Volunteer Spotlight: Whitney Evanson

1. Whats your favorite camera & why? 

My favorite camera right now is my Mamiya 645j. This was the last camera that I bought for myself, and I used it for my photo series on time/memory/decay. It was my friend, Monica's beloved camera for years and she was upgrading and sold it to me. I have grown very attached to this camera over the past couple of years, and I have taken some of my favorite photos with it. Using the Mamiya for my photo project really connected to my camera as more of an extension of my creative process and of my passion for being behind the lens. 

2. What type of photographer would you describe yourself as/how would you describe your photographic style?

I would describe myself (as a photographer): as a nature, conceptual, and primarily black and white photographer. Playing with long exposures, and double exposures to give the photo a warped sense of time and space is something that I have always been drawn to when conceptualizing an image, or series. I love using expired film and experimenting with strange light leaks, and film anomalies. I have always fancied toy cameras and their ability to give you an unpredictable image result. I do not want totally clear and crisp photographs, I want the subject(s) of the image to draw the viewer in, and to invent or wonder over what exactly the image is representing or symbolizing. I am also an avid Polaroid film user. I have a decent collection of cameras, most of which I can still buy film and use.  Ritual and cult magic are things that often make their way into my images, or are the inspiration behind an image. The themes I work closeley with are always invoking: my southern gothic roots, anarcha-feminism, and social justice.  I also have an interest in using my degree to use photography as a medium for social justice work, and working with incarcerated youth. I am a strictly analog photographer, and love to explore and use different types of medium and large format cameras. My style is is definitely heavily influenced by antique photographs, conceptual artists, folklore and magic, and perceptions of memory, time, and space. 

3. Whats your dream photo shoot?

My dream photo shoot would be to meet, interview, and photograph James Turrell and his life's work the "Roden Crater". James Turrell is one of my favorite living artists, and as a photographer I am always looking for the light, his entire medium as an artist is light. It is incredibly inspiring to see his work, and it would be such an honor to meet him and see his work, while he also shows and describes his project to me. Considering his project is based on sunlight, moonlight, and the patterns of the constellations at various times of the year, this project would/could take several visits throughout the year, and that would not only be challenging, but would be truly incredible to experience. 

4. Whats the longest you've spent on a project/most in depth you've gone?

The longest project to date, is my project on: memory, time, and decay. Conceptually, I had been building up to this project for most of my undergraduate career. I used photography as a medium every quarter that I was getting my degree, and I was also a philosophy student, so my influences and inspirations derived from my studies as well as my environmental surroundings. My school was on 5 acres of forest, and I was living the Pacific Northwest, so I had a multitude of textures, natural beauty, and the constant cloud cover to create darker and more emotionally moody tones in my photographs. I would set up my shoot using the same 3-6 objects, and I would move their placement or interchange their layout and take long exposures. The objects in use were of deep spiritual, ritual, natural, and feminist value to me, personally. I would use a light meter, timer/stopwatch, tripod, and shutter release cable to achieve the effects in each photo. Some photographs were just long exposures with specific objects taken out at a certain time during the exposure, and other photographs were both long and double exposures. The goal was to create a series which represented slight variations of objects 'ghosted' by being taken out half-way, or at a specific time through the long exposure. Without going on for pages, the project was based around Roland Barthes 'Camera Lucida' and the concept of experience, memory, emotion, subjectivity, and a 'history of looking'. This project was only the beginning for my research and in-depth connection of the mind-body-experience of capturing memories in time on analog film. My goal this year is to use an alternative process and create larger prints for my series in connection with my thesis for my MALS degree in Law & Society.

“The photograph is literally an emanation of the referent. From a real body, which was there, proceed radiations which ultimately touch me, who am here; the duration of the transmission is insignificant; the photograph of the missing being, as Sontag says, will touch me like the delayed rays of a star.” - Roland Barthes

5. How long have you lived in Bushwick/Brooklyn/New York?

I have been living in NYC for one year, and I have been in Bushwick for almost one year, as of September 1st! I love this community, and I am looking forward to getting to know it better through volunteering at BCD. 

Ilford FP4 125, medium format film images

Printed on: Ilford Warm Tone Multigrade Fiber Paper, Semi-Matte

I photographed, hand developed, and printed each piece myself.

The images attached are digital scans of each piece. 

I chose this paper for this project, specifically, as it is akin to the nature of the project iself, and gave the warm, antiqued effect of the memory, time, and space created with each set of objects and their appearance in the photographs.