Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Burk Frey reviews Ross Faircloth

     Ross Faircloth (born 1986 in Dallas, Texas) is a photographer working in pinhole and non-lens styles. His images are unified by a desire to strip analog photography down to what he calls the basics — light, photo paper, and chemistry — to remove the artform from more documentarian efforts. He also sometimes incorporates pop imagery and mark making into his work, which runs the gamut from abstract to fully representational. This last bit was inspired by the constructed darkroom work of 20th century photographer Joel-Peter Witkin.
     I don't think that Ross' work is the type of photography that I would naturally gravitate towards (though a few of his images are appealing and quite successful), and I am drawn to the idea that an artist with such a similar background as myself — born the same year in the same city attending a BFA program at a school in the same system — could have such divergent processes and interests.

A Dark Place (Dark Grandeur series)
From Fault Lines series

     Of course these are all surface-level similarities; our childhoods, lived experiences, influences, and personalities are likely quite dissimilar. Yet I am still interested in how two artists of the same age, educational background, and neck of the woods could be drawn to these different sides of photography. Ross appears fascinated by the physical craft of darkroom, almost as a goal unto itself. I see darkroom techniques as tools to get art and story into the world  wonderful tools, but tools nonetheless. Neither approach is better nor worse; instead, other factors determine if the art we make is worthwhile.

Developer and Folds (Dark Grandeur series)

     It follows, then, that (to me) Faircloth’s strongest work is The Night I… (2010), excerpted below. This project has much more narrative “meat” on it; text is taken from the parole hearing of John Lennon’s murderer and bound with photos into book format. Punctuation and formatting were removed, and the font size shrinks in size every page turn, revealing more text. The massive colophon on the last page detracts, but overall I love the idea and execution of this work.

The Night I... spread 5 (2010)
The Night I... spread 8 (2010)
The Night I... spread 11 (2010)

1 comment:

  1. Joel Peter Witkin's twin is a well known painter. You should compare those two who shared a womb and see the differences there too. Interesting. But really, if you look at you and your peers, you are each unique in your interests and pursuits artistically. I would hope you will each come out of our program with your own approach to making. L