film photography

"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

What is #VSCO? by Jordan Hefler

Post-processing is like makeup: everybody wears it, but not everybody needs it.

VSCO happens to be the brand of "makeup" I choose to use on my photographs.

If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably noticed that I often incorporate #VSCO in my posts. When people started asking me what VSCO was, I was like are you serious? How do you not know about this amazing company?! Sometimes we are so immersed in our own little world that we don't realize things aren't as apparent to others as they are to us.

VSCO® is an art and technology company empowering people everywhere to create, discover, and connect. Our goal is to honor art and artist while fueling a worldwide creative movement through innovative tools and experimental projects.
— Visual Supply Company

A little over a year ago, I found out about this free app that every photographer "needed" on their phone. When I downloaded the VSCOcam app, I really didn't know what all it was capable of. I was like "oh cool, another app to add cool filters and edit my photos for Instagram in." What I didn't realize was that VSCOcam was way more than that.

From what I've gathered, Visual Supply Company started in 2011 by people who loved the nostalgic look and feel of film photography, but wanted the ease of digital manipulation in the modern age. Their company that supplied editing tools to creatives like them quickly grew into a community of artists within itself, and is now a hugely successful company that has grown rapidly since then. 

This is about all of us, the creative community, banding together for the sake of beauty and doing what we love. This is about pouring every ounce of blood, sweat and tears into something worth believing in. This is about the power of art for art’s sake and the belief that a photo can change perspectives, moods, and lives. This is about a worldwide movement of millions creating for the love of craft and community.
— Visual Supply Company

The VSCOcam app has its own social interface within itself. It's almost like a more sophisticated Instagram. Within the app you can share your photos to your "Grid" which is basically your own curated collection of photos you wish to share with the world. Although in my opinion it's not as easy to use as Instagram in terms of marketing, it's far more suited for artists and photographers to find inspiration and connect with each other on (even though everyone still shares to Instagram through the VSCO app anyways.)

VSCO also provides creative editing tools for use with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. For people like me who have worked with film and alternative processes in the darkroom, it provides aesthetic similarities for digital imagery. I frequently use the VSCO editing suite to aid in the enhancing of my digital photos (for both clients and personal work) to keep them cohesive and true to my style, which is heavily influenced by film photography.

As much as people are in denial about it, photographers DO edit their photos. That is part of what you are paying for. Just like there are very few #nofilter moments on your Instagram, you will not receive your photos straight out of the camera if you hire a professional photographer. 

I have an editing style that I stick to, and that's where VSCO comes in to help. I do like to believe that the enhancing of my photographs is not something I rely on as much as it is an outlet of my creativity. It's a tool that I use as a starting point in addition to my training, equipment, and experience, to convey what I want to my clients and the rest of the world.

VSCO also hand picks images from the grids that people share to display on their own curated gallery on their website, and I am excited to say that I received an email last night saying that my image below has been selected!

You can view it and other amazing images on the official VSCO grid here.

GET INSPIRED. make work. repeat.

I would highly recommend browsing through the amazing imagery that VSCO users create! They are on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and their own website is obviously inspirational as well.

This is not meant to be some hip, obscure thing. VSCO is by the creatives, for the creatives. While the professional Lightroom and Photoshop tools must be purchased, the phone app is FREE! Download it, browse people's grids, and share your beautiful work with the world! And while you're at it follow my grid :) I hope this blog post has answered any questions people have been asking me!

FOLLOW JORDAN HEFLER ON VSCO

VSCO Grid