There’s a song by the Cranberries that I think of from time to time. And before you start in on me, know that one of my colleagues came into my office once and, upon hearing Delores O’Riordan’s voice warbling from my speakers, asked if there was a 16 year-old white girl trapped inside of me. That is to say, I’ve heard it all before. I know what kind of music I listen to and I’m comfortable (mostly) with who I am. So there.

That’s all beside the point though.

I went today to see a lecture sponsored by the Department of Photo and Film by a Swedish gentleman named Simen Johan. Although I’m no longer a student in the department, they still send me invitations to hear guest lecturers when the come to campus. Often, the lectures conflict with my class times or feature people whose work doesn’t appeal to me so I don’t make it. Johan’s work was, at least on the surface, really very intriguing. I was convinced he’d have some interesting reasoning behind his images.

His presentation was simple and to the point. He didn’t have any sense of narrative to go along with the images he showed and didn’t elaborate much on what his process was like other than to say that he “used computers” and “a lot of Photoshop was involved.” It seemed as if he hadn’t really prepared to actually talk about his work and that he might have even been surprised he had such an audience.

I can say resolutely that I’m a bigger fan of his digital manipulations than I am of his sculpture. I would truly have liked to hear more about the process for his later work — the bears, the bison, and even the sheep and the stag — regarding the image capture and the slow process of crafting the almost otherworldly images. He almost got there after a couple of questions but didn’t quite finish.

Overall, I liked what I saw, I just wish I’d heard more.


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October 2008
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