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May 2013

Issue 10

Big thanks to all participating artists! Editor in Chief: Kylie Gava Managing Editor: Tara Mahadevan Designer: Tuan Pham In Collaboration with Jamie Lund from Photo-Op French Question Translation by Braden Brown Feature Interviews by Patricia Karallis and Curtis Hamilton Interview Editors: Kylie Gava, Jamie Lund To be considered for our next issue, please visit our website Cover: Moons Over A Trash Heap by Curtis Hamilton


Elle PĂŠrez 4

Julien Babigeon 10

Julia Cuddy 18

Patricia Karallis 24

Curtis Hamilton 34

Bobby Scheidemann 42

Roxana Azar 50

Teresa Christiansen 56



Elle Pérez How do you describe your work to your parents? My parents are actually very much along for the ride, though it took a little bit of time for them to get there. Actually, I’m pretty lucky. They understand my work and support it, even the most sexually themed work. I think my parents are so supportive because their own immigrant parents did not support their love for the arts, so my parents are both artists who never got to be artists. My mom has done okay, because she has channeled her desire for communication into helping others communicate through speech therapy, but my dad - it’s so painful to see how creatively he thinks and the stories he weaves - he tells a damn good story - but he also fundamentally believes that it is not his right to tell stories. He never went to college. No one ever encouraged him, but he always makes it a point to encourage me. 

Do you have a favorite childhood/family photograph?


Of my paternal great grandfather. It’s not my favorite photograph because I romanticize him in any way, but because it is the oldest photograph we have of a family member. Puerto Rico’s record-keeping is awful - the US census only started in 1899, and the Spanish didn’t care enough to actually keep good records. So tracing back a family that isn’t of wealth or particular importance is a futile exercise. Most of our people were fishing people and farmers, but he was a judge, so he had a picture taken at some point in his life. He also was the reason my great grandmother immigrated to the US. They were never married: she was a housekeeper at the courthouse and the idealized version is that they had an affair, the reality is probably something much less romantic. His wife found out that he had impregnated her, and he paid for my great grandmother and her two daughters to leave Puerto Rico and go to New York.


Is there a perfect photograph you can picture in your head but can’t realize? Always, I have a few up there right now. A couple of my parents. One of my partner Mollie and our cat, another of a horse in a Burger King parking lot in Puerto Rico, my cousin Melissa who I haven’t seen in years, a self-portrait where I look like what I imagine myself to look like instead of what I currently look like.

What is the worst thing you have ever eaten or drank? Have you ever had a NYS Board of Education Lunch? Oh, man. That food is the worst. I had that stuff every day until I was 14. Green mozzarella sticks and cardboard pizza stick out in my mind. They also had this meat.. all of it was served with plain milk, no dessert. Then they’d give you a ‘salad’  that was about a small ketchup container’s worth of lettuce doused in italian vinaigrette to the point where it was see-through. I still have nightmares about that stuff. 

What are your thoughts on setting limits within your work? Do you practice this? How? I am against setting limits in my own work. My head sets up the limits for me, and it’s my job as an artist to surpass them. Most of my limits are based in fear: fear of talking to people, fear of making connections, fear of offending someone, fear of exposing myself too much. Those are all things I need to get past in order to make work that gets at something real, that’s not just a sketch of what I want them to be. My biggest goal for myself is to make work that confronts the things that scare me in a very fundamental way. I guess, I’ve always kind of been scared of myself so right now my work is about that, and circling the various parts of myself I have been too scared to access for a while. Still working it out.

Papo and Su Aguacate Picker






Julien Babigeon How do you describe your work to your parents?

Comment décririez-vous votre travail à vos parents?

I do not really explain my work to them. I pretty much tell them how I came to make this shot, why I was there, what was happening around that we don’t see. There is often a story that comes with a photograph that we don’t tell everyone.

Je ne leur explique pas vraiment mon travail. Je leur raconte plutôt comment j’en suis arrivé à faire ce cliché, pourquoi j’étais à cet endroit, ce qu’il se passait autour et que l’on ne voit pas. Il y a souvent une anecdote qui accompagne une photo et que l’on ne raconte pas à tout le monde.

Do you have a favorite childhood/family photograph?

Avez-vous une photo de votre enfance ou de votre famille préférée?

I have a lot of family pictures that I love. My father used to make photographs and he was pretty talented. I guess my taste for photography comes, in part, from there.

J’ai plusieurs photos de famille qui me sont chères. Mon père faisait de la photo et il était plutôt doué. J’imagine que mon goût pour la photo vient en partie de là.

Is there a perfect photograph you can picture in your head but can’t realize?

Est-ce qu’il y a une photo parfaite que vous pouvez imaginer dans votre tête mais vous ne pouvez pas la réaliser?

A black Camaro on fire jumping across the Grand Canyon.

Une Camaro noire en feu sautant au dessus du Grand Canyon.

Untitled (Boy with Ice Cream)


Untitled (Old Lady)


Untitled (Lady Checking Her Phone)

Untitled (Man with Back Tattoo)


What is the worst thing you have ever eaten or drank?

Quelle est la chose la plus dégoûtante que vous avez jamais mangée ou bue?

A hotdog in Paris. It was an almost raw sausage on a stale french bread with a ton of nasty cheese and an awful béchamel sauce. All heated in a microwave. You can imagine that I will never be able to overcome...

Un hotdog à Paris. Une saucisse presque crue, dans du pain rassis, avec une tonne de mauvais fromage et une immonde sauce béchamel. Le tout réchauffé au micro onde. Vous imaginez bien que je n’ai jamais pu en venir à bout…

What are your thoughts on setting limits within your work? Do you practice this? How?

Quelles sont vos réflexions sur l’imposition des limites dans votre travail? Vous le pratiquez? Comment?

I do not really set limits for myself. I work a lot on instinct and emotion. However, I think I have some pretty re-occurring processes, including street photography. I generally try to isolate a subject in an environment that is animated or loaded in detail. I think I like trying to get an image that could be seen as a kind of stage set while it is a mere stage of life.

Je ne me fixe pas vraiment de limite.
Je fonctionne beaucoup à l’instinct et à l’émotion. Néanmoins je pense avoir une certaine démarche assez récurrente. Notamment en street photo, j’essaie généralement d’isoler un sujet dans un environnement qui peut être animé ou chargé en détails. J’aime assez, je crois, essayer d’obtenir une image qui pourrait être considérée comme une sorte de mise scène alors que ça n’est qu’une simple scène de vie.

Untitled (Barber Shop)


Hidden Galaxies

Julia Cuddy How do you describe your work to your parents? When talking to my dad, it’s more mechanical and to the point. I usually end up talking about how a piece might be displayed rather than the concept, but sometimes those conversations turn into deep conversations about space exploration. That’s when it gets interesting. When talking to my mom, I usually do all the talking. She’s my support and is a great listener. She’s really open when it comes to concept and likes learning- so that always turns into me talking until my voice hurts. Thankfully, it’s never awkward but they might think I talk about it a little too much!

Do you have a favorite childhood/family photograph? I absolutely love old photographs of my mom’s dad as well as those from when my parents were teenagers and in love. I guess I’m pretty sentimental when it comes to old photographs.

Is there a perfect photograph you can picture in your head but can’t realize? ALWAYS! This is where writing things down comes in handy for me - to this day I still look back at old writings and I’m like, “man, why didn’t I make that?” Second guessing yourself is the worst. I need to learn to just create.



What is the worst thing you have ever eaten or drank? I’m the biggest wimp when it comes to hot foods. I can’t handle anything spicy.... Up until maybe early April of this year I couldn’t even eat pepperoni on my pizza. How sad is that?

What are your thoughts on setting limits within your work? Do you practice this? How? Don’t do it. I say this because I do it too much and I think it hinders me. I’m stubborn at heart and I put too many limitations on my work. I say make both messy and clean things, make ugly and pretty things. I should really practice what I preach!



Glass Planet

Planetary Mineral


Patricia Karallis CH What is the role of aesthetics in your documentary practice? PK It’s definitely something I think about when shooting, it also really depends on the project. I feel as though I’m still finding my own style to be honest, I prefer shooting film, if I can, for my personal projects. CH Who are your favorite portraitists? PK Lise Sarfati, Dana Lixenberg, Alec Soth, Ye Rin Mok, and Viviane Sassen. CH How do you approach a portrait situation, with all its inherent structure and formality, and in the end, move the encounter to someplace more intimate? PK I try to build some sort of relationship with the sitter, however small, to make them feel as comfortable as possible. I don’t usually like studio settings and find I get better results when the portrait is taken outside of this environment. I tend to use natural light or a simple lighting set-up, which deformalizes the approach.








CH Your project “On the Cusp”  brought you into the homes and lives of individuals who identify as transgender.  What brought you to make work that looks at and celebrates gender diversity? PK “On The Cusp” was my final year degree project. I wanted to focus on a subject that I think is particularly relevant but sometimes shunned or difficult for people to understand. I also wanted to approach it in a new, different way. People who identify as transgendered have, in the past, been sexualized or are often portrayed with the use of stereotypes or clichés. I wanted to move away from that by having the portraits taken in each sitter’s home and in clothes they felt comfortable wearing day to day.

My main prerogative with the series is in breaking down barriers and dispelling stereotypes about people who identify as transgendered, with the work hopefully encouraging an open discussion amongst people of all sex, gender and preferences.


CH You recently started a very elegant online magazine called Paper Journal that focuses on contemporary photography and design and is backed by in-depth discussions. What was the inspiration for this project, and has it opened up new ideas in your own work? PK I used to be Picture Editor for the online magazine Sweet and Sound, which went offline late last year. I’ve always been interested in online publishing and wanted to continue with it somehow. I guess starting my own magazine was the best, but not necessarily the easiest, option. It’s been a really rewarding experience so far and has opened me up to a lot of interesting work, which has been inspiring as well. In terms of my own work, it’s definitely made me realize I need to be shooting more!

Louis Pulling Vines


Pappou’s Old Work Shoes

Mum in the Garden


Curtis Hamilton PK Your work seems to focus on the everyday, what is it that you look for before taking a photograph? CH I try to live without a camera. Most of the time I keep it in a bag and out of sight. Looking is more about making sure I don’t get hit by a car, but car crashes happen and images happen too. They aren’t always accidents, but they are usually out of my control. Photography comes into play as a means of response. PK What importance lies in the title of your images? CH Photographs make me slightly claustrophobic. For me, titles can be a way out or through.  When a title is good it can form a mental image. I probably come up with half of them, mostly the bad ones.  I steal titles from poems or songs that I like, but the best ones seem to come from friends and junk mail. PK Can you talk a little bit about your technical choices, i.e. why you shoot mostly black and white large format? CH I think a large format black and white photograph has a quiet adamancy about its state of being a photograph; it’s neither completely transparent nor completely opaque.  It registers as something fictive and constructed without the construction being the sole point. 

All The Lint Let Loose Over Winter

Haphazard Ornament


We Ain’t Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain



PK Who or what are your 3 most recent influences? CH I live next to a Yeshiva, which is a school for orthodox Jewish boys between the ages of 12 and 15. I’ve been told, unsurprisingly, that this is the school for the bad kids; the troublemakers.  I love the ingenuity of a troublemaker.  During recess, which takes place in a maddeningly empty concrete yard, they turn rocks and milk crates into dodge balls.  They use the neighborhood’s internet cables as rope to steady their climb onto the roof.  And a few weeks back, after one of them brought a basketball to school, they ripped off a coil of razor wire from their fence, attached it to a gated window and used it for a hoop.  So far their games have been pretty brutal to watch.  They play ten on ten half court, dribbling only on occasion, and the hoop just cowers under the weight of the ball.  I haven’t seen anyone make a shot, but they play on. 

The Value Of People & Three Strikes

Last week, I found an old cd of mine: George Carlin’s “On Cars and Driving.” I love his bombastic subtlety. 

A friend just introduced me to the poet Richard Brautigan. Here’s a poem…

Xerox Candy Bar Ah, You’re just a copy Of all the candy bars I’ve ever eaten.

A Cigarette End


PK What would you being doing now, if it wasn’t photography? CH Image making is never only about the act of making the image. Photography is just a good and sturdy set of tools. Thinking about it too explicitly is dangerous.

Moons Over A Trash Heap


Bobby Scheidemann How do you describe your work to your parents? My work is as if you are in a lucid state where the unusual is ordinary and the ordinary is extraordinary.Â

Do you have a favorite childhood/family photograph? There are these two black and white snapshots of my parents, when they were my age and both living on different sides of America, before they had even the faintest idea of each other. One is of my mother standing next to a car in New York City and the other is of my dad, with crazy long hair, jumping from an unknown waterfall. I like thinking about what they must have felt at that age and what their idea of the future was.

Is there a perfect picture that you can picture in your head but can’t realize? All the time. If I could describe it I would be taking a picture of it right now.

To All Tomorrow’s Parties


Through the Warm Mud


I Watched It In The Kitchen

Salutations To The End

Far Away From Where I Used To Be & Salutations To The End



What is the worst thing you have ever eaten or drank? A black pickled duck egg. Shivermetimbers...

What are your thoughts on setting limits within your work? Do you practice this? How? I think limits are good. I like creating a set of rules for things, which makes me creative because I force myself to just start on something. But along the way I’ll find myself bending and stretching the rules, which produces interesting results. Lately, I haven’t been practicing limits much because I felt that after finishing school the most important thing I could do was travel and it has been a tremendous year so far because of that.


Fluid/Foliage Step 6

Roxana Azar

How do you describe your work to your parents? I don’t think I would try to explain the ideas behind my work rather than what influences me. I would tell my mother how important the home/domestic space has been in the last few years. The house is always colorful somehow. There are always cut flowers on display. My mother used to be an interior designer and has always decorated the house with interesting furniture, Persian rugs, and objects from Iran, and I’m just absorbing all the colors and design here. A large majority of my photographs are taken in the home. Another major influence I would talk about is the time I’ve spent with my grandmother. She would tell me a lot of stories from the past and since my Farsi is terrible, there are a few things that I may have misinterpreted, but her stories always somehow sounded magical and incredibly poetic.

Do you have a favorite childhood/family photograph? Yes! I have so many but especially two photographs of my older sister and I at a Halloween event at her school. I keep them by my desk!


Fluid/Foliage Step 5

Fluid/Foliage Step 4


Is there a perfect photograph you can picture in your head but can’t realize? I think I’ll always be plagued with the idea of that, but some of my favorite photographs are failed executions of “the perfect photograph” or the perfect image.

What is the worst thing you have ever eaten or drank? I can’t think of anything particularly terrible but I hate okra. It’s the only vegetable I won’t eat. It’s not that it tastes bad, but the texture of it is so unpleasant, it makes me cringe just thinking about it. It feels like eating a viscous alien slug or something. Totally gross.

What are your thoughts on setting limits within your work? Do you practice this? How? I try not to because I feel like there are already too many limits as it is. If I can’t do something, I will find another way to do it or start working on something else. I often feel limited just by the medium of photography itself and it’s a good time to exploit that.

Fluid/Foliage Step 2

Fluid Step 8

Teresa Christiansen


How do you describe your work to your parents? My mom is an art teacher and my dad is a curator of European paintings, so I owe much of my appreciation for art to them. You would think this would make it easier to describe my work to my parents, but photography was not something we looked at much together. I discovered photography on my own. During graduate school, I made work that was not so easy to discuss with my parents. However, the work I make now engages photography in a dialogue with painting. In describing his love for a painting, my dad recently said something that I think explains what I hope to get at with my photographs, “The idea that something engages us simply because it looks like what we see around us- this does not interest me at all. What we actually want from art is a work that takes us someplace where we aren’t, someplace where our imagination is engaged in a new way.”

Do you have a favorite childhood/family photograph? The photographs taken during my childhood were sparse compared to the amount of photos taken today and they are all precious to me. My favorite photograph is one of my sister and me in the living room, crouching inside a six inch tall fortress of wooden blocks. We are both wearing helmets made out of tin foil and I am speaking into a cylindrical block where my sister commands a Peg-A-Lite control board. We are obviously taking off into outer space in our imagination, to remember that fantasy from an adult perspective makes me wish I could be a kid again and forget everything I know about reality.

Still Life With Fruit


Still Life With Violin


Floral Still


Landscape No. 10

Is there a perfect photograph you can picture in your head but can’t realize? Yes- the next photo I am planning to take. Whenever I visualize an image, whether it comes to me in a sudden thought or through long contemplation, it takes on a form in my mind that can never be fully realized. It is always an unattainable vision, but as such, it allows the unexpected(reality) to enter the photograph. In the best case, the photograph’s imperfection makes it more successful than the image envisioned in my mind.

What is the worst thing you have ever eaten or drank? My sister is two years younger than me and we shared a bedroom in a small New York City apartment growing up. A favorite prank of ours was mixing up an enticing drink of the most disgusting combinations (milk, toothpaste, orange juice, shampoo) and attempting to get each other to drink it. The trick was always to make sure the color did not give it away or to serve it in an opaque cup. I remember falling for this once, mistaking my sister’s devious plan for an act of generosity, and taking a sip. It was worse than licking a bar of soap.

What are your thoughts on setting limits within your work? Do you practice this? How? In discussing the values of setting limits within work with my students, I go back to a reading that I was assigned in graduate school: an interview with Jeff Wall by Arielle Pelenc. In the interview, Wall refutes the value of breaking rules in an avant-garde, transgressive mode of working. Instead, he proposes that making rules and following them yields more creative productivity. He says, “I feel that art develops through experimentally positing possible laws or law like forms of behaviour, and then attempting to obey them.” This notion of “Internalized radicalism” is evident through all of Wall’s work, and a perfect example can be found in a film made by Lars Von Tier and Jørgen Leth called “The Five Obstructions,” which I look to for inspiration. In my own practice, perhaps as a result of being a teacher, I work best with self-assigned tasks. Sometimes I start with a question, and then I make up my own rules or limits that force me to work within certain parameters to answer that question. For instance, in the series Real Artifice, I have set the rule that every image must contain at least one object that already exists as a printed photograph.

Landscape No. 8

Profile for FORGET GOOD

may/issue 10  

may issue of forget good in collaboration with photo op

may/issue 10  

may issue of forget good in collaboration with photo op