This week in Spotlight 7, we feature emaitchess, who gives one of the finest interviews in the series. Emaitchess was born in Australia and developed a passion for photography as a boy, before leaving the field for many years. It's good that he's returned, because he's done some amazing work since buying his first DSLR and returning to his passion. It's a must read, so go read it in full. Here's a little taste:
3) This set titled Effluxion of Time where you photographed someone 25 years ago and then again in 2008 is really inspiring. Tell us a bit about it.
Thank you – that is a great compliment! I love the idea that my pictures might be inspiring.
At the age of 20, photography was still what I wanted to do when I grew up. I got into the photography course at Prahran College in Melbourne. This was the art school where many great Australian photographers studied (Bill Henson, Carol Jerrems, Chris Koller, Polly Borland, Peter Milne, Leah King-Smith). It was a very exciting, creative and challenging school. I loved it. I was one of the younger students in my year, and I fancied myself as a bit of a star. I think I was probably a complete pain in the arse… The 1984 images from The Effluxion of Time project were all taken for Prahran College folios.
Halfway through second year, in the fog of a drug-fuelled despond, I let the course fall apart. I dropped out, and in a few years had sold my cameras, and lost touch with serious photography.
I recovered psychologically, but pursued different paths. First, I washed dishes, conducted trams, and cooked tacos. Then I became a lawyer!
I bought a digital SLR in late 2006 to photograph my young son, Arlo. To my astonishment, in using it I rediscovered my original passion for photography, and since then, I have been intensely absorbed (once again) by looking at, reading and thinking about, and making photographs. Flickr has been a big part of this rebirth.
I started the Effluxion project to give me something focus on as I got back into photography. The project, though, became really quite profound (for me anyway!). I realized the project was really autobiographical, and is concerned with my own relationship with photography, and of the various choices I had made (or had failed to make) and which had led me to the middle of my life.
The 1980s pictures (which are all of my friends from the time) had haunted me for a long time – like the talismanic Kodachromes of my early childhood, these were images that gave me a memory … a memory of myself when I thought I might be an artist, and not a corporate lawyer. In photographing my friends again, I feel I have started to deal with the sadness I feel about some of the life choices I have made.
At the same time, though, the project did become very emotionally complex. Not many of my friends were happy with the images, and some were profoundly unhappy. Trying to navigate the ethical questions has been very difficult, and possibly that journey is still unresolved.
Earlier this year I had a solo exhibition of these images, which was a really exciting and rewarding experience.
There's much more to it, so check out the whole interview, flickr.com/groups/spotlight_seven/discuss/72157605304756649/ . This is really amazing stuff.