Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jose Santa Cruz

Some Photographers Take Pictures, Jose Makes Art
Jose Santa Cruz
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The following is an online interview with photographer Jose Santa Cruz.

1. How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?

It has been 35 and it seems like yesterday.......I was 17 years old and was playing with my Dad's camera a Minolta SRT 101. I took the lens off and could not put back so I began to read the manual it explain shutters speed and apertures etc. and I thought sweet !!! so when he got back home I asked him if I could use it and said Yes ! I went got a roll of film a week later got developed my dad said I had 10 good ones !!!!! and that what's it I was hooked.

I just did not know what I was getting into and maybe still don't, it just seems like a medium that it is always full of new thing to explore.

2. What are you doing most recently. I understand you have been doing some photographic work that does not use a camera at all?

3 years ago I was diagnosed with kidney cancer and was not able to work for 2 and half years, there were some other complications that needed long term attention, so I had no other choice but to sell most of my collection of cameras. I've always had a great admiration for Henry William Talbox ( father of modern photography) and the early photographic processes, in particular the Salted prints.  It all began with what he had done with out the use of a camera and I took it from there. I believe it is perhaps the most difficult series I have done in terms of concepts and so far I have around 20 that I like and would like to have 32 more for a total of 52.................................................... I will be 52 next month !!!!!

Artist’s Statement

Camera-less photogenic drawings

My new series of photogenic drawings are inspired by Henry William Talbox, inventor and father of modern photography, dating back to 1833. It is my intention and self-imposed challenge to rediscover the meaning of the word photography (painting with light). I do this, without the use of a camera, by simply laying mundane objects on a piece of acetate, exposing them to UV light to create a dream-like negative, from which gold-toned salted prints or enlarged gelatin silver prints are then produced.

It is my hope that the viewer recognizes the beauty that surrounds us every day of our lives.

Jose Santa Cruz

It just seems to me that it is a very timely series.  The more technology I see out there the worse the images are....or maybe I am just getting old !!! Lol.

3. I saw in your Polaroid work that you are able to use what many might consider an inferior medium to your advantage by taking advantage of the qualities of that medium.

I love Polaroid! It is a very unique film.  Dr Land, the inventor of Polaroid was a genius with over 1200 patents to his name with out a college degree.  The Dr. was given to him for his contribution to the world of science,  The series began collecting props for a year, I got most of it done in a couple of years working on and off. Still lifes are very dear to me. I like to think that I am there just to help the universe that a still life creates along. Each set up took less than 5 minutes. Other ones were just things that presented themselves to me, as it is usually the case in mysterious ways, so it is two series in one complementing one another.

4. What are you looking to do now and in the near future.

I would love to learn the daguerreotype process -- the earliest kind of photography.  I have promised to myself I will not depart the earth with out doing so.  I also like the Wet collodion process or photography on Glass !

If I could, and money was not problem I would put out a self published book with a examples of my work for the past 35 years.

5. Can you tell me about the work you've done with portraits in the Kansas City Rescue Mission? 

Kansas City Rescue Mission (KCRM) is a shelter for the homeless like myself.   I offered to do portraits for the staff.  It then  just grew into portraits for the homeless, how could it not !!!!! Great faces......Full stories.

I am very proud of the homeless portraits I've taken,  I mean both the homeless men who allow me to photograph them.   The images, they speak for themselves.

It is my first series working digitally Lol !!!! .......I am such a film guy.

6. Is there anything else you can add?

I Would do it all over again !!!!!..................... Photography runs in my blood now.

Thank you.

Jose Santa Cruz

June 4, 2009 at 8.06am PDT
If you are interested in expressing your opinion about art, or this blog, or if you have ideas, calender updates or even blog entries, send me a message at TMI, BRD
*Union Pacific, Warrensburg Missouri, July 14, 2008
*You Are What You Do
There is so much truth in that.  If you feel a need to judge somebody, then look at the things they are doing, not what they are saying.

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