Art Talk with Zach Fox
Are we at Behind Second Lines #blessed to know so many sick artists? We think so. Our rockin staffers have an active interest in photography themselves, so imagine how excited we were to get to pick the brain of Zach Fox, Baton Rouge photography mastermind. Be sure to read more about him and find out more about his upcoming show!
What do you want readers to know about your art?
I’ve always been someone with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. I’m always learning. Always trying to figure out how things work or why they are made a certain way. I often times approach art making by giving myself a problem to solve.
What has been inspiring your works lately?
As far as photography goes, I’ve always been a photobook guy. I love going to the library and spending the afternoon looking through the stacks to find new and unfamiliar artists. Two books I’ve been looking at/thinking about are My Dakota by Rebecca Norris Web and Double Life by Kelli Connell. I’ve also been reading some poetry here and there which is something I’m trying to make a habit of doing since I like to think of my work in a rather lyrical way. One particular writer that stands out for me is Raymond Carver whose book Fires contains some really beautiful poems and short stories.
Do you have a topicality or subject of choice?
I find myself taking a lot of pictures of my everyday surroundings, which, reading that out-loud to myself sounds stupid but it’s true. It’s the little details in the day to day that make all the difference. I enjoy the challenge of showing something familiar in a new and perhaps unseen way––for me, it’s about finding beauty in the banal.
How long have you been shooting?
I started taking pictures during my sophomore year of high school. My grandfather passed down his Canon AE-1 with a few lenses and a camera bag that had two or so rolls of Ektachrome from the 80s. Those first images were so grainy… but I honestly just loved making images so much that I didn’t really care about the quality of the result. I eventually started exploring the use of unorthodox cameras as a creative tool––this was during the heyday of Lomography cameras and the cross-process color negative aesthetic. All of this was about seven years ago.
How do you feel about instant photography? Digital photography?
You know, I just really love pictures. There was a time in my life when I would participate in the film vs. digital debate but I eventually realized that at the end of the day, cameras are just tools used to achieve a creative end. Use whatever camera makes sense for your vision! As for me, film will always have a very special place in my heart and the vast majority of the work that I make is shot on film.
Has the internet made art easier for you or more difficult?
Definitely easier. Having instant access to the entirety of human knowledge is a vital resource especially for someone like me who works in a variety of different mediums. Over the course of the last few years I’ve started to develop a material based sculptural practice, which requires a lot of researching. For example, I recently made a 948 page 8.5”x11” calendar titled Calendar for My Lifetime in which I wanted to find a way to find a way to visualize time as it related to the entirety of a human life. I didn’t know how to make a calendar, much less make one that’s over four inches high, but with a little online research I was able to learn about the various printing and binding methods necessary to create my calendar. A lot of my art practice involves researching the history of certain objects and the process of how they were made and I enjoy incorporating those elements into the work.
What type of camera is your favorite to shoot with? (insert my own nerdy commentary about loving medium formats)
A friend of mine has been letting me borrow his Pentax 67ii, which is essentially a massive medium format film SLR. 6x7 is my favorite film format and the Pentax is just so easy to use. I love it!
You have a show coming up, share what inspired the show and more details about it
Yeah! So I will be exhibiting the work from my series Song for My Father which is sort of a visualization of how I came to terms with my father’s death nearly seven years after his passing. My father committed suicide when I was 17 and at the time I didn’t know what to do or how to react so I didn’t react at all. I remember watching my family members grieve his death while struggling to figure out why I wasn’t feeling the same emotions as they were. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I felt it was time I forced myself to confront the reality of his absence and to examine how the lack of his presence has marked my life.
In the exhibition, I’ve interweaved large-scale color photographs that I have taken over the past year with images from my father’s collection of hunting pictures. I’ve been thinking a lot about music and I was inspired by the idea of photographs harmonizing with each other much like two vocal performers sing together to create one voice.
Song for My Father will be on view at the Baton Rouge Arts Council Gallery from April 3- April 7th with a closing reception on Friday April 7th from 6pm-9pm.
Where can readers find more of your work?
Images provided by Zach Fox