DURHAM LOUPE - Artist Statement by Jordan Montgomery
As an artist and photographer, my intent is to discover, study, and reveal the defining character of a particular subject. I believe the degree of my success in this process is dependent on my ability to make a personal connection with that subject.
This connection only occurs when I'm fully present in the moment. And I find that the connection is strongest when it results from an event that combines a cognitive insight with an emotional reaction. Such an event results in an awareness that I have discovered an aspect of the subject that has the power to be intriguing to me on a logical level, while also engaging with me on an emotional level. These are the events that I document in my photographs.
I recently applied this process while building a relationship with my new home town, specifically the downtown area of Durham, North Carolina, which is known as the Durham Loop. And the collection of photographs that I'm sharing with you, which I have titled 'Durham Loupe', is the result of establishing this relationship through many such moments of discovery.
I spent many days and nights walking the streets of downtown Durham. And on reflection, I find that I'm both drawn to, as well as intimidated by, the street - a space that belongs to everyone and is owned by no one. I spend time on the street because I'm seeking a connection with my new home town. I want to make it my town. And I believe this can be achieved by spending time on the street, studying the atmosphere and architecture of the cityscape. I take this approach because I believe the architecture and street scenes reflect the character of the people, past and present, that inhabit the space.
I find that the sense of atmosphere and mood generated by light and shadow allows insight into the character of buildings. I observe how the buildings and their surrounding space are transformed as the intensity, focus, and color of light changes at dawn, mid-morning, mid-day, afternoon, dusk, and night. As the light changes, the buildings seem to change their shape and personality, as some features are more pronounced and others recede. I feel that spending time with these structures provides the opportunity to appreciate the complexity and true character of the buildings, as well as the people that work and live in this environment.
I have recognized that I prefer to study my environment without an audience. Busy streets provide too many distractions and make it difficult to focus. But a leisurely walk on a nearly empty sidewalk supports a mental state that amplifies the ability to examine the details of the environment that man and nature have created. So more often than not, I tend to find myself on the street at quiet times, when there are very few people on the street. I am fortunate that the downtown Durham area makes this posible. And there are occasions during these quiet times that I will simply stand still on the sidewalk, close my eyes, and feel the sun on my face, while I listen to the wind and other sounds of the street.
I find that night provides a unique opportunity to engage with a different aspect of the streetscape. This is when I can see what is unseen by day, while I'm awake at night in an uninhabited space that is intended for utilization in the light of day. When I'm on the street at night, there are times when I feel like I'm breaking the rules by being awake and observing the transformation of the street at night. I find that the darkness of night transforms a space in a very dramatic way, especially when traversing the sidewalks in the shadows of unfamiliar buildings. Colors are intensified as night lights become stage lights and create a high sense of drama.
I'm drawn to reflections, most often in windows, also in water, and on metal surfaces. These reflections attract my eye and make me question the boundaries of space. I'm intrigued by what can be seen, but exists somewhere outside the limits of my physical reality, when my eye is tricked into seeing something that exists beyond what I understand to be the boundaries of my reach. I'm compelled to capture these fleeting moments in my photographs. I find that these reflections provide another avenue to explore our surroundings from a different perspective. And we often learn something new about our environment from these reflections, because they catch us off guard and reveal a different facet to our reality.
I believe these aspects of my approach to establishing relationships with subjects in my environment is the basis for how I see the world around me. And the photographs that I share through the 'Durham Loupe' project are captured moments of time and space that I have experienced in that process. They are now a part of who I am. And I invite you to spend time with these photographs, creating your own personal experience, and building your own relationship, with these places and moments in time.
Last Update: April 3rd, 2013Continue Reading