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Interview with photographer Jim Ferguson

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F-Stop Magazine: Tell us a bit about your background as a photographer.

Jim Ferguson: I started using the camera at age 7 documenting my family history and taking some photos my 5 year old sister thought were weird. After getting my BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, I focused primarily on landscape photography in the Southwest. I was lucky to be successful from the very start with three galleries representing my work and acquisitions by three major museums and numerous private collections. I received a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and while pursuing another career I also continued to photograph in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the United States. In 2017 I re-emerged into the Fine Art World full time, introducing my work again to galleries and museums. My photography has been described as having “a kind of mechanism that disturbs our sense of place and time, leading to a feeling of the uncanny, thinking that we might know these spaces, but cannot ever..”

F-Stop: The current issue of F-Stop Magazine features images from your project “Reconstructed Space”. Can you tell us about this project? What led to this work?

JF: Reconstructed Space is an ongoing series spanning years and continuing to this day. It evolved out of more literal and landscape photography I had done in the past. I set out to create images in a formal way with a strong sense of flatness, compression, form and poetic movement. Much of the work has a disorienting effect similar to what you might feel with Surrealism.

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F-Stop: What is your process for making these images or your creative process more generally?

JF: I don’t shoot thematic or project based. I do not target any particular subjects. Instead I shoot intuitively reacting to spaces where I can apply my photographic vision which is impacted by my altered sense of depth perception. I approach my photography with a strong graphic intent, an interest in abstraction, a desire to compress spaces, an attraction to capturing tactical surfaces; and I merge as many of these elements as possible into a single image.

F-Stop: Where do you find inspiration for the images you create?

JF: Embedded in my artistic DNA is my aesthetic proclivity towards surrealism, abstract expressionism, minimalism, post-painterly abstraction, and just generally mid-twentieth century modern art. Photography allows me to share the influence of artists from these periods, along with my altered sense of depth perception from being cross-eyed and having corrective surgery at two years old.

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F-Stop: Are you working on any other projects currently?

JF: I’m currently working on two other projects, my Water series and Unfamiliar Places series concurrent with Reconstructed Space. They can all be viewed on my website at www.jimfphoto.com

Water Series- What attracted me to water towers is up close they have a strong presence and obvious strength to the structures because of their utilitarian purpose. Water towers are a part of the landscape seen but ignored by most everyone. My effort is not to document water towers like the Becher photographs. I use them to capture the essence of these structure and transform them into something beyond their original shape and purpose. I focus on their strength, beauty, and graphic qualities rarely seen in these structures.

Unfamiliar Places- I just debuted a new body of work called Unfamiliar Places. The work brings to mind for me the impact of memory, how the span of time from capturing an image to viewing it for the first time impacts the retention of memory. And, how fleeting memories change ones perception of images. In this case for me the images have both a modern feel and ethereal quality. This work came about because of the serendipitous nature of film and its inherent materiality.

For more of Jim Ferguson’s work: www.jimfphoto.com

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