6 spring street
artist statements: :: Hey, Hot Shot! 2008 First Edition
When I was 14 my father gave me his old video camera. I made dozens of films with friends, mostly shooting at an abandoned airport in my hometown. It was a great time and I think that’s where my love for physical places evolves from. I am interested in the relation between man-made environment and nature, which can be very different within the topics I choose, whether harmonic, complex, funny, surprising, shy…
Most of my work is photographed at night. Night photography is slow and calm, but at the same time it is a very precise process that suits my way of working. I like the way I can focus at night, since there is less distraction — both visually and acoustically — compared to during the day. The artificial, rendering-like aesthetic, the light and color of the atmosphere that can be found at night appeals to me and matches my conception of beauty.
The series “Snow Night” is a personal project that emerged from the half-happy, half-sentimental feeling of being home after a long stay abroad. While away I missed my homeland, and I was looking forward to re-exploring it, as before I left I never realized how much I actually appreciated it.
Through photography I feel I have the “license to be curious.” There is always a reason to wander around and look for new places and topics. This curiosity is what inspires me and makes me enthusiastic about photography.
My photography is about what people don’t see even when it’s right in front of them, attempting to make the mundane sublime. The work expresses empathy with others and the environment. I am fascinated by the pursuit of happiness and how people live their lives. I believe happiness is about balance, moderation, and living in harmony with the environment.
Since 2000 I have worked among the neediest people in Afghanistan and Pakistan using photography as a tool to fight against indentured slavery and for the well being of women, children, and animals. My commitment to social causes has become the defining part of my life as an artist. I have worked on several essays in South East Asia where the poor are sentenced to lives of disease and want. Throughout, I have been documenting their struggles in photos — using art as a connection to wider awareness in the outside world.
In 2005 I began working among sex-workers and their families in Pakistan — being the first photographer to document this shunned community. This body of work examines the uneasy peace between Islamic fundamentalism and profanity in these brothels, wherein repressive fundamentalist Muslim laws not only shun the existence of these women, but in some areas punish their actions by death. However, in these brothels the women are the breadwinners. This underlying dualism surfaces in portraits of the women sitting proudly on the same beds where they not only service their customers but share with their husbands and children.
I use this project to raise awareness about this little known community, and to raise funds for two small schools which are the first ever to offer education to the children of these sex-workers, with the goal of breaking the cycle of children born into prostitution, sex abuse, drug addiction and crime. There are currently 80 students enrolled. The artist proceeds go to support these recently established schools.
I began this project looking at “fake nature,” wondering what substitutions for nature can satisfy people. Looking deeper, I began photographing live/real animals and how they can be a link for us to a world far from the reality and pace of contemporary life, as well as provide an intangible link to a deeper world of instinct and rawness.
This series of photographs examines the essence of our connection, as well as our fragmentation from the natural. I am interested in the ever-increasing disconnection that exists between humans and the natural world. The work explores simulation, consumption, destruction, and reconstruction as well as notions of endurance and the reality of loss.
Growing up in Chicago gave me an urban childhood: running through gangways and exploring alleys with my friends; these are things more and more kids today don’t experience. Early on, seeds for my interest in nature were planted through lots of outside play, camping trips, and odd pets (our duck named Sir Francis Drake, for example). I am sure these beginnings influence and inspire my work. With this series I seek to understand how the human connection to the rest of nature is often developed through assimilation and appropriation.
Roc Herms Pont
Close to photojournalism, with a strong graphic design background, I started using photography to capture and remember what I found interesting though my eyes. People, places, details … I use photography to share my view of the world, to express myself.