a film look. I needed to shoot a series on film to inform myself how things should look.

I also collect some old vintage photographs that I find in garage sales and thrift stores. I am usually looking for quirky stuff that is beyond anything that I could dream up on my own to shoot. I just love the richness of old photographs and I really love the way that the paper looks as it starts to discolor over time. In the past I have been known to soak my own photographs in tea to get more of an old fashioned look to them after they dry out. This process takes some of my photographs outside of the time that it was created and places the image further back in the past, it suddenly feels more nostalgic.

Anthony Kurtz: Painterly, atmospheric, cinematic, raw, adventurous and hyper-realistic. My goal has never been to perfectly represent reality because I’d like to think of myself as an artist. I need to apply my “paint” to make it my artwork. I think I might be a failed painter or director of photography because I’m mostly inspired by cinematography and European fine art painters like Rembrandt and Caravaggio or the American landscape painters of the late 1800′s.

When I was starting out, people were talking about “shadow detail” but I was going the opposite route, pushing the blacks to dominate my photos. Now, as I’m getting more experienced, I’m toning it back a little because in 2013 everything is starting to look the same. I want my work to evolve while staying true to my values

 Image © Anthony Kurtz Image © Anthony Kurtz  Image © Anthony Kurtz Image © Anthony Kurtz

Jeremy Sachs Michaels’ Moments of Intimacy

Photographer Jeremy Sachs Michaels has a body of images documenting life with his girlfriend, Lauren, over the past few years. Here he is in a short interview about his motivations to capture the intimacy of relationships.

Kim Sikora: Photographing someone so close to you, are there any boundaries surrounding moments that can be shared?

Jeremy Sachs-Michaels: There are boundaries, but not the kind that are imposed by her. Lauren trusts me and I photograph her constantly. I find that I impose the boundaries upon myself when it becomes editing time. I want to show her in certain ways and not in others. There are photographs of her that I’ve taken and absolutely love, but I don’t think anyone else will ever see them. A mentor once told me, “Just because somebody wants something from you as a photographer, it doesn’t mean you have to give it to them.” I think he was talking in terms of business, but I feel like it applies to my editing process. I can include nudie pics or things that are more lusty, or even trashy or dirty, but sometimes those things distract from the rest of the images. I love quiet subtlety.

KS: When you are shooting Lauren, are there specific moments you hope to capture? How do you decide which times are meaningful vs. not meaningful?

JSM: I usually don’t know until I see it. Often times we’ll be somewhere, or even home, and something about her and the light and what’s happening comes together and that make it meaningful. Other times I feel like something meaningful is happening and I take a picture of it and it doesn’t feel meaningful in the photograph. In some ways it’s a crap shoot. I spend lots of time looking at my photographs, as well as other people’s, and I have ideas about what I feel works and what doesn’t.

KS: What are your strategies in balancing your time for commercial vs. personal work?

JSM: This is something that I think is hard for me, but in the end always works out. Often times the personal work leads to commercial work. Lauren and I just shot a fashion lifestyle piece together. They hired me as the photographer and loved how I photograph her, so they hired her as the model. The answer to your question is that if I have “commercial” work that needs tending to, I tend to it. If I don’t have to work on that I do my personal work. All I need for most of the Lauren pictures is a camera. This is the farthest things from technical photography here. There’s no tricks. I just try to feel my way through the pictures. If it feels good I keep going.

KS: Also, are there specific photos in this group that have a story behind them?

JSM: All of these pictures have a story behind them.

We were snowshoeing last winter in Grand Teton. No one was around and we were walking on top of over 4 feet of snow. Lauren was showing off her walk and fell through and couldn’t get up. I couldn’t help pull her up because I would fall through as well, so I just took a picture instead.

The image with Lauren crying was right after my grandfather died. We went upstate to be with my family and on the drive she had lots of feelings. It was a bittersweet moment. She was sad and something sad had just happened, but at the same time she was crying about my grandfather, which in some way showed me that she had become part of my family and that made me happy.

 Lauren has two cockatiels, Angel and Dennis. She loves them very much and they required baths occasionally. This moment could be any one of many, but I love this photograph. Lauren has two cockatiels, Angel and Dennis. She loves them very much and they required baths occasionally. This moment could be any one of many, but I love this photograph.

The hand print is one that I took early one morning when I was leaving for a shoot before she woke up. I guess she’d slept on her hand and then rolled over while I was in the shower. I noticed this mark on her face while I was getting dressed. I think it’s both beautiful and quiet because she’s sleeping and the light, but the angry redness of the hand print is really shocking and unusual.

Unexpected Joy via the Art of Eric Staller

Kim Sikora: Your light drawing photographs are full of questions about your process. Especially after seeing that these were created in the 70s. Can you share some info on how these were created?

Eric Staller: New York City at night was an enchanting place for me. The plazas, bridges, parks and monuments, empty and eerily quiet at night, were dramatic stage sets waiting to be transformed. Transformed by my magic wand: the 4th of July sparkler. Late at night I drove around in a beat-up station wagon, looking for places and ideas to jump out at me. When the moment was right I set up my Nikon on a tripod and planned a choreography with light. One of the first light drawings was Walker Street:


Each sparkler lasted about a minute, so that was the amount of time I had to make the drawing. I would lock the camera shutter open, light the sparkler and quickly walk down the street, holding the sparkler at curb level, to complete the composition before the sparkler went out. I felt a strong sense of exhilaration, like running the 100-meter dash with a flaming torch! Getting the film back from the lab was even more exhilarating: it was magic, my presence was invisible! There was just this trail of liquid fire.

Suddenly I was drunk with the possibilities. I proceeded to outline everything for my photos: cars, trucks, streets, monuments. The energy was packed into one-minute performances. I worked through the night and although I was alone and even lonely, my romance for the city was sweet indeed. At dawn I would go to Fulton Street to watch the fishermen come in, or to the Lower East Side for the first hot bagels of the day.

My dreams in 1977 were taking the forms of fantasy architectures of light. … By then I found that a 10-minute sparkler was available on special order. I attached one to the end of a broomstick and, using my arm as a compass, scribed arcs overhead as I walked up the middle of the street.

The challenge now was to take it intellectually further with each photo; to wonder what effect this or that choreographic device would produce; and then, to be continually surprised by the result. For Lightubes I spun the sparkler on the end of a string as I walked toward the camera; then ran back and did it again.

I mounted 5 sparklers on a broomstick and held it vertically, at arm’s length for the 5-minute exposure Ribbon of Hanover Street It occurred to me more than once that these were performances with light. Crowds of curious garbage men, night watchmen, workaholic Wall Streeters and the homeless gathered to watch the lunatic with the blazing broomstick!


KS: We love your “urban UFO” series. (Especially when Big Bang Theory drops by the lab!). Have any of these pieces grown to become your favorite?

ES: I guess I would have to say that my Lightmobile is my favorite, as it was the genesis of a 27 year-long series of mobile public artworks. It has travelled the world and is the most widely understood and loved of the series.
The Big Bang Theory I built in Amsterdam in 1996 and since moving to SF in 2010 it has become my town car. I never tire of watching the double-takes, mouths falling open, people going: “huh, what the –?”

KS: In your writing about Fish-o-vision you say that you sometimes receive questions about “the alienation of being an artist in this material world.” Are there any works of yours that speak to this idea intentionally?

ES: All of these pieces ask more questions than they answer. I want to challenge people to think and feel, to come up with their own meaning, or to allow for the unexplainable. In fact, I can’t entirely explain where my ideas come from. They bubble up from my subconscious and it is often the idea that appears the most absurd at first that I become obsessed with and end up building.

KS: Artists in this city face some tough obstacles when it comes to creating the time and money to make new work. How do you manage your work and your time?

ES: Well, if you want/need to be an artist and also want to make a living at it, you might as well buy a lottery ticket every week as well! A lucky outgrowth of the Urban UFOs is my patented circular 7-person ConferenceBike, which I manufacture in Germany. There are now more than 300 of them putting smiles on faces in 18 countries.

Nicolo Sertorio’s Thoughts on the Local Photo World

Kim Sikora: As a working photographer in San Francisco, what was your biggest challenge been?

Nicolo Sertorio: I chose to live and work in the San Francisco bay area because I fell in love with the place and people from my very first visit. But it is a bit of a compromise from the point of view of a photographic career: it is a smaller market compared to New York or Los Angeles, there are fewer local clients, etc. Also, my personal style for commercial work (‘refined lifestyle’) tends to resonate more with East Coast clients. But there is no way I am moving, especially now that we invested in a new studio!

KS: Artists in San Francisco face many obstacles, and it can be a struggle to make the time and space to create new work. How do you balance your personal and professional time?

NS: It definitely takes discipline to carve out time for personal work, but at the same time it is where I get inspiration, motivation, and renewed excitement. On the commercial side I try to have a personal (‘test’) shoot every couple of months. On the fine-art side I tend to work on series/ideas that evolve over fairly long periods of time. But it is a balance between all the dimensions of life constantly screaming for attention, one that has to be constantly re-negotiated.

Of course it helps to have a supportive partner. In my case my wife is a scientist, so we share the passion for our work, the sacrifices, the patience and determination required, the ideals.

KS: You took part in APA’s spring portfolio review event. How do you feel that this impacted your work or your photography career?

NS: I have attended several portfolio reviews and found the APA San Francisco one to be small and intimate, which I liked.
Jaqueline Fodor gave me some great advice and encouragement to include one of my personal series on my commercial web site. I had been weary of doing so, but have been getting very good feedback since.

KS: Are there other resources you think photographers in the bay area would benefit from?

NS: I always push myself and my friends to shoot more and collaborate more. ASMP and APA are both great organizations to meet fellow photographers. I also enjoy the ‘Dog & Pony’ shows that Propville organizes. But I do feel that as an imaging community we could do a lot more together.

KS: Do you have any new projects you’d like to tell us about?

NS: The latest projects (and time guzzlers) for me have been:

Got elected as the new president of ASMP Northern California chapter. As a new board we have many great ideas but limited resources, so it has been taking a lot of our time to establish the foundation for many new programs and workshops that will be rolling out in the fall.

I just released my latest personal/fine-art series (check ‘Passages II: Rest Areas’ on my fine-art site: www.nicolosertorio.com). So far it has been received very well: it has been included in multiple group shows and won several awards. I am currently exploring the idea of making it into a book.

Jun Takano and the Unknown Delta

Kim Sikora: In your statement for “Delta Unknown,” you speak about the traditional and alternate sides of the word “solitude.” Can you talk a bit more about this?

Jun Takano: Well, I am a Brazilian born and raised in São Paulo. In Brazil, the word solitude has a negative meaning… The Latin people that very warm and sociable therefore they always seek to be around people. In Brazil, solitude has almost the same meaning of loneliness, therefore, when you say you feel solitude, usually you are sad and lonely.

I realized that, sometimes, solitude could have a different meaning, something less negative. Every now and them I just want to be away from people and be quiet enjoying the sunset for instance… It is the serene feeling we sometimes want to feel. That is what I wanted to portray in my series.

KS: How did you create the concept for this series?

JT: The whole concept of my series started by me being homesick. … That is when I found the Delta, which in many ways reminded me of the countryside city of Tupã (Brazil), where my grandfather lived. … Therefore, the Delta triggered so many childhood memories and became my home away from home, somewhere where I could feel some comfort. It became my meditation place.

KS: Your images in this series have an ethereal quality to them. Can you talk a bit more about your experience of solitude, and your methods of photographing these with a 4×5 camera?

JT: It was a humbling experience to spend hours at night shooting for my project. The time of day I choose to shoot, helps to create this ethereal mood because of the absence of people. In many nights I felt I was the only person out there.

The 4×5 camera helped me slow down and to feel the place before I start shooting, this helped me to have a better emotional response to my subject. My methods to shoot with a large format camera at night are very meticulous. I had to carefully meter the scene, slowly compose and focus my shot, take many a Polaroid test shots, wait for hours to get my exposure.

KS: For those unfamiliar with the area. can you talk about the residents of the Delta area?

JT: To me is very hard to talk about the residents of the area, I had covered a wide range of the Delta so there were lots of different cities I shot. However I can tell that they all have one thing in common, they are usually humble and nice.

During the day they are usually sympathetic people, at night this might change a little bit because to them I am the weird guy with a big camera pointing at their business and houses, so they can get a little wary about my presence. However, I have never had a problem with violence or something like that, they are usually curious and want to know what I am doing at 3 am in the streets or they just call the cops to check on me.

KS: What is one thing you want your viewers to walk away from your photography with?

JT: I want the viewer to have some kind of emotional response to my photographs, even if it is completely different than my own response. We all have different backgrounds and grew up in different scenarios, therefore any feeling or memory my images trigger will make me happy.

In addition, I would like people to understand the need of taking care of our environment, to respect what we have around us.

KS: Another great facet of this project is the color in each image. Can you explain what kinds of post-processing you do, if any?

JT: To be honest, there is not much I do in post processing. The fact that I use film already helps me with all those colors, film handles colors and highlights differently than digital, especially at night. When I am scanning my negatives I usually choose one light source and I try to make it as close as I saw it when I was shooting. I neutralize one light source but I am aware that the others will shift and get some nice different colors.

KS: Is there a new project you’re working on you’d like to tell us about?

JT: I am working in a daytime project of the Delta right now. I really love this place. The majority of the photos are being shot at daytime from a boat. It is much more like a street photography; I am shooting different things I can capture from a boat’s view. But it is still in the beginning; there is a long way to go before it gets ready.

Tim Sullivan Exhibition

Kim Sikora: Can you talk a little bit about the work you’ve been creating at the lab?

Tim Sullivan: My current show at Steven Wolf Fine Arts “Blackout, Bleach and Blueballs” is a series in 3 separate, but related parts. The “Blackout” section includes the flocked lightbulbs and the negative photographs where I depict shining darkness upon the world.

“Bleach” is an negative sculpture and sound piece, basically an inverted cassette tape or Nirvana “Bleach”.

“Blueballs” is an interactive video installation that consists of a “ball room” with multiple sizes of blue balls from 10″ to 7ft in diameter where the viewer is invited to kick or punch the balls around, the blue of the balls is keyed out and can be viewed on a monitor in the other room.

KS: How did you create the concept for these images?

TS: For the “Blackout” photos I wanted to show what things would look like if darkness shone upon them. This was really just a concept that I have thought about for a long time, but never quite knew how to depict. I started with the black flocked lightbulbs, when photographers want to absorb light they usually use a black velvet backdrop, taking this material and covering a lightbulb with it was the simplest way to give the concept of negating light. I thought I might cover sections of my still lives with black flock to make a more physical or sculptural representation of “shining blackness”.

Before I began making such sculptural tableaux it came to me that when looking at a negative one sees the light that is not there rather than the light that is. So a very bright and blown out photo would be very dark, a very dark photo would be light, glare would be black and shadows white, in this negative world.

But I couldn’t just show a negative as the viewers mind would go directly to that, so I created inverted scenes, little negative worlds by painting and printing objects in their opposite hues to give a sense that the world is “real” but the lights are shining darkness rather than light.

KS: You make interesting choices with the objects of your still lives.
Are there narratives behind these?

TS: They are narrative. To me they are mostly self portraits, personal narratives about me and the people in my life.

They are takes on 16th-17th century dutch vanitas paintings which were oftentimes portraits themselves, containing objects that were specific to the patron, etc. In “Trix” I wanted to blur the line between a more serious fine art still life and an advertising photo, I have been very influenced by ad photography growing up so it’s a little bit of an homage, not to mention that it directly points out that you are about to be “tricked”.

KS: What has your biggest challenge been?

TS: Almost everything in this “negative world” is a different shade of blue…I don’t think the human eye is used to distinguishing between all of these different blues and we certainly do not have the vocabulary for it. Just figuring out those blues, categorizing them and mixing the paint has been quite the challenge. Outside of mixing 50 shades of blue the painting of objects in general was pretty difficult as I haven’t actually painted since undergraduate school and even though I was just painting over mostly 3 diminutional objects I had to decide upon a consistent style whether it was “realistic” or more expressive.

KS: As artists, most of us face obstacles in creating work. How do you
balance your personal and professional time?

TS: If you are not living off of your art, which most of us are not, you have to able to pull all nighters. I’s harder as you get older to pull all nighters so you have to figure out a way to live off a part time job, which is hard in an expensive city like SF.

Also one can try to find work where you can incorporate your practice into your job. When I used to be an art consultant I would consider getting dressed in a suit and selling an Andy Warhol all part of a big performance. Also if you have a family you can incorporate them into your art making practice, I spent some serious “quality time” making work with my family.

If you are an artist you should have no problem figuring out creative ways to multitask and if you are excited about the work your making you’ll make it happen, when I’m in the middle of a project I’d rather keep going than eat.

Madeleine Campbell Explores the Familiar

Kim Sikora: How did you create the concept for this series?

Madeleine Campbell: The current series I’m working on, titled Cloth, is inspired by the apartment I’m subletting while in San Francisco and part of a larger body of work, titled Anthropomorphic Spaces. I am exploring a reciprocal relationship between self and space through psychoanalysis, haunting, intuition, and personal history.

KS: How do you decide when and where to shoot? Were there destinations with history you tracked down, or was it more or a fluid exploration?

MC: I shoot in places that I know on a personal level, places I have lived in or spent a lot of time in. I explore familiar spaces in unfamiliar ways as a means to speak toward a singular/plural understanding of time, space, and the unknown.

KS: Many of your images have a brooding quality to them. What kind of emotional content do they hold for you?

MC: Private spaces are both those which shield us and those which conceal us, this interplay between comfort and fear is central to my work. While my photographs are often read as being quite dark, play is a major influence in both my process, and my conceptual framework.

KS: In particular, I’m very curious about the image on the television, and the view of a stone backyard patio. What is going on in these pictures?

MC: Both images are from a project titled Old Man’s Voice in which I documented my grandparents’ home as a site of myth, memory, and cultural association. With my grandparents’ house now vacant, the lack of habitation creates a museum like effect in which all the objects are frozen in time. In stark contrast, the surrounding yard has become wildly overgrown. The juxtaposition of interior/exterior space symbolizes the passing of time and acts as a metaphor for the psychological/physical self.

KS: Can you tell us a bit more about your shooting process?

MC: It is performative in nature and for this reason I like to shoot on my own, using myself as subject (via wireless remote), or with my sister whom I use as a stand-in for myself. I shoot both photography and video on a canon 5D mark II.

KS: What is one thing you want your viewers to walk away from your photography with?

MC: I want to provide avenues for the viewer to explore intimate spaces through personal associations and collective experience.

KS: A lot of photographers struggle with the balance of personal work and otehr money-making pursuits. How do you balance the two?

MC: I’m currently working towards a masters of applied arts at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, which has allowed me the time to focus solely on my personal work.

KS: Can you tell us what to expect in the next few weeks of your residency?

MC: I will be shooting new work and using the Dickerman Prints’ Print on Demand services. I’m also really looking forward to meeting the other residents and having the opportunity to work in such a creative environment.

Peter and Lisa Layer Patterns of the Bay

Kim Sikora: Can you tell us a bit about your beginnings as a team of photographers?

Peter Tonningsen and Lisa Levine: We met as artists-in-residence at Kala Art Institute about six years ago and have much in common… We began collaborating through an annual event called Alameda on Camera… We had both participated individually in this event in the past, so proposed collaborating one year thinking it would be fun, but were told it was ‘against the rules’ of the event. However coincidence was in our favor as the random pieces of the map we each drew happened to border each other, so we proceeded to photograph each other’s area while standing on the shared border of our map sections.

PT & LL: We did this using a multiple exposure technique in which we each photographed on 35mm film, rewound that film, exchanged it, and then repeated that process right over the top of what the other had just photographed, with this shooting and exchange occurring multiple times… thus our collaboration and multiple-image methodology was born.

KS: When you first started out photographing as a team, what things did you first gravitate towards?

PT & LL: Given the nature of the first piece we created together, we started off interested in exploring borders, particularly the borders between divergent neighborhoods… For example, one of the first areas we examined was the border between the Port of Oakland and the surrounding West Oakland neighborhood

KS: How has your imagery changed in the past few years?

PT & LL: Our work has become less about the context of borders and more about the dialog and discovery we have with each other and how that interchange can be developed to distinctively describe and portray place and experience… We have become increasingly dedicated to pursuing public art opportunities as we are thrilled with the challenge of creating solutions for site-specific spaces…

KS: You have a lot of images shot in the Bay Area, and all of them are delightfully complex. Can you tell us a bit more about your shooting methods?

PT & LL: We are both urban at heart, so favor industrial and metropolitan subject matter, especially because of the dynamic and serendipitous nature of these kinds of environments. Regarding our shooting and creative methodology… We are especially drawn to this combination (multiple exposures) of analog and digital technologies, which we believe makes our work especially relevant given the rapidly changing climate of digital photography today.

KS: How did you decide when and where to shoot? Were there destinations with history you tracked down, or was it more or a fluid exploration?

PT & LL: Sometimes the sites we choose are predicated by commissions we are working on, while other times they are simply places that have caught our attention for being visually interesting. Once we start exploring a place, everything about the context of that location becomes of interest… How all that unveils itself to us is more of a fluid exploration. Our preference is to go to the sites together and wander about, talking about and shooting what most captivates our attention.

KS: What kind of feeling, or what experience of your context do you hope to give viewers?

PT & LL: Essentially we hope that our viewers will relish in a sense of discovery and excitement at seeing a familiar place anew. We want to provide aesthetically alluring, yet visually complex and contemplative works, where the audience can take in a location from multiple viewpoints and multiple points in time… For those interested in photography, we also hope that they will be engaged with how our process challenges conventional standards of a photograph document by extending notions of photographic time, space, framing, and authorship.

KS: Can you explain on of your most recent public art installations? What are your goals for public displays like this?

PT & LL: The most recent Public Art project we completed was for Highland Hospital where we were commissioned to produce a series wall-mounted images reflecting the varying communities throughout Alameda County that the Hospital serves. The goal of our artwork was to celebrate the diversity of the populace served by Highland Hospital while providing a familiar sense of home and place to patients, visitors and staff.

Hopefully through such a familiar portrayal of the surrounding environment we contribute to the overall quality of care and wellbeing that the hospital provides by promoting reflection and conversation and helping decrease some of the anxiety that can be part of the hospital experience.

KS: What can we expect to see in the next few weeks of your residency?

PT & LL: The focus of our residency has been to develop a series of prints centered on the replacement of the Eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which is expected to be completed later this summer. We hope to arrange exhibition of our work at multiple locations on both sides of the Bay in conjunction with the Bridge’s opening celebrations.

Anastasia Kuba on the Trainlines of Russia

One of our newest artists-in-residence, Anastasia Kuba is fascinated by the inner life of Russian trains. Motivated in part by the forbidden nature of photographing on the trains, Anastasia familiarizes herself with the workers around her, angling for portraits of her subjects in context.

Kim Sikora: Can you talk a little bit about your series “People of the Road”?

Anastasia Kuba: At the moment rail road is still the most popular way to travel from the city to a city. (The) rail Road is like circulatory system of gigantic country.

I will be travelling through Russia by train from West to East making multiple stops in different cities. My main focus will be train attendants. Russian train attendants are known to have a very tough exterior, but at the same time to be very soulful.  I am interested in learning what is behind that mask of an inapproachable person. I want to know what their life is like, who they are,  what their day consists of, what do they see outside of the train window.

I was looking through different forums to find how international travelers see Russian train attendants. This was my favorite:

“Everyone who’s been doing a trip by train while in Russia knows what I’m talking about. These almost mythical stern people treating their cars like their own children, vacuum cleaning it at least twice a day, keeping their passengers in check … And lest you open the window….”

KS: When you are shooting in the trains, are you seeking out specific subjects or details to include?

AK: I am photographing everything/everyone that catches my eye. I think about what to include/ what to not include later when editing.

KS: How does this series relate to your past work?

AK: Vulnerability and strength has been the main focus of my work and it is a main theme of this project.

KS: How did you create the concept for this series?

AK: One of the times I went back to Russia to visit my family and took a train from Moscow to Voronezh I met a train attendant who captivated me with her personality. I remember a moment when an impatient child asked her when is train going to stop. She answered him nicely and then spoke to herself while looking at the window: “When is the train is going to stop… all my life I am asking myself this question”. I just couldn’t forget her. She was so soulful, authentic…

KS: Given the obstacles that most of us face as artists, it can be a struggle to make the time and space to create new work. How do you balance your personal and professional time?

AK: I think I am extremely lucky. I am professional photographer/ artist. Photography is my work, hobby, passion and lifestyle.

KS: Each of your subjects looks they hold a number of stories within them. Are there any stories from your experience with them you’d like to share?

AK: The lady on the very first photograph shared a car with me on the train from Moscow to Voronezh. Her name is Nusha. She was the first person I photographed for that project. Nusha was on her way home from visiting her son who just had a new born grandchild. She has 7 children. When she was 32 and her youngest child was 3 month old her husband passed away…

KS: You are beginning to plan your continuation of this project in Russia. Can you tell us more about your timeframe for your trip? How do you plan to fund it?

AK: I am planning on going in August and travelling  till mid December, because  am interested in showing the rail road life through a change of seasons. Everyone who took a train in Russia once was very excited tohearr about this project. I am launching my kickstarter compain June 1st and I hope that people support me iin my wish to learn and to tell stories of Russian train attendants and all people who’s life is tied o Russian Rail Road.

Stay tuned for the inclusion of Anastasia’s work in the next residency show.