Aesthetica Art Prize Interview with Photographer D. Bryon Darby

The Aesthetica Art Prize is an international celebration of innovation and brilliance in contemporary art. Offering entrants an opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience, previous finalists have included Julia Vogl (Winner of the Catlin Art Prize 2012 and shortlisted for Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4′s New Sensations), Marcus Jansen (leading modern expressionist who joined a legacy of artists by featuring in Absolut Vodka’s artistic campaigns) and Bernat Millet (shortlisted for the National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.) The long-listed artists are featured in the accompanying Art Prize publication, while the short-listed artists appear in an exhibition at York St Mary’s, York. We catch up with long-listed photographer D. Bryon Darby, his work investigates perceptions of place as mediated through technology, photography, and personal experience. His selected image is taken from the Seventy Flights in Ninety Minutes project, a work that explores the social, political, and psychological effects of living within the flight trajectory of a major commercial airport.

A: What do you love about photography?
DBD: Much of what I love about photography is that the result is almost never what I am expecting – at least, the good photographs aren’t. It’s that transformation that I love; from the thing I’m photographing to the actual photograph. I think this is partly the process of simply doing and making and partly the nature of photography. Everything is different in a photograph. The ideas that come through the process of making, for me, are always much better than the ideas that just come on their own accord. So, in this sense, photography has been very rewarding for me. and continues to provide me with what I need to move forward.

A: Do you work with other artistic mediums?
DBD: I often work with book forms – hand-made books, print-on-demand, zines, etc. – but always photo-based. At times, I have had aspirations of being a musician, a film-maker, or a writer, but most of the time I am happy with being a photographer.

A: Which photographers have particularly inspired you?
DBD: There are so many photographers who have inspired me. Avedon, Karsh, Penn. Salgado, W.E. Smith. Strand, Evans, Arbus, Sander, Winogrand, Friedlander, the Bechers. In more recent years; Misrach, Sternfeld, Burtynsky, R. Adams, Sugimoto, and on and on and on. The two I continue to come back to most often are probably Harry Callahan and Mark Klett.

A: What was the first photo you took?
DBD: I am not sure I can recall the first photo I took. I do remember having a very small micro-110 keychain camera when I was a child. I remember it took me no more than ten-minutes or so to exhaust and entire roll of film – excited even then to see how things looked in pictures. The subject matter was typical, I suppose, of a seven year old – my toys, the front lawn, my foot, etc. I took a photography class my first year in college and changed my major to photography when the teacher said he would only sign me in to the already-full class if I was a major. It was another six years or so before I really took photography seriously.

A: How does it feel to be part of the Aesthetica Art Prize?
DBD: Wonderful! I’m very happy to have been included in the Aesthetica Art Prize long list. There is an incredible amount of talent and passion on the list and I am honored to be included.

A: What do you have planned for the future?
DBD: I am continuing work on flight paths and also beginning to acquaint myself with a new place and landscape after recently relocating to the mid-western United States. Other than that, I’ve learned it is never a good idea to talk too much about work that doesn’t exist yet.

Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition, 8 March until 28 April, York St Mary’s, York.

Image courtesy of the artist and Aesthetica.