We interviewed analogue photographer Grace Gloria Denis on the juxtapositions of her still life imagery and how burning film rolls fulfill her craftsmanship. Everything is in between, in medias res, in limbo to unsettle her casual viewers and audience.
Hi Grace, welcome to Lomography magazine! Firstly, what catches your attention?
Details, in a multitude of forms – the smell of a laundromat after it rains, the sensation of stillness in movement, the sound of water boiling, the way salt water dries on skin, the feeling of someone brushing my hair. I am enamored by subtlety above all things.
You shoot in analogue medium. why? what do you love about it?
The tangibility of the medium enchants me. the ability to translate a visual experience into a haptic experience has always been a process that I have been intrigued by. It is this sense of alchemy that continues to drive my interest. There is something romantic about being alone in the dark.
Please share with us your first experience in using an analogue camera. What was it like?
My father gave me a small Vivitar 35mm camera when I was nine years old before we went to France to visit the family. I shot six rolls within the first two days, taking mostly pictures of cows in the country side and trash under the bridges that line the Seine. I can still recall the feeling of getting back the developed rolls - I fell completely in love with my camera and have yet to fall out.
Your photographs often emit a sense of subtle mystery through colorful shots of mundanity. please describe to us how you compose your photographs.
I compose solely by looking – there is never a premeditated notion of an image. photographs do not originate in my imagination; instead, they exist as artifacts of my relationship to reality. they are the cultivation of meticulous attention to detail.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Who are your muses?
My muse is perpetually shifting but always remains a stranger. there is a profound sense of arousal in anonymity.
I am equally entranced by the erasure of markers of time and place in topographical landscapes. I have always been attracted to the in between, and reveal more so in the process of the journey as opposed to the destination. the liminality of said space inspires me.
If you could work or collaborate with any photographer, who would it be?
Kohei Yoshiyuki or John Divola. I love the devotion given to the abandoned environments in Divola’s "Zuma", and the amplified observation in Yoshiyuki's "The Park". there is something in both those works that border on espionage that I find compelling.
Describe to us -- what's a day in the life of grace Gloria Denis?
it is hard for me to say, and to be quite honest I think i am still figuring that out myself. every day feels ripe with opportunity. I think that is what I find most captivating about life - the realm of possibility is infinitely beautiful and daunting. I am bound by a desire for movement, and perhaps the most constant element of my life is transit.
What do you usually do during your downtime? Any on-going project, or other plans you're keen to work on?
I exist in a state of perpetual observation, so there are no periods that I consider to be downtime. It is simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating, but it is this heightened sense of awareness that propels my work.
I am currently finishing up a book that will be released this autumn titled always arriving. Alongside that, there are a few other projects that I am in the midst of. I tend to enjoy multi-tasking quite a bit.