Oranbeg Inquires: Jeremy August Haik
Where are you from/where are you currently residing?
I’m from DC/Baltimore originally, currently living in Brooklyn.
What is the work you are currently focusing on?
A lot of my work over the past few years has involved scanning found materials and images, but lately I’ve been incorporating a lot more studio and still life shooting into the work. I’m endlessly curious about the path an image can take as it gets copied and modified from the original image to a printed copy to a website or phone, maybe back into another photograph (and on and on). I’ve been collecting images and other printed material from various sources and finding as many ways as possible to replicate this cycle of replication and modification. I’ve been making a lot of polaroids lately as well, and those are starting to find their way into the work both as stand alone pieces and as objects within larger compositions. What the results of all of this suggest to me is a form of altered or alternative history that comes about by the collision between elements that might not have the chance to meet otherwise. Kind of a Craigslist missed connections but in the language of images instead of text.
What is your opinion on the current state of photography, particularly on the photobook?
I think there’s no time like the present for photography because it’s such a big part of our culture in a broad and global sense. That might sound tired or obvious, and I actually feel like the critical discourse surrounding photography is a little stale at the moment. Nevertheless, it doesn’t lessen the impact images and photography have on culture at large, which is just immeasurable. I think it’s common knowledge that we’re living in a radically new kind of cultural landscape that has sprung up within the last few decades because of the availability of image-making tools, and I don’t think any of us can really step back far enough it in order to observe its effects; it’s hard to comment on something so large when you’re living inside of it. But all of this boils down to it being a really exciting and promising time for photography.
What does this mean for artists working in photography? I think the second part of your question about the state of photobooks is one answer. You could argue, on the one hand, that artists have a profound need to stand apart from the crowd, to be different in some way. Refusing to participate (wholly) in the prevailing tide of digital images is one way of doing this. If I make a digital photograph and put it online anyone can have it and the experience is always the same. But if I rarefy that image by only printing it in limited quantities in book form I condense the experience to one person at a time, and presumably this makes it more intimate, personal and special. On the other hand, you could argue that it has less to do with individual motives and is more broadly the result of a wholesale dissatisfaction with the coldness and aloofness that a largely digital existence engenders. Either way, though, I think making books and putting them into peoples hands is about creating a personal and intimate space for art, and it seems like a lot of artists are looking for a way to do that right now.
Favorite Photo Blog?
I think Paper Journal is pretty great for photos. Probably my favorite art blog is likeafieldmouse, but it’s not strictly photography. I also really like the NY Times lively morgue blog.
That’s really hard to say. I’m really into Sara Cwynar’s Kitch Encyclopedia, I just got my copy in the mail last week. If I had to pick one book though, it would probably be Penelope Umbrico:Photographs.
Oranbeg Inquires is a series of informal interviews with the artists that have participated in Oranbeg’s Interleaves, Books and the NET exhibitions. Jeremy has an interleaf.
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