[August 4, 2008 ]
Fighter planes buzz overhead while a woman sits peacefully below, undaunted...
A flying saucer hovers above rows of vintage cars stalled upon the blacktop...An old city bus balances precariously atop another against the backdrop of a perfect blue sky...A huge hand cradles a Plymouth...
Even if Eric Fennell's imagery defies categorization, that hasn't stopped critics and fans from trying to describe it: "unsettling, yet comforting," "detailed, yet anonymous," "homespun and unearthly," "stark and startling," "stirring, arresting and vivid" and "1950s sci-fi flicks meet neat, orderly, Asian artistic sensibilities" are among those attempts. Journalist, Cathy Brown, talked to the New York photographer to find out what he has to say about his art.
Where do you get inspiration?
I grew up watching 1960s TV shows like Lost in Space, Land of the Giants and Chiller Theater, so that's definitely been a strong influence. I also like the design and style of old cars and space ships from sci-fi movies, so they're a reoccurring theme. My goal is to create an interesting looking photograph; something that grabs you by the shirt collar and makes you do a double take. I like to create arresting images by taking normal, everyday objects and putting them into an unusual context.
Where do you get ideas?
Sometimes it's just a thought that pops into my head. Or it could be something I remember from a dream. Maybe it's something I've seen on the street that I exaggerate in a photograph. But whatever I make, I try to be as original as possible.
How do you create your work?
I don't use computers so they're not digitally generated. I guess you can say I'm 'old school.' Cutting, pasting and combining negatives, does a lot of it. Then I cover the piece with glass and re-photograph it. Very similar to the way they made photomontages before World War II. I just put my own spin on it.
How long does it take to finish a typical piece?
The actual photo shoot can take an hour or so. A lot of my pieces are a combination of three, four, five and six photographs. Post-production generally takes longer than the actual shoot. I take as much time as I need to get the image I'm trying to capture. I'm more interested in the actual composition than the technical aspects, like the exposure of the photograph. And I have to be happy with a piece before I show anyone else.
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