1/13/2016 – Worth 1,000 words with Noah Elliott Morrison
Artist: Noah Elliott Morrison
Location: Le Petit Zinc
NEM – Coffee (cream), salmon crepe
SRS – Coffee (black), ham & brie crepe
I wanted to meet with Noah to discuss the show he curated at Public Pool, which you can see during Saturday hours this month, and read a bit more about here. I was interested to hear Noah’s take on the tension between organizing a show that includes one’s own work–not to mention fitting a five-person show into Public Pool’s space.
We ended up talking a lot about trying to push photography past just image-capturing. Noah’s photos are really wonderful–whether documental, candid, or staged, they have a spontaneous feel. His attraction to old-fashioned places and objects–like diners, old cars, and other vestiges long-ago Detroit–give his work a pleasantly old-school feel, drawing the contemporary back in time. Each image has a penumbra of authenticity. What I’m saying is, Noah could easily rationalize that his images are good enough on their own, because they are. But he’s interested in the conceptual and aesthetic value in going beyond the generation of a standalone image. Indeed, I think the photographer’s impulse to capture fragments of the world around them is a great starting point, but how you put those images back together to create a new perspective is what sets a given photographer apart.
I’ve grown to think of my own photography as more of a primary process, where it used to be my main finished product. The thousands images I’ve amassed function more like my own stock image warehouse, that I can translate into other media and use to illustrate things like web comics, screenprints, laser cuts, or even stickers that are a part of the Eidetic Memory Maps I’m starting to work on. I know there are people who are still satisfied to work with photography as an end, but I see it as a much more interesting beginning, and Noah’s show was really inspiring for me, in terms of revisiting that with some energy.
Photo Pool at Public Pool is a great place to start, if you’re interested in seeing how five very different photographers are trying to innovate the medium (or just find the most precise way of capturing their worldview). We also got to talking about staged photography–a top-seekrit project that Noah has in the works, and an old project wherein I staged scenes of light domestic discord and ennui in some IKEAs and photographed them. Noah expressed interest in seeing them, so I have put them in a gallery for him, and you, here.