Excerpt taken from Paper Journal Digital Issue 19, available to download now.
Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.:
Nonetheless, I think that even though I am working within that tight space, I leave a lot of room to be surprised. You talk about what surprises you within your own work and within your frame; it’s like improv, in order to be able to improvise you have to have a sturdy foundation from which to work, and control is the beginning of that sturdy foundation. But when I look at your work, I am like ‘wow’, I’m genuinely moving slowly through this process of the space between these images. You have such a soft way of rendering the entirety of the image and making sure you include various details for the eye to savour. That image of the stairwell that we talked about during your show at Baxter Street [Carpeted Stairs, 2019], and being able to see the variance in the texture of the stairs— being able to see that little bit of the iron in the top left corner.
But another of your photographs [Screen Door, 2019] is like…! The murkiness of the shadow is so excellent. The way the figure reveals itself. It takes time for the eye to adjust itself to be able to know what’s happening in the shadow detail. I love the parts of the screen door where the screen is starting to be filled in with the black dots – I have a visual memory of that in my own experience and I can’t recall if it’s dirt that’s in there, or if it’s just a bend in the metal that appears filled in, but I look at it and I’m like, ‘yeah I feel that’.
It makes sense to me that that would be such a thing for you to fall into because of the way that I think you respond to material; not just in your pictures, but in the way that you are able to translate home materials and then you retranslate them as sculptures. Like when you had your show at Baxter, and your picture [Sssummmmmwhhhhhhhhhhere, 2018] was on display, which was so lovely. As a photographer, I can be very stuck in my photography brain, so when I go to look at work that’s photography and sculpture, at first, I’m always like ‘what’s going on?’. But I think that the connection is so palpable in your work, the attention to material, so I can see why you would be attracted to the screen door picture. This is my homage to Friday (1995), you know the banging on the screen door?
Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.:
I hear it.
It’s such a sonic event. I don’t know if this is true, and maybe you’ll be able to tell me since you’re an east coaster, but for whatever reason I think that these kinds of screen doors are more prominent in LA or in the South West; around where I grew up, all the houses had doors like that and the main door was always opened so that you could see right in. It’s just a fascination that I have with screen doors.
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Digital Issue 19
For the past 8 years, Paper Journal has celebrated a wide range of photography, publishing emerging artists right up next to established names. We have published photobook reviews, interviews, features, and portfolios, as well as created content with our fashion editorials and studio visits. Our online content has always been available and accessible for all of our readers such as our quarterly…