How does a photographic project or series evolve? How important are “style” and “genre”? What comes first―the photographs or a concept?
PhotoWork, published by Aperture, is a collection of interviews by forty photographers about their approach to making photographs and, more importantly, a sustained body of work. Sasha Wolf was inspired to seek out and assemble responses to these questions after hearing from countless young photographers about how they often feel adrift in their own practice, wondering if they are doing it the “right” way. The responses, from both established and newly emerging photographers, reveal there is no single path. Their advice is wildly divergent, generous, and delightful: Justine Kurland discusses the importance of allowing a narrative to unravel; Doug DuBois reflects on the process of growing into one’s own work; Dawoud Bey evokes musicians such as Miles Davis as his inspiration for never wanting to become “my own oldies show.” The book is structured through a Proust-like questionnaire, in which individuals are each asked the same set of questions, creating a typology of responses that allows for an intriguing compare and contrast.
PhotoWork podcast is an off-shoot of the book. On the podcast, Sasha continues her conversations with photographers about working and living as an artist today. The podcast is available to stream on all streaming services from Apple to Spotify and Stitcher. You can also listen below.