Barren Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jason D. Ramsey sat down virtually with Galduryndari D., Issue 18’s featured photographer and cover artist. Have a look into his lens, and see the full gallery below.
BM: Your photography is a diverse celebration of human life — it is nearly transcendental with its use of perspective and color. How do you frame a shot? Do you plan ahead, or is it mostly impromptu?
GD: I love to do photography impromptu, as spontaneous as possible. I put myself on the street, and every walk, observation, and photograph seems to be a part of my artwork not visible to others. It’s spontaneous, but a slow process, because I spend time observing the streets, sensing my moods, and relating my moods to the emotions of the streets at the moment. The streets are full of transient and ephemeral things that are easily overlooked, just as human psychology and feelings are sometimes hidden, contingent, and swiftly changing. This practice became even more prominent when I started on Instax and Polaroid, and it evolved into something meditative and healing.
BM: In your Artist Statement, you liken the mind of an artist to the mind of a poem. Can you expand on the correlation between photography and poetry?
GD: I enjoy reading poetry: some evoke deep thoughts, some stir your moods, and some make you just more in love with everyday life. It’s interesting that, generally speaking, the West and the East have different conceptions of art: one contemplates “what is art?”, while the other tries to see “what art can do?”. In traditional Chinese cultures before 1800s, there wasn’t a career called “the artist” or “the poet”. There were painters who served the Emperors and Royals to draw portraits or landscapes, but many who we now call artists and poets were all “government officials” or “politicians” within the Empire. Although seen by contemporary Western academia as political and pragmatic, many poems are rather personal, showing an attitude towards life, and as means to record, cherish, and remember. Those poets wrote, drew, sang or read with friends and with wines, and then left the poems aside, some never to be edited. So for me, photography, poetry, or painting, they are useful: not useful for something, but useful to someone. Before becoming an artist, one must first be, i.e., existing through life, living afresh with repetitions, and recollecting the overlooked daily life.
BM: You currently reside in Montreal — how has your environment, both present and past, shaped your lens as an artist?
GD: I’m very lucky to be in Montréal, a city which is quite artistic. Living in a bilingual city but not speaking French is a bit strange, as if sometimes I know this city, while other times I’m confused by it. Probably because of it, my art practice tends to be more exploratory than explanatory, more experimental than radical, more uncertain than certain. And the snow: it’s often snowing half the year. That is the best inspiration for me.
BM: You use a bevy of high end equipment: Ricoh 500GX Rangefinder, Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera, Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic, Nikon D7500 DSLR, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX, Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR IS AF-S DX. Which of these would you consider to be your personal favorite? Why?
GD: I would definitely consider Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 to be my favorite. It’s certainly not that high-end compared to my Nikon D7500, but it is compact and lightweight, and it is easy to use on the go when I am on the streets. And an instant camera quite suits my practice.
BM: If you could shoot any location in the world, what would it be and why?
GD: I always have something in mind about a dream place, no matter if it is a beach, a forest, or a snow-covered mountain, as long as it’s quite vast and open, lit by afternoon sun, not so crowded with people, and probably a small town less well-known. Iceland or Norway could be a good starting point to find such places, and I definitely wish one day I could do an art residency there.