It is Political Artists Week at Talkupy and I could not be more pleased!
Talking to Giles Clarke on Tuesday brought those who tuned in, and are listening via the archive, a lot of joy and insight.His words and life experience spoke volumes about where art springs from inside a person and how it takes hold of one's life for good (pun intended).
Giles focuses on photographing people that are persevering and suffering through "ongoing injustices" such as Occupy Wall Street, the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy or the suffering that continues at the site of the gas explosion in Bhopal, India. When I asked how he balances the pain he encounters doing his art, he said his respite comes from spending quality time with his family. He also confessed that he feels out of balance most when he does not have his a camera in his hand. If something is happening, he has to photograph it, he told me.
We also discussed how photographing the subject is only part of the process of bringing an image to life, and then to an audience. Having worked in a darkroom early in his career, Giles understands the length of time it used to take to bring a photo to its desired look for a monthly magazine. Using an iPhone to shoot pictures for the past two years, he's also quite familiar with the immediacy of taking a photo of someone being arrested and quickly posting it to social media. His unique perspective and strong desire to share the raw emotion of the people in his photos never go unnoticed by the people who wait to see what pictures he's taken and made for us today.
Giles greatly admires the the photographers and photos that opened the eyes of the masses during the Great Depression, World War II and the Vietnam War. The photos he and other photographers took last yearr in New York City, Staten Island and Bhopal got a lot of traction thanks to social media, he said. The photos brought would-be-protestors off the couch into OWS's ranks, thousands of volunteers to the aid of Sandy's victims and sparked renewed interest and support for the people who are suffering in Bhopal.
While the time we live in gets more and more difficult every day, I know that I am glad we can all enjoy, and act on, the photographs that Giles takes in such an immediate and interactive manner. The same goes for tomorrow's fearless guest, painter and teacher Alex Schaefer. Alex literally "lights" up the other coast with his slower to create, yet just as impactful, political artwork.