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  • Andrew K. Thompson

In dialog with Alan Klotz (A Manifesto)

So Andrew K, what did you think of my revised text???

Especially the very first paragraph.


Hi Alan,

Yes! Excellent. Original and idiosyncratic are definitely words I would use to describe my practice.

And yes, I would agree that this body of work engages in pictorialism in a similar way the pictorialist embraced Julia Margaret-Cameron. I won't call myself a pictorialist, but pictorialism is certainly included in the soup. I look at movements in photography and the materials used as instruments, each creating a different voice to be used in a symphony. I am not particularly attached to a violin, the cello, or the contrabass; each is used at a certain time and in a particular place.

Like the pictorialist, I feel free from the burden of "factual observation" because I know that factual observation is, at best, only possible in scientific situations. Otherwise, the holder of the camera always taints the objectivity of the image by the decisions they make before and after the snapping of the photograph. With this freedom, I allow myself to explore the medium as leftover systems to be taken apart and rewired to create something that is mine.

I literally sit in a room daily surrounded by multiple film and digital cameras in one state of disrepair or another, along with stacks of expired film and paper, plus books on photography (history, theory, and artist portfolios). I deal with Environmental Health and Safety policies as part of my position running the darkroom, and folks are constantly donating unwanted photo equipment. In a sense, I work in a photographic salvage yard (literally and theoretically), and I am building new structures from the parts of older ones.

The next body of work may just include "straight photography," or it may strictly be chemical based like the Genesee (Beautiful Valley) sculpture/automatic drawing machine that I created a few years ago, which was a 33-inch cube that pumped water from the Genesee river in Rochester mixed with Kodak developer over 11x14 sheets of paper commenting the alleged pollution of the river and surrounding areas of the Kodak Factory.

The fact that photography was born during the industrial revolution implicates it in the damage to the environment. Silver taken from the Earth to document the sublime wonder of the landscape is ironic to me, and all I can do is laugh to keep myself from crying.

Genesee Automatic Print , 2017 Ⓒ Andrew K. Thompson

So, I don't see myself as destroying photography; it has already destroyed so much itself; I see myself as using that destruction as a metaphorical mirror reflecting the time in which I live.

Thank you for indulging my rant, supporting my artwork, and being a giving teacher.



Genesee Automatic Print, 2017 Ⓒ Andrew K. Thompson

Genesse Sculpture / Automatic Drawing Machine, 2017 Ⓒ Andrew K. Thompson

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