Wednesday, April 8, 2009
• Name, location
Ian van Coller, Bozeman, Montana
• Is photography your day job? If not, do you want it to be?
Yes, I teach photography at Montana State University. I find the academic environment very stimulating. My students are awesome and they keep me motivated.
• Can you remember/describe the first print you ever made? Why photography? Why do you do this?
When I started photographing at 13 years old I wanted to be a wildlife photographer. I was particularly interested in birds. The first print I remember making was a Cibachrome print of a Lilac Breasted Roller. Early on in South Africa I met some camera club folks who were very supportive and showed me how to make prints in their darkrooms.
Why photography? That's a good question I'm not quite sure how to answer. I have enjoyed making images as far back as I can remember. Maybe it is about photography's natural relationship with time and memory. For me photography is about constructing memories of my past and trying to figure out who I am and where I fit.
• How did your project develop?
My three projects that have made the top 50 of Critical Mass have been a linear progression from each other. They all relate to very personal experiences of growing up in South Africa during the apartheid era. I usually make work that relates to my personal experience.
• It's early yet, but have you had any concrete opportunities arise from your participation in Critical Mass? Shows? Publications? Print sales? High fives at a party?
I have not had anything concrete come from critical mass. I keep hoping for that book prize. Getting a book published seems like an impenetrable process to me. Portfolio reviews have been more successful for me as there is more opportunity to develop a personal relationship with curators. I definitely encounter lots of people who know my work from Critical Mass though. I will probably keep submitting work to Critical Mass because I see it as a way to keep challenging myself to produce high quality work.
• Who are your favorite photographers, images, websites, projects, or blogs, etc. that inspire?
At the moment I am obsessed with portraiture and issues related to identity. I have probably been most influenced by the writings of Geoffrey Batchen and Okwui Enwezor. Some of my favorite photographers include Seydou Keita, Samuel Fosso, Lolo Veleko, Fazal Sheikh, Tina Barney, Jackie Nickerson, Pieter Hugo, Bill Henson, Philip Lorca DiCorcia, Lorna Simpson, Michal Chelbin, Philip Toledano and Luis Gonzalez Palma. I also love the paintings of Kehinde Wiley, Mustafa Maluka, and Walton Ford and the prints of Enrique Chagoya.
I have 3 current favorite photo Blogs. Verbal Hmmm by Daniel Cuthbert, because it is one of the few blogs I know that focuses on African Photography. The Daily Polaroid by one of my former students Camden Hardy and Next Blog by one of my current students Zak Allen. Zak spends hours clicking that next blog button and compiling what he finds interesting into his own Blog. Fun idea.
• Do you have a favorite youtube video that you'd like to share? It doesn't have to be photo-related.
I don't spend much time on youtube though I do love this Malcolm McClaren video: