FEATURING: Jason Brownrigg
WHAT OR WHO DO YOU FIND INSPIRING?
There have been times when looking at a piece of artwork that I felt like I was actually slipping away from reality. It’s as though I was going a little bit insane or having a thick layer of fog peeled away from my eyes, and I could see things that I’d never seen before. The moments I can recall offhand were a Francis Bacon show at the Met, the very last works in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, and a Toshio Shibata print at the Laurence Miller gallery last month. Outside of experiences like those, I look for inspiration in places other than “the arts.” Usually I’d prefer the shape of the wing of a 747 with all the flaps out or watching a gust of wind blow across a harbor and change the color of the water… things like that.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR CREATIVE PROFESSION?
My father bought me a toy camera when I was around 10, and I began obsessively photographing all the things in my life that I was struggling to understand or wanted to record for later - we had just moved to Australia and all the trees and cars were different, the food tasted all wrong…. I’ve never really stopped photographing in that way, and somehow I wound up making a living shooting portraits and commercial fashion. I don’t know what prompted him to buy me a camera - I’ve never seen him use one - but I’m glad he did. Directing a documentary and working as a DP on small gigs has changed things for me as well - you can express ideas and emotions so differently - I especially love exploring the ways I can light differently for cinema than still.
WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST THING YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH PROFESSIONALLY?
I constantly struggle to give myself permission to put down all the competencies and past professional experiences that I rely on and just focus on seeing. It’s feels vulnerable because if you really get it right there’s nowhere to hide - it’s just you, your subject, and the photographic relationship you are generating. It’s difficult to do that on certain jobs, so it’s essential to have personal projects where you can force yourself to just use your heart and your eye.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN INSTRUMENTAL TO YOUR SUCCESS?
Right out of school, I went to work as a printer at Chelsea Black and White. Michael Amoruso, one of the owners, worked with me to bring me up to speed. I was struggling one day and he said, “Jason, I need you to get your head around what a finished image is supposed to look like.” That changed everything for me. I printed for Bruce Webber with Michael and then went on to work for the Estate of Diane Arbus where I assisted Neil Selkirk. It took me years to see my own pictures again after those two experiences, but it was worth it.
WHY DO YOU LOVE ADHESIVE?
It’s great! Put a bunch of interesting, odd, and wonderful people together, mix thoroughly, and see what new bonds and forms result. It improves upon the usual work / social network by letting you meet people that exist outside your normal orbit. I think my first event was for Halloween, which made everything a bit off the wall and wonderful.
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