BIO: Frank Callaghan’s path into photography was far from the norm – but it rarely is. Having become disillusioned with Economics, Frank immersed himself in photography.
Read how he challenges the structures of everyday life and turns this into his visual language.
If you could, can you sum up your journey to where you are now in a paragraph?
“I suppose the journey has been one towards more awareness of the process of photography. Early on I just acted, and made work, unaware of the underlying mechanisms. As time progressed, I was forced to answer questions for myself about what I am doing and why and how.
“Since my early process was rooted in not having a plan and just flowing, the transition was a little problematic. Purposeful non-awareness can be a little tricky, like trying to stop one’s mind from thinking. The turning point was allowing myself to analyse, and to then make that thought process part of the work. I became interested particularly in the mechanisms of exposure and compression.
“A photograph is an exposure of a light sensitive material to light, that compresses form, line, colour and shadow to a flat surface. At the same time it can capture and compress energies of other kinds – energies of the artistic process, decisions, traces of memories, emotions, experience, gestures. I find this multilayering very interesting. The way forward will probably be a continued negotiation between structure and spontaneity.”
Let’s just get straight into it, I saw on your website you studied Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. What got you into Photography?
“I went to Wharton at a time that I wasn’t ready to focus on the kind of things being taught there. The focus on ROI left me cold, yet I felt obligated to finish the degree. Photography was at first a counterbalance and an escape, but then became something much more important.”
Your project names are quite down-beat – Deadends and Empty Space to name a couple, can you talk about how you find your inspiration in these ideas?
“These titles are entry points rather than descriptions of what the work is about. I am interested in photography as a visual language, and its ability to express ideas that are difficult to express with words. If anything, the idea of empty space or dead ends describe the point in the process right before meaning emerges.
“In the case of my most recent series, the title describes the “Deadends” that I repeatedly found myself facing. This happened both literally, when my flowing wandering met with the very structured city of London, and creatively when confronted with the similarly structured and developed way to approach art in London. When I ceased to see the structure as a barrier, but rather as the subject of my work, the series began.”As you can see, we are quite focused on music here at Far Out – what kind of music are you digging at the moment?
“I am liking this band called Febeuder. Chanced upon their stuff some months ago, and it’s been resonating. I don’t really know too much about them (just now saw that they have some info online, which they didn’t before, and that they recently played at the Shacklewell Arms). They only have five or six tracks out. If you could, get a hold of them, and tell them to make more music!”
Thanks mate, maybe I will.
To see more of Frank Callaghan’s work, visit his website here.