Kevin Tadge, Still life and ramblings around the image & parents reactions to photography

13:59
Alexander Norton
I'm here, hello.

13:59
Kevin Tadge
Hi

14:00
Alexander Norton
The new stuff is well nice. An interesting take on still life, but has a lot more layers, with the dirt etc.

14:01
Kevin Tadge
Thanks, yeah. it's almost an optical illusion.
with the dirt on the surface really coming into the foreground.
I was surprised.

14:02
Alexander Norton
Its also interesting having what looks like polished photographs met with a very unpredictable process - but also the places of burial
I'm intrigued by the choice to bury it in your parents place? Does it have connections to your thought process?

14:05
Kevin Tadge
I think it being my parents' house was a matter of convenience really... this is the only place I have with woods and anywhere to put them. But they were involved in the process a little, because I had to get them to do a few. And to them it's just weird and I don't want to have to explain to much before I even know what I'm doing.

14:06
Kevin Tadge
So it kind of became a part of the thought process.

14:09
Alexander Norton
Its always hard describing photographs to your parents, their heads are hardwired to look at things in a very straight forward way, when the process of photographer's mind is a mess.
With thoughts jumping around and we're never usually in full control over what it might become.
That interests me, the process your parents undertook.

14:11
Kevin Tadge
Well, I ran out of time when i was home at Thanksgiving and they were like, "We found all these prints..." and I asked them to put them in the woods.  I should find their email...
They wrote "Bury them in the woods???? Are you kidding? If you are serious, you can send us the instructions."  I've never seen them use more than one question mark before.
But even though they didn't know why they were doing it, they followed through quite nicely. It's definitely not something they could wrap their head around though.
Involving them in the process so early is scary because then they want to see the results even if it turned out to be a failure.

14:16
Alexander Norton
You know your in trouble then when the '???'s come.

14:17
Kevin Tadge
You can really feel their minds exploding

14:18
Alexander Norton
Hmm yes, the tea and coffee drop to the floor.
I think my parents have never gotten involved with the process, only the aftermath of understanding what makes perfect sense to me.
Did this process go from working with the museum photographs?
I found it interesting how different they felt, from usual still life. Like they were working on a different agenda all together.

14:22
Kevin Tadge
The museum photographs are very digital. Shot digital and very edited.  But these plant ones, I just wanted to play with something real, a real object.
Well, I really like the look of still lifes.  Right now we're in a wave of bright colors and playful subjects... but whenever I try to do it myself I feel like an idiot.
Like why did I hang that banana on a candle next to some pinecones.

14:25
Alexander Norton
Haha yeah, it is something that has both baffled and intrigued me.
Its aesthetic is so revealing, but im not sure what I have taken from it but I feel visually fulfilled either way.

14:26
Kevin Tadge
Yeah, for sure. 100 donuts in a pattern... that's really nice.

14:27
Alexander Norton
I saw a kind of critical and almost playful take on this in the museum photographs.

14:27
Kevin Tadge
So I guess I was looking for a middle ground where I could interact with it.

14:28
Alexander Norton
It is a bit like a bridge, to allow some of the sense to come back.

14:29
Kevin Tadge
A bridge– how do you mean?

14:30
Alexander Norton
Like, I get the feeling the other works could sit around talking to themselves for ages
but the work, steps into that world and creates a way out, but also looks back in.

14:30
Kevin Tadge
Ha, they probably do

14:30
Alexander Norton
(my mind works in metaphors aha)
This is incredibly important, as how can it move on, otherwise, especially with the editorial market lapping it up for its aesthetic value
quite rightly.

14:32
Kevin Tadge
Oh, I think I see what you mean.

14:33
Alexander Norton
Its the example with hotshoe magazine, http://www.hotshoeinternational.com/shop/issues/185-august-september
They adopted this image as the front cover, and it, at least for me, marked it being recognised completely -
I know foam in 2011 began to bring the work a bit more to the surface - in a more universal way
and of course theres the wandering bears aesthetic. http://www.wanderingbears.co.uk
It fascinates me.

14:35
Kevin Tadge
I like the Wandering Bears guys a lot
It's ubiquitous enough at this point to be its own language.

14:37
Alexander Norton
They came to my university - and I got on well with them, they have created a kind of specific platform - for the aesthetic.

14:38
Kevin Tadge
What university?  Where are you? (as I think about still lifes)

14:39
Alexander Norton
Newport university, in wales, their tie to Jason Evans was big.
One of their big inspirations, who in itself is an interesting character.

14:40
Kevin Tadge
Oh, cool. I like him.  I've never been to Wales-  you're Welsh?
I like his dot pictures a lot even though I don't know the rationale behind them.

14:41
Alexander Norton
I'm english, I have spent a lot of time in wales though
currently here now.
I studied documentary photography there,
which is very strange, as its very traditional as an institution.
It's interesting the ties to documentary and still life, whether they could be considered close.
Maybe over time.
I know Alec Soth created a bit of a stur with his object placement in Broken Manual, and all of a sudden that was contemporary documentary.
At least whilst studying there.
Edgar Martins too, he swears by that method.

14:43

Kevin Tadge
Their approach would seem to be the polar opposite in a lot of ways.
Doc vs Still life.

14:45
Alexander Norton
Hmm yeah, the connections between look like the could never touch, but its becoming so strong now as an aesthetic, it could.
Especially with the object in the studio used very bluntly, with Alec Soth or Edgar Martins, and the colourful paper of still life.

14:48
Kevin Tadge
I'm completely unfamiliar with Martins other than these night beach ones.  Alec Soth is really interested in the narrative of his projects though. Which I think leads him to juxtapose these styles to create some nebulous middle space.  Jason Fulford does that in his Mushroom Collector book/series some too.

14:49
Kevin Tadge
I think I've realized that treating the displays/dioramas/exhibits as still life allowed me to see them from the designer & curator's point of view.

14:50
Alexander Norton
Taking a step back, as you may do with the objects?
Do you think it has as much to do with structure? As each image follows a very ordered structure -impecible even.

14:55
Kevin Tadge
Yeah.  It's Nice That called it an "oddly determined kind of detachment".  Which at first I didn't recognize, but then I realized it's probably the underlying structure and the ideas behind it that appealed to me.
That's more interesting to me even than the objects themselves, how they're cleaned up and fashioned to appeal to random 9-year-olds but also staying relevant as historical/scientific information.
That reminds me of Vincent Fournier's space stuff.
I'm drawn to the thinking behind a picture as much as the image itself a lot of times.

15:00
Alexander Norton
The context behind them ? Its a very interesting balance the context of the object and the context they sit in the photograph, especially when it becomes quite playful, the context of the object goes out the window.
It becomes about colour, form, insatiably beautiful, almost beyond belief.

15:04
Kevin Tadge
Yeah, no, I'm looking through them now and they're pretty funny. As shapes and forms, but most of them, I'd assume, have a pretty dark history prior to reaching the museum. Maybe not the meteorites and maybe not the ceramics, but any of the egyptian stuff or the taxidermic animals...

15:06
Kevin Tadge
On one hand it's a bandaged mummy that looks like a foot in a cast (and mummies are funny in themselves at this point) but it's also probably an artifact of British-occupied Egypt.

15:10
Alexander Norton
Thats what became interesting when I saw the series, their contexts as objects distanced it from being purely aesthetic.


15:11
Kevin Tadge
I was curious what that would look like in the chat window.
Sorry, distracted - supposed to be terrible weather in NY when I fly back tomorrow.

15:13
Alexander Norton
Its clean and has a meaning.
It looks wel nice in the chat window, should be a new way of making a site.

15:14
Kevin Tadge
Export an all-picture conversation,  I could go for that.

15:14
Alexander Norton
A zip file that explodes when its sent, not literally, of course.
A visual explosion when it opens.

15:15
Kevin Tadge
Well, I have my next project, thanks.

15:15
Alexander Norton
Your welcome.
Haha.

15:17
Kevin Tadge
But yeah, the interplay between the image and its context and its history is kind of the through-line of the series. But I don't think they have to be read one way or another necessarily.  I like it if you just think they're funny or weird or whatever.

15:18
Alexander Norton
They are open, funny as well, and if you are very involved in photography you can look a lot further.
Just looking at vincent's work and its got a sense of, look at this object.
Thats the main aim of the photograph, the nice background and lighting do their best to compliment it.

15:19
Kevin Tadge
TThey're very clean, straightforward.

15:19
Alexander Norton
But its all about the object.
I wonder what happens to the context when its not about the objects anymore, as you said previously.

15:20
Kevin Tadge
I guess you still have to take the picture though.  Something has to be in the frame.

15:21
Alexander Norton
It does.
I can imagine a series, where the object is photographed and then photoshopped or cut out
another layer to the many layered.

15:21
Kevin Tadge
Ha, i sort of did that in one picture... let me find it.


15:22
Alexander Norton
I have been playing around last night - I'll show you it.

15:23
Alexander Norton
They are more like examples - potentially terrible haha

15:24
Kevin Tadge
Yeah, those are neat.  Mine is just silly.

15:24
Alexander Norton
It is work I could never do, but I find myself making examples to talk about it.
That is quite interesting, the gradient on the back?

15:26
Kevin Tadge
Well, the rock was mounted out from the wall, so it keeps its shadow somewhat.
My rationale was 'it looked kind of like a chicken' so i had to do it.

15:26
Alexander Norton
It kind of reminds me of when photoshop lines are left in the photograph.
Well you couldn't chicken out.

15:27
Kevin Tadge
Oh yeah, the little checkered blank space, you mean?

15:27
Alexander Norton
Yeah, thats interesting.

15:27
Kevin Tadge
I do like those.

15:27
Alexander Norton
It all leads to process, what happens after the image is done.
A friend of mine, Dan, uses these techniques but physically, with paper etc.
like physical photogshopping, although cutting out paper came first.

15:29
Kevin Tadge
I like physical approximation of photoshop ideas.  I don't know when I became so wedded to digital junk.
I always try to leave clues that the image has been manipulated, by not photoshopping too well or making it really obvious in places.
Sometimes I forget like with that foot one and then I'm not sure if I've done anything to it or not.

15:33
Alexander Norton
You forget yourself if its been manipulated.
What makes me curious is the photo on a photo
especially with the instagram generation, you can have coloured backgrounds to images.
I made a mini series on instagram called 'kunst', using a german word made it seem more.. legit.

15:35
Kevin Tadge
Haha, right. Because German is a serious language.

15:36
Alexander Norton
Haha yeah, and if it has umlouts it must be good.

15:36
Kevin Tadge
You mean like setting it within a border, flat color kind of thing.

15:36
Alexander Norton
I would like to live in an umlouted country one day to see how it feels.
Yeah, these pictures came along with incredibly indepth meanings.
It's funny my mum and dad would comment on them saying, "its a door handle", and they were completely right, it is a door handle.

15:38
Kevin Tadge
Haha, I know that feeling exactly, "nice lettuce, son".  My grandma asks me what every single one of my pictures is.  It's like, part of reading a picture for me is figuring it out.

15:39
Alexander Norton
Sometimes we don't even know
but it makes sense to us somehow
their approach is great though, its refreshing.

15:39
Kevin Tadge
Maybe photographers think 'why' and viewers think 'what'.

15:39
Alexander Norton
Puts it back into context again.
Yeah, id say, my friends dad is very much like that
generally, people outside of artistic circles think like that.
Its always most interesting when you get someone who never looks at art to look at the work and give it a verdict
I have the feeling if they say its all okay then the series can take on the world. The same happened with my uncle, his approval was incredible.

15:41
Kevin Tadge
My parents are engineers.

15:41
Alexander Norton
Does the process then intrigue them? Being people of a practical process.

15:41
Kevin Tadge
Haha, right.
Yeah, they're probably more interested in all of the technical background and the step-by-step than the final image.

15:43
Alexander Norton
I think there should be a show, curated by the parents of artists. You give them an archive
and they curate something - that'd be well good.

15:44
Kevin Tadge
Yeah, that would be great, as long as it can avoid being all landscapes and flowers.

15:44
Alexander Norton
I think that being the show would be fascinating itself
and then the artists themselves review the show
of their own work - what a crazy paradox.

15:45
Kevin Tadge
You could do this online pretty easilly, though not as fun.

15:45
Alexander Norton
Online shows are intriguing.

15:46
Kevin Tadge
I feel like I had some final thing to say like 15 minutes ago. Now it's gone.
Nope.
I don't know.

15:49
Alexander Norton
I have been looking through the films you have, on the show reel, has film affected the way you see photographs or are the two very separate?

15:50
Kevin Tadge
It's probably affected it in that I try not to take photos that have anything to do with films.
Which is probably why I don't have many portraits
so everything is vertical or square and not really overlapping with cinematography ideas.  But I guess the editing and juxtaposition is all from film.
And photography offers narrative possibilities that film doesn't.

15:52
Alexander Norton
Its interesting you mention about people, as the person in still life appears, but only with hands, back of the head etc, they themselves become the object.
I think photographic narratives are much more still, naturally, but your more in control with meaning with pictures.

15:54
Kevin Tadge
Quiet abstraction isn't so much in style with movies at the moment but yeah, human forms sneak into my pictures, but they're never treated as characters and the situation they're in as people isn't really considered.

15:56
Alexander Norton
They are treated like objects.

15:56
Kevin Tadge
Pictures for me are first-person narratives versus film as third-person.
Right.

15:56
Alexander Norton
I agree.
The story pictures tell are a lot more.. individual
usually a very isolated process.

15:59
Kevin Tadge
Photographers can usually function by themselves as they go about a project, whereas with film it's a constant conversation and you have to convince everyone to go along with you which can smooth away the more interesting edges.
I just made a short that might qualify as first-person, completely cutting my idea.

16:04
Alexander Norton
Haha, yeah, were going to make a series, called kunst and see how it survives in the art world.
Our aim is to be published in foam.
Aha, gotta set the standards high.

16:05
Kevin Tadge
In Germany & Austria you can call it L'Art.
Did we do anything worthwhile here? Hard to tell from my side. Lots of nice project ideas at least.

16:14
Kevin Tadge
I think it was Nabokov who wrote his whole Paris Review interview, interviewer and all.  You can totally do the same with this, writing my part where you want.
Yeah, i think it was good, pretty free form.

16:15
Alexander Norton
Aha, like a monologue in your head.

16:15
Kevin Tadge
mmhmm

16:16
Alexander Norton
The head can ramble, its the best part of it
there is something im interested in - you might like it - maybe for a project of my own - but we as people are like sacks of chemicals, feelings floating around, and the body sculpts itself around its actions.
I'd love to do a huge bag filled with water in a gallery space, then.. put liquid in, and see how it navigates through.
And how it might then become stale over time, like feelings and relationships with people
thats probably a nice place to end.

16:19
Kevin Tadge
Haha

16:19
Alexander Norton
Thats my next project, at least aha.

16:19
Kevin Tadge
I like it. I think you're right, the stuff would sink or settle eventually. It looks cool in my head. I think it passes the what and the why tests.
I've got more things out in the woods now, but I'll send them to you when i pull them out.  These are like picture of the woods themselves (vs the indoor plants).

16:23
Kevin Tadge
Sweet.

16:23
Alexander Norton
Thanks for the time as well.

16:23
Kevin Tadge
No, thank you.

16:25
Kevin Tadge
Alright, i'd better get going actually.

16:26
Alexander Norton
Sure man, keep in touch - thanks for chatting with us.

16:27
Kevin Tadge
Definitely will. Thanks again. Take care.

16:27
Alexander Norton
Take care.
 
Seen 16:27