Projects

"remainder / reminder" Photographic Series | Gallery Exhibition by Jordan Hefler

"remainder / reminder" Photographic Series | Gallery Exhibition

In late December I was fortunate enough to have a reception for my current photography exhibition, “remainder / reminder” in downtown Baton Rouge at the Gallery at Manship in the Shaw Center for the Arts.

I’d like to thank anyone that was able to come that night, or at any point, to view my series. I’m so appreciative of everyone who purchased something and to Bengal Tap Room for providing food/Manship Theatre for hosting the reception.

The work will be up till late March/early April 2019, and if you would like to purchase anything you saw from the series please do so through the Manship Theatre ticket desk.

This series is kind of complicated to explain in short, so I’m including my artist statement below for anyone interested in reading the thesis and process behind the series. You can also see how I make the work below in my IGTV video, and purchase a copy of the book on Amazon.

remainder / reminder
By jordan hefler
"remainder / reminder" Photographic Series by Louisiana Artist Jordan Hefler

ARTIST STATEMENT

Photographs have the power to represent a fleeting moment of reality, emotion, or both. They can serve as a personal stance on documentation, while simultaneously creating a fantasy of something that was once real. If life is beautiful in its imperfections, then photography can be a true or false reflection of this.

A lot has changed since the beginning of photography, but what has stayed constant is the unwavering desire to document the world around us. We see what we want to see, and photography’s gift to humanity is the ability to further document that selective vision and place a time stamp on it. Snapshots of seemingly uninteresting objects, places, and people seem cliché until they become important chunks of history later down the line. Just like photographs, we can revisit memories as many times as we want. Through the use of appropriated family imagery and alternative analog photographic processes, remainder / reminder invites the viewer to reflect on his or her own idea of memory and partake in the nostalgia of photographic history coming full circle.

Our memories are so strongly rooted in our sense of self, and it is heartbreaking to see the process of memory loss in action. As time fades away, so does our ability to recollect moments, no matter how important they may have once been to us. Nostalgia can be a very personal experience, especially when intertwined with our families and the stories we have been told. Pictured in many of the photographs that I have appropriated for this project are my French Grand-mère Pierrette, her American racecar driving husband Bruce, my feisty Aunt Brigitte, my down syndrome touched Uncle Lawrence, and my caring mother Noelle. My grand-mère has been a reoccurring fixture in my photographic work for my past few series due to her rapid decline in mental health. Like her memory, these photographs are vague and occasionally damaged. Some are tangible and clear, while others are foggy hints of a time or place. So many of these images seem familiar to me, yet I was not even alive when any of them were taken. Repeated faces and places surface over and over again in the images, making it difficult to distinguish the real from the imagined. This perpetual mental fuzziness is completely mirrored in the visits that I have with my grand-mère in recent years: one minute you think there might be clarity and then you realize you might as well be talking to a stranger. Each conversation becomes more and more unpredictable as time goes on, and the minute you start doubting her mental coherence you are proven wrong yet again. By welcoming the unique properties of both the image transfer and emulsion lift processes, I am mimicking the unpredictable nature of the mind throughout the course of time.

Old photographs have an air of respect placed upon them that rarely gets challenged by destructive processes other than their natural decay over time. Because my family’s slide film has never been viewed any other way than through a slide projector, I am using a slide transfer machine to expose them onto instant peel-apart film and bring them into a tangible state to apply the alternative processes of image transfer and emulsion lift. By intentionally manipulating the copies of these images transferred from my family’s archived slide film, I am able to turn the metaphor of memory into a physical object all my own. Both of these processes lend themselves to my translation of memory loss via the haunting aesthetic they leave behind. The image transfer process typically leaves an unpredictable stickiness that binds to the texture of the paper, giving it a rough and rhythmic aesthetic. Conversely, once the film is boiled in hot water, I embrace the unique qualities such as clear highlights and veil-like flexibility by adhering the lifted emulsion to glass surfaces. My grand-mère’s obsessive love for French jams and fragile knick-knacks inspired the sculptural aspect of placing the emulsion onto glass vessels, suggesting a theme of preservation of memory, depth, and clarity. There is an element of chance that makes working in these alternative methods feel important and grounded in the present, even when working with photographs from the past.

The quirks of the process are just as integral to the photographic concept than the finished product itself. My creative license lies in my initiative to claim authorship with my process—I am making my own memories now.

SEE SOME OF THE WORK BELOW

LEAVING  remainder / reminder  Jordan Hefler  Kodachrome Slide 1959 / Fujifilm Emulsion Lift 2014

LEAVING

remainder / reminder

Jordan Hefler

Kodachrome Slide 1959 / Fujifilm Emulsion Lift 2014

La Tour Eiffel  remainder / reminder  Jordan Hefler  Kodachrome Slide 1959 / Fujifilm Emulsion Lift 2018

La Tour Eiffel

remainder / reminder

Jordan Hefler

Kodachrome Slide 1959 / Fujifilm Emulsion Lift 2018

FAST  remainder / reminder  Jordan Hefler  Kodachrome Slide ca. 1965 / Fujifilm Transfer 2018

FAST

remainder / reminder

Jordan Hefler

Kodachrome Slide ca. 1965 / Fujifilm Transfer 2018

GRAND  remainder / reminder  Jordan Hefler  Kodachrome Slide 1972 / Fujifilm Emulsion Lift 2014

GRAND

remainder / reminder

Jordan Hefler

Kodachrome Slide 1972 / Fujifilm Emulsion Lift 2014

HEADLIGHTS  remainder / reminder  Jordan Hefler  Kodachrome Slide 1960 / Fujifilm Transfer 2018

HEADLIGHTS

remainder / reminder

Jordan Hefler

Kodachrome Slide 1960 / Fujifilm Transfer 2018

TIRED  remainder / reminder  Jordan Hefler  Kodachrome Slide ca. 1969 / Fujifilm Emulsion Lift 2018

TIRED

remainder / reminder

Jordan Hefler

Kodachrome Slide ca. 1969 / Fujifilm Emulsion Lift 2018

LE MANS  remainder / reminder  Jordan Hefler  Kodachrome Slide 1960 / Fujifilm Emulsion Lift 2014

LE MANS

remainder / reminder

Jordan Hefler

Kodachrome Slide 1960 / Fujifilm Emulsion Lift 2014


Thanks go George Castillo Photo for the photos of the night below!

For more information on commissioned emulsion lift or image transfer pieces, contact me here.

"remainder / reminder" Photographic Series by Jordan Hefler | Polaroid Emulsion Lifts and Image Transfers

First Three, No Flash | Music Photography Exhibition by Jordan Hefler

First Three, No Flash | Music Photography Exhibition by Jordan Hefler

So if you have been living under a rock and haven't seen my 58208 posts about it, I had an exhibition for my music photography and it went sooo well! I literally posted about this show an obnoxious amount for fear of nobody showing up and it ended up being about three times as packed as the photos you'll see below (which was awesome but also stressful but mostly awesome!)

First Three, No Flash | Music Photography Exhibition by Jordan Hefler
First Three, No Flash | Music Photography Exhibition by Jordan Hefler

Here's a little run down if you weren't able to make it to the show or don't know anything about it:

It happened at Perkins Rowe, a beautiful and hoppin local outdoor retail area in Baton Rouge where I typically stroll around and go shopping at stores like Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, and J Crew. Basically one of their spaces has been empty for a while and instead of waiting for someone to lease it they started to utilize it for pop up events. They asked me to do a pop up art show there a few months ago and it got my wheels turning- I figured this would be a good time to do a show since I haven't done one in 4 years! I decided to do an exhibition of my favorite concert photos I've taken in the past 3-4 years and title the show "First Three, No Flash." More about what that means in a second.

First Three, No Flash| Music Photography Exhibition at Perkins Rowe by Jordan Hefler
Perkins Rowe in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Because it's a space originally intended for retail, there are areas on the wall with hanging rods and shelving units. My family got together and helped me drill holes in a bunch of scratched records and we put my logos on them and strung them from fishing line and tinsel to help cover those spots on the wall. This ended up being a perfect backdrop for photos and also added some fun shiny branding to the space!

Drilling holes through records for decorations
Hang records and CDs from fishing line in front of tinsel for a fun photo backdrop

The reception took place from 7-10pm on June 1st and it was a success! My mom and aunt bartended, my boyfriend helped stock the beer, my dad was the merch guy, and my brother used his truck to help move everything. Tin Roof graciously donated beer, Jay Ducote donated some of his Blanc du Bois white wine, and Capital City Records gave me some scratched records to use as decorations. We even had a rum drink we named "Mosh Pit Punch" but unfortunately spelled Pineapple wrong on the sign LOL which you can see in the photos below. Last but not least, my FAVORITE local artist Thomas Wimberly asked to do some painting renditions inspired by my music photography...obviously I said YES and he made some amazing pieces to put up next to my work!

Paintings by Thomas Wimberly inspired by photography of Jordan Hefler | First Three, No Flash
Thomas Wimberly and Jordan Hefler at the First Three, No Flash exhibition in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Thomas Wimberly and Jordan Hefler at the First Three, No Flash exhibition in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

One of my favorite things I got to do for the show was make a playlist of songs only from artists I've photographed and having it play over the speaker as people looked at the work. This wasn't that hard for me because I typically try to photograph artists that I listen to in the first place! I tried to exclude the heavy heavy heavy music and really tried to find edited versions of the rap songs haha (it was a public event, I didn't want to get too crazy!) You can follow that playlist on Spotify here!

BIG thanks to my friend Eric Garcia for offering to come take some photos at the start of my opening reception! It really was surreal to see my work printed large scale and have a ton of people come out to view it. My artist statement was printed on the wall next to the images, and you can read it below

ABOUT FIRST THREE NO FLASH

There’s nothing quite like photographing live music. Lights are flashing making it hard to meter your shot, crowd surfers are falling on top of you and your gear, the guitarist on stage is thrashing around, security guards are yelling at you to see your photo pass…. you’re completely at the mercy of what is happening in front of you as well as your surroundings and access limitations. Lighting is unpredictable, the fans are unpredictable, and most of all the performances are unpredictable. It’s an experience that is truly out of your control as a photographer. The adrenaline rush is insane as you are trying to get all of your shots in a short window of time for your assignment, while usually sharing a small space with other photographers competing for the same thing. Your time in the photo pit is intimate without being intimate at all. Being an artist documenting other artists is surreal, frustrating, rewarding, and liberating all at the same time.

"First Three, No Flash" is the industry standard rule for photographing concerts, meaning credentialed photographers can generally only photograph the first three songs from a specific area and utilize what light is available. These limitations affect what type of lenses you bring, how many cameras you use, and how you approach your assignment. This rule is widely understood by the music industry and generally applies to the press. There are exceptions and your access is dependent on who hired you, what the venue is, if you know the band, etc. but you’re generally only allowed in the photo pit or soundboard area for the first 15 or so minutes. That time goes by fast when you’re wrestling with all of the variables at hand. The “First Three, No Flash” rule is said to have caught on in the 80’s:

“Paul Natkin, one of Chicago’s best concert photographers stated in an interview that the rule started in the 80’s with bands playing in New York. During concerts, the photographers, only having 36 shots available per reel of film became concerned with the lighting and started using flash to light up the artists on stage. This caused many artists, such as Bruce Springsteen a bit of a headache when fifty or so photographers started flashing him as he walked on stage. The Boss became concerned with this practice and said something needed to be done. According to Paul, someone came up with the idea of just letting the photographers shoot for the first fifteen minutes, or first three songs as the average time per song is around five minutes. It was around this time when MTV appeared on our television sets and artists wanted to look perfect on stage photos as they did in their music videos.” -Fred van Leeuwen, Fstoppers.com

I have always been drawn to old film photos of Led Zeppelin concerts in the 70’s and have gotten such emotional reactions to images of young screaming girls chasing The Beatles in the 60’s. I grew up thinking how important it was that someone had captured those moments, and dreamt of being able to do the same with the bands that I loved. With a photography degree in 2014 and no idea what to do with it, I quickly got burned out from photographing everything people told me I should do…until I dove head first into music photography. 

This exhibition highlights the concert photography opportunities I have had over the past 3-4 years, as well as artwork by Thomas Wimberly inspired by these photos. All of the songs playing over the speaker are from bands and artists that I’ve photographed, many of which you will see on the walls today. Most images on display were photographed during the first three songs without flash.

The past few years have been SO much more work than you could ever imagine, but gave me experiences that have intensified my passion and appreciation for music, photography, and the art of the fleeting moment in general. Photographing live music is hands down my favorite, and I am eager to see what opportunities in the industry are next.

I just want to reiterate how thankful I am for anybody who helped support this show by donating something, helping me set up, letting me hang flyers in their store, or buying anything! I sold a ton of merch (if you didn't get a chance to scoop something I have stuff in my online store here) and am hoping to do more pop up shops like this in the future. I also unveiled two new products at the show- the Thank You Tee and the Do What You Want Record Bowls!

Do What You Want "Thank You" Tee
20.00
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