Lovesourced: Kris Graves’ Permanence

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Kris Graves, J.F.K., Queens, New York, 2007

In Lovesourced, a new series examining the passions, stories and dreams behind crowd-funding personal photography projects,we look at the Permanence project by Kris Graves.  Over time, Graves  recognised what was permanent in his own work was an eye for the landscape, its forms and shapes, a momentary stillness preserved through the eye of his lens. He tells us about his successful crowdfunded project that will be available soon to the general public…

Commercial and Fine Art photographer Kris Graves Permanence project, is a project that luxuriates in the visual and narrative possibilities of the photographic landscape. His work asks questions about our attachment to place and landscape, about the human traces left in the landscape photo. Graves, whose work is also in Image Source, brings a kind of wit and irony to the idea of Permanence in images such as the departure lounge at J.F.K., a space permanently dedicated to departure.

On his website it notes, “Kris Graves creates photographs of landscapes and people to preserve memory,” and in that way they are also about Nostalgia, for what has passed, what’s no longer there, and the deep emotional pull the landscape photo has on us. Graves’ Permanence project probes our experience of separation, and connection to place, that’s embedded in the landscape photograph.

Pick the first three photos from Permanence that come to mind?

Kris Graves, Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati, Ohio, Summer 2003.

Kris Graves: Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati, Ohio, it is the first photograph made in this project, I realized that I wanted to capture space.

Kris Graves. Mister Softee, Astoria, New York.

Mister Softee, Astoria, New York. My most popular photograph, everyone loves ice cream.

Kris Graves, Alien Parking Lot, Montreal, Canada, 2011

Alien Parking Lot, Montreal, Canada. The beginning of my new work, I want to photograph quirky scenes more often.

What inspired/motivated you to start Permanence?

Kris Graves. Looking at the Freedom Tower Construction, New York, 2011

Kris Graves: I realized that I had been making landscapes.

How did you select the spaces and places to shoot? Was there anything you ruled out as subject matter?

Kris Graves. San Pedro #2, California, 2010

Kris Graves: I let life take me to these places, through visits with friends, through work or otherwise. From there, I find time to see as much of the surrounding area as possible. I photograph accessible space that we can all envision, not from above or from the sky, but from a personal, accessible, scaled perspective.

Did you shoot with the same camera and equipment everywhere? What kit did you use?

Kris Graves, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2004

Kris Graves: For travel, I usually use two medium-format rangefinders, a Fuji 6x7cm. and Fuji 6x9cm. I use the 6x9cm. camera much more these days. A handful of photographs are also made with a 4×5″ view camera, and there is one digital photograph in Permanence.

What was your thinking behind the edit, selection, arrangement?

Kris Graves. Yellow Hats, Kyoto, Japan, 2005

Kris Graves: I have been working through edits for a few years now and started with over 200 photographs. The book will be 64 photographs from the past ten years, my only interest is having a group of the best landscapes I’ve made to date in this book. I have tried hard not to be extremely personal about my selections and have asked numerous photographers and curators for assistance.

Was there anything in particular which surprised you as you were putting the pictures together, the story, the life you were living it revealed?

Kris Graves. Michiyo in October, Bermuda, 2007

Kris Graves: I started to realize how many years I’ve known my friends and how many places we’ve seen together.

Any photographers, photographic books you were inspired by?

Kris Graves: I am an avid book collector. The books that first inspired me were Robert Adams “What We Bought”, Gordon Parks “Half Past Autumn”, Thomas Struth “1977-2002”, to name a few. The photographers that taught me at Purchase College were my biggest influence, Jed Devine, Jo Ann Walters, Bob Kozma, and Sergio A. Fernandez.

What has the Kickstarter process been like?

Kris Graves. Family Dollar, Taos, New Mexico, 2009

Kris Graves: My Kickstarter was a 30-day campaign and it was very stressful. Over the course of the month, I sent two batch emails, many updates, and a new photo per day on Facebook. I also posted on my two blogs, organized a pop-up exhibit for all of the work (each printed 11×14″ in a huge grid at Pocket Utopia Gallery), and sent individual emails to everyone I had an email address for. Twice. I had the support of all of my friends and family, they all had hope for the project and knew that I would be able to produce a great monograph. I was stressed for 28 days, then I reached my goal. The last two days were easier but I still pushed it so I could produce an even better product. With the extra dollars, I will be able to personalize the shipping (it’s a secret), as well as get better paper for the book.

Next project?

I recently returned from China, so there are some ideas there, I am also working on a portrait series of American black men. But my most complete project is going to focus on my Iceland work. I have an edit of 70 photographs and I plan on returning to the island this Winter to complete the work. There will be a traveling exhibition and an accompanying catalogue. That will be my main project for 2013.

Click to see more of Kris’ work

For those who would like to buy Permanence (Christmas is coming!) we will give you a release date as soon as its finalised.

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