Posted by Shawn Tamaribuchi on 1/2/2013
Untitled (doctors office), 2012
What projects are you currently working on?
For the past three years I've been working on My days of losing words
, a series that explores my life with chronic migraine through self portraits, medical images and still life imagery. Once upon a time I used to be a landscape and urban landscape photographer, but when I got hit with the headache in '08, that had to slow down, so I started shooting what my life became. It deals with the physical way that I see when I'm in pain- I get tunnel vision- and the claustrophobia of chronic illness. Thankfully, I'm feeling a bit better these days and it also deals with the healing process, too. It's going to be published by Kehrer Verlag this fall. Kickstarter coming soon!
I was thrilled that this summer I was feeling better enough to spend some time in Spain, and actually fell back in love with the landscape. Right now I'm mostly focused on getting my book done, but I look forward to printing these vast landscapes, after spending so much time focused on tight little spaces for so long.
I also have another side project, Everywhere, anywhere, nowhere, that consists of photographs I shot with my twin lens out of airplane windows. They're going to be light boxes.
What processes and parts of RayKo facilities are you using?
Generally people can find me in the color darkroom. I shoot film and an analog darkroom is really my native habitat. I've been printing color for almost nineteen years now. That said, Everywhere, anywhere, nowhere is my first digital project, due to the fact that I've been taking out parts of the plane digitally. So you can occasionally find me at the scanner or printers upstairs, working on that, or scanning for my book.
Untitled (bed), 2012
What are some breakthroughs and challenges you have faced in your
One major breakthrough I've had in the past year was doing self portraiture. I'd been convinced that I could do this entire body of work about my illness without showing myself in it. I had photographs that had everything BUT me, but it wasn't enough; it didn't tell the whole story. So I started shooting myself, for the first time in my life, and it's been hugely challenging, but rewarding, to work through the technical aspects while figuring out how to model as well.
The main challenge I deal with is that my illness has slowed me down a lot. Basic things like going to the darkroom and being on the computer take a lot out of me- the switch from pitch black to bright light is very hard on my head, so I have to take it easy on myself. If I push myself too hard, like go to the darkroom too many days in the row or for too long in one day, I run the risk of making my headache spike and setting my health back. Everything is precarious. Sometimes I'm amazed at how much I've gotten done while having a 4.5 year headache.
Where and when can people see your work?
I'm in the "New Directions" exhibition at Wall Space Gallery in Santa Barbara, curated by RayKo's own Ann Jastrab, which opens on 1/4/13. And of course, you can see my work at my website, www.RJablo.com. And look for My days of losing words in Kehrer Verlag's fall catalog!