May 15, 2018
Joseph is an American photographer who reveals the beauty of the ordinary. By creating a beautiful interplay between light and shadow and giving the necessary space to his subjects, Joseph establishes vivid and powerful atmospheres that result in truly evocative images. In this way, his photographs are an invitation to contemplate and reflect, serving also as links to our past memories.
Following we present an interview that we had with him:
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
JZ - My name is Joseph Zorn. I'm from the United States and have lived in the Midwest all my life. I am currently located in a suburb of Detroit. I studied film and television in college as well as anthropology. These days I spend a good amount of my free time looking for the next picture.
am - How did you start in photography?
JZ - I didn't take photography very seriously until I got possession of a small digital camera. I liked the immediate feedback it gave me. I started looking at many books by contemporary photographers at the same time. I was inspired by the results they achieved using film and so I moved away from digital and tried my hand at other things. This eventually led me to instant cameras and film. I started out taking polaroids but stopped after the films I was using were discontinued. I got back into instant photography after my wife gave me instax mini and instax wide cameras as presents.
am - What attracts you about instant photography?
JZ - Many things about instant photography appeal to me. There is the simple magic of seeing an image revealing itself before your eyes. There is the uniqueness of each instant picture as a physical object. I also like all the variables of film and camera that make each photo a surprise and a challenge. And I like the permanence of the final product.
am - What inspires your work?
JZ - I try to surprise myself. I enjoy the process of hunting for things that are evocative for reasons that are not obvious. I look for things that seem to have a life and a history. Delicate light is important and is helpful in leading me to these things.
am - How would you describe your visual language?
JZ - I try to simplify and I attempt to give the subjects of my pictures the space they need in the frame to be represented properly. I have the same philosophy when I am taking landscape pictures with my Holga camera. I almost see myself as a portrait photographer. I'm trying to give the central object of the photo (whether that be a building or a tree or just something against a wall) the room to breath and express itself.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
JZ - I'm inspired by many, many photographers and other artists. A list would have to include Robert Adams, William Eggleston, John Gossage, Lewis Baltz, Lee Friedlander, Walker Evans and Sally Mann. Other influences range from Edward Hopper and Paul Klee to Kubrick and Hitchcock.
am - What are your main interests as an artist?
JZ - I get meaning from photography by trying to find new ways to see familiar things. My pictures are a product of who I am and the world that is around me. I try to find ways to see the conventional world that I pass through in a singular way – in a way unique to me. I enjoy the challenge and with my instax camera I continue to search for fresh mixtures of light and shape and color and the stories they tell.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
JZ - It would have to be something from Hitchcock I think. "Shadow of a Doubt" or "Rear Window". I like how he found ways to bring anxiety into the commonplace.
am - What is your favourite photo book?
JZ - My favourite photo book would have to be "Summer Nights" by Robert Adams. It is a beautiful mixture of stillness and disquietude – and always that luxurious darkness. Other special books for me include William Eggleston's "The Democratic Forest" and "The Solitude of Ravens" by Masahisa Fukase.
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
JZ - Thank you for your interest and for the opportunity to show my pictures.