Bran Ferren

Why do I love photography? Because it’s the intersection of my life with other people’s.

Through technology you capture those moments and assemble them. We see remarkable photographers doing important things for the world.

I’m not that deep. On a scale of 1-2 I’m a one when it comes to deepness. I just like to make beautiful images I like to make pictures of things that are personal that intersects with other people’s moments in time. That’s the beauty of photography – it can be deep, or just be pretty.

Art has been around me my entire life. I’ve always been good at technical things. Why am I not a painter? Because both my parents are – a pretty good reason not to do something.

They gave me great gifts. They dragged me kicking and screaming around the world when I was young. I got to see the great wonders of the world, most things I did not care about at the time. I was looking at the TV antennas while my dad tried to teach me about world architecture and culture. Why? Because the job of kids is to break their parents heart. And that was me.

The pantheon is a great building. The interesting moment for me was coming into this place, waiting to see something, I looked around a bit at a cylindrical building – big and ugly. But visiting this launched my various careers. It never occurred to me that people were smart 2,000 years ago.

They teach you when you are a kid not wanting to learn about architecture that there’s a concept of the arch. In the cathedral business, size matters. We were only able to build things X wide due to a material issue. Modern engineering helped us create the cathedrals we see today.

The dome of the Pantheon is made with light-weight concrete – 2,000 years ago – who knew to use that?

It’s a beautiful building, a shaft of light – the first time I saw light as sculpture. It hadn’t occurred to me that without light, if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. This is what got me interested in lighting design.

The building is cool – natural air conditioning. The hole in the middle – rain comes in, ok, put in a drain… 2,000 years ago.

You look at this building and one thing after the other, people were smart. Light matters, different colors are illuminated as light comes through – forced perspective.

Innovation is pretty easy, getting things built and done is much harder. Compelling and powerful ideas can reach forward in time … and touch a little kid and get then interested.

With that as background: one of the great things about photography is the ability to reach forward in time. I shoot “timeless images.” They happen not to show the time they were shot. Most of the innovations of photography have been designed to make it cheaper, more portable.

I can care less about digital vs. analogue. I shoot in both. Through the miracle of Photoshop (thank you very much) – This whole concept of is it film, is it this or that? It’s boring. As an artist you use the tools you’ve got. I want transparency, I don’t want technology to put it’s fingerprint on the images I do.

What’s the point of all this?

This is the hardware side of my life. The different between the emotional resolution of an image whereby a cinematographer, taking the performance of a million dollar camera down to the quality of a disposal camera. Seeing all the details isn’t art, and this is all about visual storytelling.

The concept of how you make the technology work for you is, I can take you anywhere – using cameras, projectors, and a dome. I enjoy hardware and technology but it’s just a tool. But my passion is taking pictures. It’s finding places of extraordinary beauty – I love exploring. I love finding places that are hard to find, hard to get to. Taking people who love exploring the human body, what a magnificent thing; putting it together in places.

Technology should be invisible – to me. It’s about intentionality, sculpting with life. It’s about the primal elements, water – what you use.

I use state of the art, high performance lenses, many of them I’ve built. The ability to intersect your lives, intentionality of image, collaborating with a person. The experience of putting it together, how do you make things work for you?

Finding these places, it can be miserable getting to them. One of my basic problems is being a control freak.

[Image] Death Valley – 130 something degrees when we took this image – because things look different when it is hot.

How do you get there? Wait for that moment when the light is perfect. Find the things that other people don’t see. Finding things that have no particular scale to them, you have to reveal it. That experience, that texture of light.

As an artists, the basics you have to do. The challenge to any of this creativity is: can I find a way to capture the essence?

Watching people take in their lives for the collaboration of a project. That’s my work. for me, it’s been great, it’s been a little bit of stepping into my parents footsteps. It’s the ability to show myself that I suck, that I’m no where near as good as where I need to be. But it’s an adventure. To me the specialness of photography is to make the technology disappear, as an artist take control of it. Capture those moments.

If i’m lucky, I’ll get to suck less, and 2000 years later, one of my images will inspire a kid to build a Pantheon.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: