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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

ARTIST Q AND A INTERVIEW: Tim Taylor 4/30/13

 Hi Tim,  thank you for taking the time to talk about your art making process with us.  I appreciate it and look forward to hearing all about it.  

Q: I guess since your work is being featured in a community setting at the Walnut Creek Library this summer, it might be nice to know about your life and bio in Contra Costa County.  Can you tell us how long you have lived in Contra Costa County?

A: Born in Oakland, the family moved to CC County in 1956, I have lived here ever since, in a few different cities and towns, currently in Pleasant Hill.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your educational background please?

A: I had always taken a variety of art classes throughout my life, my first photo class was during a summer school session when I was in second grade I believe. I studied architecture in high school, and during my first year of college at Diablo Valley College. I decided to take a semester off from path and by coincidence, enrolled in a photography class. For a variety of reasons, I never looked back. However, to this day, my architecture studies are a huge part of how I use the frame of a camera, and many other elements of my artwork and design. I continued on to San Francisco State University for both my BA and MA. I had the incredible opportunity to study with some luminaries in the photographic community, as well as with some other students that have become forces in their own right.

2)    Your work at Diablo Valley College, what did you like most about it?
There are many things to list, but perhaps the top of that list was being a witness to so many lives learning to see and interpret the world through a camera lens, translating those ideas into photographs that somehow changed their lives, or at least on how they saw various aspects of their own lives.

3)    How would you describe yourself as an artists, all the mediums you enjoy using (this includes your music)?   

I look at the world that is about me and am fascinated by the visual and physical relationships that surround us all daily. I use a camera as a tool to record relationships that may only exist by virtue of being in a frame that I use, forcing the coexistence to be actual, at least for a fraction of a second. That brief period of time is unique, and it will not be seen ever again. That specificity of light and action and I share that brief interlude, and through the photograph, it gets shared.

I have had the parallel experience of having a performing musician since 1966. In that time, I have been able to find a connection between making photographs and playing drums. That constant is the element of time, inasmuch as both are dependent on the fraction of a second prior to, and subsequently, any given moment that happens either in performance or in camera.

4) Is there anything else personal you would like to share about your art making process?

All of us find a way to document our own experiences and share them with the world. I am blessed to have been able to find a fascination with the photograph, and the printed image. It takes trust, and faith in the belief in the validity of a personal way of seeing. There are no images any better than any other; they are just different for everyone. The importance is their source…

Q: I enjoyed reading your artist's statement last week.  Can you please expand upon it by saying more about your process meaning the experience while shooting and printing considerations?

A: This body of work spanned several years and several thousand rolls of film. I located several locations in the greater Bay Area that still had horses in an open environment, and proceeded to study each creature for the sense of space and body language. Since I was using a very wide field lens, I had to be very close to these animals that could very seriously harm humans instantly, and it was important to respect them and learn their communicative mannerisms. I read about “Horse Body Language” and managed to get within a few feet of these magnificent creatures. Of course, there were incidents that brought questions about my mortality, but generally I found that trust became the issue and respecting the sense of territory becoming minimal as a result. Humans could learn from this behavior.

The actual process involved using a hand held medium format camera in conjunction with a daylight flash exposure. The actual exposure would vary from ½ to 5 second shutter speeds, having the flash fire at the onset of the exposure, resulting in a combination of light sources. These exposures were made in very radical light conditions generally, requiring very special and precise processing of the film to adjust for those conditions. The printing was done originally on AGFA Portiga Rapid paper, but the manufacturer changed the surface appearance and that meant using a new paper, and reprinting some of the originals, once a replacement was determined. The paper chosen was Kodak Polycontast. The printing was done in editions of 5, all then archivally processed and toned in a 1:9 selenium toner. All is printed at 14x17 on 16x20 paper; matted 20x24 with white 4 ply rag board.
Q: How does this series relate or did it influence your current work?

A: I have most currently worked shooting in more urban locales, and less with artificial light, but the sense of movement and direction are still a major concept and are part of that work. The smells have changed too…

Thanks so much Tim for this interview.  I appreciate you taking the time.  Best to you and your new endeavors. 

-  ginny mangrum
Thank you Ralph Atkins for this great photograph...