MOSSLESS: Do you consider your work to be documentary photography?
Morgan Ashcom: To me, the word documentary implies a primary concern with things as they are: concern with the social landscape, psychology, politics, history, or activism. I don’t think of my work in that way at all. I am a photographer, and that’s it. Elements of the scene at Skatopia provided some useful dramatic material, but they serve a different purpose in West of Megsico than they do at Skatopia. The resulting photographs and their sequencing came from a mixture of imagination, observation, and my experience. I work like this because I am interested in looking at photographs in a way that includes the most possibilities. That is, I like them to appear as facts, while at the same time suggesting something beyond the visible world.
MOSSLESS: You mention in your artist statement that a lot of the settlements you photograph would be ghost towns if it weren’t for their Latino populations. What are these towns like?
Kathya Landeros: The part of California where I am from is some of the most fertile land in our country, making the people who tend to it (a majority being Latino) quite productive. The land is very flat, and yet there is always evidence of rolling foothills and mountains never too far away. The sun also seems to produce the most intense heat and light here—really beautiful California light. This is especially true in the summer when the sun is high and its light is drawn out late into the evening. The land is usually laid out in a similar rectilinear fashion: a main business drag with homes surrounding it. The homes are enveloped by expansive farmland, which is the most defining feature that can be seen from the highway. When I think of these towns the paintings of Richard Diebenkorn and some of the other Bay Area Figurative Movement painters come to mind. Although their work is not specific to the towns I am photographing in, their rendition of light and geometry very much describes the West I know. Such a quiet view of the land also offers an interesting foil to the mythos of the rugged American West of cowboys.
We are interviewing a number of photographers from Issue 3 for Vice Magazine online. They will be posted every monday and we will reblog a snippet of each here.
MOSSLESS: Tell us a memorable story from your travels across America.
Curran Hatleberg: A while back I was sitting in an empty barroom looking out the entrance to a dirty street. The door was propped wide open, framing a perfect view of the foot traffic and cars streaming by in the night. I studied thousands of insects as they whirled and smashed into a streetlight. I watched a nervous, skinny woman flash her gold teeth, then drop an orange rind on the sidewalk. Then I saw a sedan meet a concrete pillar at 50 miles an hour. The car lurched up the pole with vicious agility, going completely vertical before landing upside down. The whole event appeared slow and graceful and very far away. I stared, inactive, for what felt like a very long time, trying to decide if what I saw had actually happened or not. Before I was aware of my movements I was on my knees, breathing hard at the driver’s side window. Everything smelled like gas. Glass and debris was strewn everywhere like confetti. Looking inside, the driver had blood streaming down his face in squiggled paths and was laughing uncontrollably. With the help of another man, I dragged him by the arms out of the window and onto the grass. The driver writhed on the ground in spastic fits of energy. A crowd developed around him, unsure what to do. It all happened very fast, but I clearly remember standing up and seeing one of the car’s tires spinning purposely, as if the road were still underneath it.
Our Kickstarter is up. See the almost whole book in the video above.
Issue Three: The United States (2003-2013) is now available for preorder.
(this video was originally posted on the second last day of our Kickstarter campaign)
Verstoppertje by Romke Hoogwaerts and Grace Leigh is now available at our online store for just $10.
It was exclusively made for the 8 Ball Zine Fair at an edition of 20. We have just a few copies left. The photos are from our month in The Netherlands last year, and it is the first time we have published our own work.
Mark King is 30 and not that tall.
Mark King, Plastic, 2013