Garin Horner [garinhorner]
Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
I have several online galleries. If you Google my name I am sure you will find lots of images. I am on
http://500px.com/photomancy, and several others.
I also have two websites. garinhorner.com is my academic site and http://photomancy.wix.com/photomancy#!home/mainPage is for my artwork.
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
I started taking photographs when I was in High School. I aspired to be an artist and loved to draw. Unfortunately, I couldn't draw. I asked a local college art professor to help me out and he suggested I take photos instead of drawing. Evidently he was right! I have been taking photos professionally and as an exhibiting artist for over 30 years!
What has been your education as a photographer?
When I went to college I wanted to study photography. I went from place to place learning everything I wanted to know. I learned at Rochester Institute of Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Siena Heights University, and I attended a summer school in California with Joel-Peter Witkin, William Wegman, and Barbara Kruger. I was also an intern at Aperture Foundation in New York City. FInally, I got my Master of Fine Arts Degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Please list any exhibitions in which you have participated.
Wow, I have been exhibiting photography for over 25 years, so what about the highlights? I have exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Toledo Museum of Art, and many others. I also enjoy submitting work to juried exhibitions and have been in too many to list.
What do you try to express through your photography?
This is a good question and I could go on at length. My overall body of photographic artwork is titled “Photomancy,” which means, “to conjure with light”.
Black & white has always been my preferred medium of artistic expression. Shades of black, grey, and white have the potential to express the entire range of human thought and feeling. A photograph’s brightest tones reveal the life of an image. Its middle grey tones commonly communicate the visual information in the work. And the dark tones lure us in to discover the mystery in the work. These three visual realms of content/meaning are important to any black and white image, but the prints in this body of work tend to be saturated with the dark values of mystery.
Photomancy is about juxtaposing images, striving to compose, to conjure a visually poetic landscape where unexpected relationships might point beyond the mundane. It’s anartistic practice aimed at directing the attention toward something beyond conventional perception. My goal is to uncover a creative potential that is meaning-full, transformative, and darklymysterious…something giving form beyond the depths of two dimensions. In art, it can be the darkness that illuminates. If I can bring my own awareness into the murky shadows of images, then I might discover more about growing as an artist and as a human being. I hope that all makes sense?
What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
Making photographs is a long process for me. I start by taking photos, either with film or digitally. If I shoot digitally, I print a large format negative to work with. I always start the process with conventional photographic negatives of some type (either color and black & white) and then I incorporate Xerox copies and transparencies, digital scans, pinhole cameras, pages from books, and any objects through which light can pass. I assemble my images as negatives on acetate (most times layering multiple sheets). To arrive at a final composite image I make contact prints on conventional black & white gelatin silver paper. Sometimes I scan the transparent constructions to capture a digital image. From these files I produce C-prints, gelatin silver, or ink jet prints. In the process I use no Photoshop to create the images. So, the preparation to make one final image can take months.
Do you normally photograph with a purpose already in mind, or do you let yourself go with the flow?
My motto is "intention with spontaneity". I always start with some kind of idea, but sometimes that idea changes into something completely different. As I start collecting and assembling images, sometimes the composition starts telling its own story. And I am completely open to what might magically appear.
What software and plug-ins do you use to retouch and manage your photos?
This is a good question because most people assume that I use Photoshop to create my images. The truth is that I don't use image editing software to make any of my artworks. They are all hand crafted and assembled. The only thing I use Photoshop for is to scan my final negatives so I can either print them or post them online. Sometimes I print my photos in the darkroom, then scan the final prints. But, No Photoshop! I do use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to manage my files.
Do you consider yourself more technical or more artistic?
I would like to think I keep a balance of both! Craftsmanship plays a big part in the creation of my artwork. Hand craftsmanship is at the center of my process. I naturally solve the artistic problem of bringing to an idea to form by using my hands. I need to touch, sculpt, and compose physical photographic negatives and other materials into a final composite image. It is technical, but it is very different than editing something while looking into a computer screen.
How does one develop the instinct of knowing when to press the shutter release button?
I tell my students that there are two ways to improve at photography, or anything. First is to find a teacher. The teacher will encourage and challenge you to move out of your learning comfort zone and most people wont do this on their own. The second way to grow is to practice. I say that If you go on 10 photo shoots you have some understanding of photography. If you go on 50 photo shoots photography become a habit. If you go on a hundred photo shoots it becomes an addiction. If you go on 1000 photo shoots it becomes part of who you are. It becomes part of your nature.
When should one use film, and when should one use digital?
Film is a tool and digital is a tool. Both tools can be use to make an image. But, you should use the tool you need to get the results you want. Film has different visual qualities when compared to digital. If you are doing fine art, like I am, then you should use whatever tool is best.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA