remainder reminder

"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

Why Photographers are So Expensive: A Break Down by Jordan Hefler

Why Photographers are So Expensive: A Break Down | Jordan Hefler

Something I hear a lot of people outside of the creative industry complain about is how “expensive” it is to hire a creative for a service, purchase a product from a creative, etc.

There are a lot of differing opinions on this topic, and rightfully so. ALL of us creatives struggle with pricing and separating the business side of things from our self worth as an artist. However, I wanted to give a little break down from my personal experiences as a photographer on why it can be so expensive for a creative entrepreneur/artist to survive in both the arenas of fine art and client work.

Why Photographers are So Expensive: A Break Down | Jordan Hefler

PHOTOGRAPHY IS A LUXURY.

Whenever someone complains about the pricing of a photographer, I have to remember that these services and products are a luxury. In fact most creative services/products are purely luxury. Nobody NEEDS to have photos of their babies to be taken professionally, nobody NEEDS fancy calligraphy for their chalkboards at their weddings, nobody NEEDS a custom dress for their event, and nobody NEEDS original artwork for their living room wall (but everybody wants those things.)

When you think about the costs of being a photographer in general, it may seem like we charge a lot for no reason. Many people argue that we’re just “pushing a button” or creating imagery from existing things in the world, from the likeness of others, or from event setups that we didn’t set up on our own. I’m not really going to get into that argument here because that infuriates me on a creative level, BUT I’d like to break down the general costs of being a photographer in a practical way to show some perspective:

  • $2,000+ per camera (most photographers have at least 2)

  • $500-$1,500 per lens (most photographers have multiple)

  • $75-$200 per camera bag (most photographers have multiple)

  • $20-$70 per memory card (most photographers have multiple)

  • $1,500-$2,000 for a computer

  • $600 per year for editing software

  • $100+ in camera straps/harnesses

  • $60-$300 per hard drive (most photographers have multiple)

  • $300+ for artificial lighting (not to mention costs of backdrops, studio overhead, etc.)

  • We haven’t even talked about TIME. There are years of education, marketing efforts, and trial and error that go into creating/branding a photographer’s style and skill. A unique vision and perspective is what differentiates all artists from each other- this is definitely something that needs to be monetized even though it is honestly priceless.

  • Throw in the costs of having an LLC, business insurance, miscellaneous fees, property taxes, offsite mailboxes, accounting software or accountants, possible interns/employees/assistants, gas for travel, and overhead costs if you’re not working from home and you’re looking at a lot- and I’m talking about digital photography, not even film!

DID YOU KNOW that vinyl lettering like this for a gallery showing costs at least $200?

DID YOU KNOW that vinyl lettering like this for a gallery showing costs at least $200?

I read an analogy a while back about mainstream products/services vs. creative services- You don’t walk into the Apple store and start bartering with the sales person about how much the iPhone costs… you simply leave if you can’t afford it and come back when you can. You don’t tell the salesperson a sob story for why you should get a discount, or ask to get it for free because you know the guy or think that the iPhone would be a great fit for you! You don’t try to negotiate with your doctor. You don’t try to negotiate with your plumber. Why is it that creatives don’t get treated the same way? People are always so confrontational when creatives’ services don’t fit their budget (which is why so many creatives end up being flexible with one in the first place.)

This past summer I was lucky enough to be able to have a photography exhibition displaying a lot of my music photography. I was approached by a venue that offered me usage of their space in exchange for doing photography work with them in trade. Here’s a list of the breakdown of costs it took to successfully put on this art show:

  • $400 in trade for facility usage (1-3 hours of my time for shooting/editing)

  • $1,000ish for printing costs and buying frames/framing myself

  • $200ish on food and drink for 50+ guests

  • $150ish in wine (donated, thank God)

  • $300ish in beer (donated, thank God)

Image from  First Three, No Flash  exhibition

Image from First Three, No Flash exhibition

Many of the pieces I showed were from situations in which I photographed for very little pay (editorial life isn’t super lucrative y’all) or for personal work, not to mention some were shot under contract in which I was not allowed to sell the images. I sold about $1,000 in merchandise at the exhibition (t-shirts, hats, and small craft items in which I still had to make or pay for upfront at some point) and thankfully for that I was able to almost break even with the costs of printing/framing. Many of the art pieces were priced around $200 and did not sell at the show, and now they are on display in another local business in hopes that some will sell in the future. Obviously if I had sold all of them I would have made a profit, but that’s usually unlikely therefore most times you’re just trying to recoup what you put into having the show in the first place.

Why Photographers are So Expensive: A Break Down | Jordan Hefler

I’m currently planning another art show for a series I started 4 years ago and it’s been even more expensive due to the nature of the pieces being made from a rare film that’s been discontinued. Each box of film is $45 for 10 exposures, which is insane, AND the venue will be taking 25% of the profits from anything sold (somewhat standard when showing in a gallery setting.)

Why Photographers are So Expensive: A Break Down | Jordan Hefler

None of these break downs are meant to be stated in a bragging way, nor to encourage others to feel sorry for artists- we totally chose this career path because we love doing what we do! There are also a few ways you can save money with donations, sponsorships, and grants, but most of those options usually have strings attached.

I’m also not here to teach you how to run a business, because with my art degree you can see in a lot of situations I’m basically breaking even. However, I think it’s needed and practical to explain these break downs in order to give some perspective to those not in the creative industry on why our prices are what they are.

My favorite meme out there

My favorite meme out there

Next time you see an artist’s work in a gallery or want to hire them for any sort of custom service be it photography, painting, calligraphy, logo design, whatever- remember that there’s way more going on in the background than what you may see on Instagram or on the price tag!

AND on that note- come to my show on December 20th! Even if you can’t buy anything, just coming out to support is appreciated more than you’ll ever know!

Click the image to RSVP on Facebook!

Click the image to RSVP on Facebook!

Why Photographers are So Expensive: A Break Down | Jordan Hefler

Photos of my exhibitions by my good friend and fellow photog, Eric Garcia!