Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Photographer to Note

(Above) A recent piece by Jefferson Hayman.

JEFFERSON HAYMAN IS A RISING STAR IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY WORLD. I was fortunate to catch up with the New York photographer about his work.

1) Hi Jefferson, I really like your work. I am drawn to the way you create your images. They are so dream-like and warm, and there is a certain personality of your art that is uniquely yours. I want to get inside your head and give more people the opportunity to learn about you and your work.
I understand a portfolio of your work was just acquired by MOMA. Tell me what they acquired and how that feels.

A) Thanks John. 21st editions published a book on my NYC series. It’s titled The New City and it features 17 of my photographs printed in platinum. I consider it one of the best renderings of my work on what is also one of my favorite subjects. MOMA acquired it in the summer of 2008 and I am still on cloud nine. I must admit however, that I never like to rest on my laurels – it’s on to the next project for me.

Here is a link to the book: 21st editions.

2) What type of camera and processing techniques do you use?

I use a Leica M7 for most of my work. There is nothing I can say about these wonderful cameras that has not been said before. It is perfect for what I do - easily carried when I prowl the streets of NYC and always able to capture a low light moment for my still life work.

I do all of my own printing and use a variety of darkroom filters to help soften the edges of my work. I also use a toning solution of my own creation that mimics the effects of age and patina so my prints have a warm glow to them.

3) Your work has a beautiful 19th century aesthetic about it—especially your New York photographs. Are you inspired by any 19th century or early 20th century photographers?

A) I am inspired by anything and everything. Being a self taught photographer, I studied the 19th century masters relentlessly when I was just starting out, especially their subtle compositional skills. But to be honest I am just as moved by a Wolfgang Tillman’s image as a Steichen. There is so much talent out there.

4) I see that framing your work is a big part of what you do, and I must say they are beautiful. Tell me more about this process in your work.

A) When I was in art school, I took a job at a frame shop so that I could get discounts on frames and supplies. It did not take long for me to realize the importance and effect a frame has on any work of art.

I use antique frames a lot on my prints, I have been collecting them for years now and they enhance the time capsule like feel of my aesthetic. They also ‘lend’ my black and white prints color as well as making each print a unique statement since every photograph of mine gets its own antique or artist designed frame.

5) You still-life’s are equally as wonderful as you NYC pictures. I especially love your pictures of the envelopes. You have the unique ability to elevate the design of an ordinary object to a whole new level. Do you prefer still-life’s to landscape?

A) Thank you. The envelope series is a good example of my still life work being a visual diary. These are letters that I receive in the mail or occasionally a vintage letter that I purchase in an antique shop. I very much enjoy the process of finding poetry in overlooked, commonplace objects; I must have photographed my coffee cup a hundred times so far.

I don’t prefer still life more than my cityscapes or my figurative work – I enjoy creating visually engaging images in general no matter what the subject. My style unites all of my imagery and allows me to document my life with the results being a cohesive unit. This also allows my work to have a dialogue within itself. A still life image by itself on a wall means one thing, but paired with a cityscape it takes on a new context where the viewer can begin a personal narrative akin to completing the chapters of a book.

6) If you could meet any photographer from the past—who would it be?

A) I am going to substitute the term “artist” for “photographer” and say Andrew Wyeth. Since he passed away recently it has renewed my early interest in his work and he is the artist I am thinking most about these days. His compositional skills are amazing – the way he accomplishes so much with so little and also the way he simply works with what is close to him. I don’t think our time deserved him.

7) What are you working on now Jefferson? Are there any big changes in your work?

A) I am finishing up a new series on NYC and also many new still lives. I plan to start working with the figure again next month as well. A book is in the works and will most likely be available this year if all goes well.

8) Where can collectors buy your work, or get in touch with you?

A) Arcadia Gallery in NYC has a great inventory of my work as does Andrew Ward in Los Angeles and Modernbook Gallery in Palo Alto. Collectors who have questions on my work or who wish to follow my exhibition schedule can email me at: jeffersun@gmail.com


Larry the Artist said...

I really like the intimate sizing of the images, paired with the massive frames. The simple compositions are quiet studies of the subject matter and are rendered on a familiar scale.

Nice find, John.

Martin Cooper/ OrchisArts said...

john, what a great interview. jeff is a friend and fellow colleague. i also interviewed him for my blog, TMCB.


congrats again. i'll be digging through your past entries.


martin cooper

Stacy Waldman said...

Saw Jefferson's photos last night at the AIPAD opening. Some of the best there! Loved them.

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