Now Featuring Aaron Farley
Photographer Aaron Farley thinks of collages as a way to bring more than one moment of time together by using multiple pictures – each a captured moment – in his work. Working with his own photos, he creates juxtapositions of depth and texture that vibrate in a zone between the abstraction of thoughts and daydreams and the concreteness of the photographed image. We talked about his photography and collage processes, and the differences between shooting his other work and the more contemplative collage projects.
MH: How did you start making collages? Is this a recent move or have you been working this way for a while?
AF: I have made collages on and off for years. My final project out of school was a series of collaged photographs at different heights, remaking these photos of grain silos. I also used to collage different postcards together and send them around, and I worked on a project the year before last where made an 8×10 collage out of the LA times everyday for a month which I ended up making into a magazine. But to me collages always end up being funny or witty, which is cool, but its really hard to do them where you don’t get that kind of response. With a collage you’re using images that have already been used and repurposing them, so you’re changing the viewers perspective on what the idea of that image was in the first place. But I separate these images (for the LPP series) from that because I’m trying to build on the idea of what it is to make a photograph.
MH: How does your work as a photographer influence your relationship with the photos you use in collages?
AF: To me these are photographs, the idea being that the images over the top are my internal thoughts, or other ideas happening while the photo is being taken. Not literally, but while looking out of the window of an airplane and taking a photo, there are thoughts or memories of home, or details of life that aren’t represented in a photo of the ground 30,000 ft below, so I tried to put a piece of those thoughts or ideas into the photo.
And the others — of the bushes or on the ground — are remade landscapes. I didn’t shoot them knowing this is how they would end up though. As I was going through the photos after a hike, I put a couple of the prints together and they made these single landscapes from a different time within the walk that came together to represent that whole day. Again, I guess, a photograph being more that just capturing one millisecond in time.
MH: Where you source your images for collages? I saw some older work that seemed to feature high-end fashion ads and National Geographic pages.
AF: These are all my photos. And I cut them into triangles and put them together. I also think its pretty satisfying cutting a photo into pieces and giving it another context. Sometimes handling prints, and trying to keep them perfect and untouched can get a little stuffy.
MH: Can you tell me about the kinds of landscapes that interest you? Is working with images of landscape new for you, or something that cycles through your varied work from time to time?
AF: I first started out taking photos of landscapes, or I guess just photos without people in them. I couldn’t imagine taking pictures of people back then, I still have a lot of anxiety shooting people, but now it’s what keeps me going, the challenge of getting great shots of people even though I’m sweating and feeling so uncomfortable on the inside. I get really nervous looking into people’s eyes, so now I’m always working on easing that tension or working with it, I guess. But that’s for a whole other discussion…
But I’ve always been interested in shooting landscapes, and being alone, shooting a photo where you can be somewhere in your own head while you’re shooting, not worrying about other people’s feelings, or how they’re going to come out looking in the photo. It’s just a little quieter in my head I guess.
MH: What can you tell me about the symmetry in these pictures, especially the triangles, which seem to impose a sort or order onto the images they cover?
AF: I just wanted them to look nice and clean at first, and the triangle seemed to work to separate itself, but not to impose too much. I’m not quite sure. A triangle is just simple and grounded, but it also brings up all these thoughts of the past, pyramids, etc. But really I’m not sure.
MH: Who are some artists whose work you follow that LPP readers should check out?
AF: Jeremy Weiss, Claire Weiss (day19), Dan Monick, Justin Van Hoy, Luis Farfan, Noah Kalina, Emily Shur, Sage Vaughn, Paulo Barros, Noe Montes, Will Bryant, Hannah Hooper, Scott Toepfer, and so many more.
In addition to Aaron’s artists to watch, he also has a lot of projects online to check out! You can find his work on his blog and website, a tumblr that feature more collage work and he is also involved in THIS Los Angeles.