“I think all photography has the possibility to move outside of our experience. It is not just a droid who’s purpose is to document the exhaust of the machine, but its own unique voice that informs us beyond just a record of the time.”
Canadian born artist Curtis Wehrfritz studied photography at Ontario College of Art. He’s represented by PH Neutro Italy.
“My work deals with story telling. I utilize images that are drawn and cast to create a tableau for the viewer. Daguerreotypes and collodion processes deliver a unique one of a kind relationship with the viewer. Rather than just a recording device the plates have the power to illicit a haunting feeling. I am intrigued by the “old” processes not as a history lesson but the special way they render imagery and how they can create a notion of being out of time.
The mirrors of Daguerreotypes create an experience where the viewer sees the image floating behind their own image in the depths below.”
Interview with Curtis Wehrfritz
Curtis, what was your most memorable moment shooting pictures?
When the final image captures something beyond the live experience.
Why did you become a photographer?
There is a quote:
“Thought is a prisoner of language.”
I think photography can release some of these prisoners.
What does photography mean to you and what do you want to say with your pictures?
I am less interested in hitting the target than I am making the bullet ricochet.
What’s your favorite photography quote?
“Punish them with light.”
How would you describe your photographic language and creative process?
Let the work teach you.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
Re-writing someone else’s work is easy, making original work is very difficult.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
I want to create a prayer box for the viewer.
What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?
To listen to everything and chose very carefully and become deaf.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes? Especially keeping in mind the over abundance of photographic imagery in today’s society.
A backstory. I think all photography has the possibility to move outside of our experience. It is not just a droid who’s purpose is to document the exhaust of the machine, but its own unique voice that informs us beyond just a record of the time.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
The lure of salvage; literature, theater, poets.
Found objects. Cormac McCarthy. Robert Wilson. Nick Cave.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
Primarily a hot rod camera, cobbled together from parts from two Magnesium Kodak cameras. I used these to build a Frankenstein 11 x 14 with a nine-inch front board to hold the most important part; old heavy brass lenses. My daguerreotype/collodion lab is a studio I built with burnishing tools and chemical hoods. It is generally a mess.
Vonnegut says: “You think this looks bad, you should see what it looks like up here.” (point to head)
What’s your favorite website about photography?
The online magazine “Unless You Will”.
What photography book would you recommend?
“Paris Texas” (Published by Road Movies/Greno) by Wim Wenders and Sam Shepard.
“He ran through the flames toward the only two people he loved. But they were gone. Then he ran.”
An image that is unseen can’t sell anything. It is pure, therefore true, beautiful, in one word: innocent. As long as no eye contaminates it, it is in perfect unison with the world. If it is not seen, the image and the object it represents belong together. Wim Wenders
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?
It is not because anyone notices that you make work. Just find the lamest of excuses to keep going.