When we’re used to quickly swiping by images, when we’re faced with so many images in the world, and when our relationship to images is primarily digital, the challenge for a photographer is, ultimately, how to keep the eye from slipping off the image. For me, a photograph must offer a solution to this problem. Perhaps it’s perceptual complexity, perhaps it’s foregrounding the image material itself, and maybe it’s something close to pure visual perception. In the end, my images are all about different things, but they all attempt to hold your eye for just a little longer and they all acknowledge a double existence: pictures of objects and material objects in their own right.
David Christensen is a photographer and filmmaker. He has exhibited his photographs in exhibitions at the Medium Photographic Festival in San Diego, The International Print Competition at The Print Center in Philadelphia as well as group shows in Minnesota, New Orleans, and Toronto. His last feature film was “The Mirror”, which had its international premiere at the Locarno Film Festival, the US premiere as the opening film at New York’s MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight, and its Canadian premiere at the Hot Docs Documentary Festival in Toronto.
In Conversation: Julya Hajnoczky and David Christensen
The landscape of Alberta’s eastern counties is a place of straight lines, ploughed fields, grazing cattle, empty towns, few people. Overhead wires parallel the slow side roads that scarify the land. As photographers, we lingered over common objects, the peripheral, the overlooked and ordinary: the hastily built farm shacks by the highway; the jumble of buildings at the edge of town that we usually rush past. We searched for traces of how a place is slowly changed, by what or by whom. We looked for landscapes of the future and individuals from the past, all to create images that are aware of the constant cycle of building and decay.