CHRISTIAN PEARSON - PHOTOGRAPHER

Q&A with Christian Pearson, Industrial Graffiti, Edmund Pearce, 4 June - 28 June, 2014. Words - J Forsyth

Photos - Courtesy of Christian Pearson

Christian Pearson is the type of professional you want to know.  Hard working, successful, creative, generous with his time and knowledge.  I first came across Christian when I started out professionally, I have a crush on construction and industry and was inthralled by a commercial practice based around my great loves.

I hit Christian up for advice and he couldn't have been more helpful, which in the arts is not always the case.  People say "you will never make any money"  "its dog eat dog" and all other kinds of crap, but what I learned from Christian is to work hard, be professional and friendly.

1480_Misheye.004

Christian is currently exhibiting Industrial Graffiti at Edmund Pearce until 28 June, 2014. We reviewed Art of the Underground in 2012 and thought this time, instead of reviewing Christians show, we would find out a little bit more about the man himself.

Please state your name and occupation for the (Melbourne arts club) record.

My Name is Christian Pearson – Professional photographer

Do you solemnly swear on nothing to answer a few questions?

Yep

Cut off

J Forsyth: When did you start taking photos?

Christian Pearson: My Dad came home from an overseas trip with a camera for me as a present when I was in year 7. Back in the old days (1986) not many kids had their own camera and I remember taking it on school camp and loving it.

JF: How long have you been working as a professional photographer for?

CP: I finished at PSC in 2001 but started my business Misheye in 2000.

JF: How did you end up in Industrial Photography?

CP: A little by accident. Through my previous career as an industrial chemist I came into professional photography with contacts in the Science / government sector. This lead to government contacts on long term projects that eventually lead to my professional practice being regularly approached to document infrastructure projects.

Glue that binds

JF: You exhibit regularly; do you find it difficult to find a balance between art/commercial life?

CP: YES! It is always difficult. I shoot commercially in order to give me opportunities to create art. The busier I get commercially the harder it is to make art. Though if I am not making art my commercial work suffers creatively. It really is a catch 22. They serve each other but the balance is a constantly shifting one that I have to be aware of.

JF: Where the shots for Industrial Graffiti taken while on commercial assignment?

CP: Yes. Whilst on assignment I am always trying to see a project from a different angle. This is in part due to my sensibilities as an artist and I see an industrial site as more than just a means to an end. I am attracted to the idea of seeing beauty that has no intent behind it. An industrial site in progress is the perfect place for me in that regard. I also like to show my clients their site as something more than engineering.

JF: How different is shooting commercially and shooting for art to you?  Is the process different or is it all art?

CP:It is very different. I think given I have shot commercially for many years I have a default way of doing things. Boxes to tick if you like to make sure I capture a complete picture whilst on site. This enables my client to have an overall snapshot of everything on site. This includes people, details, clean compositions, shots that simply record and of course hero shots. My art is far more considered and thoughtful. I believe my artwork is directly informed by the location but I also have to be in the right mindset to see these potential images. For industrial graffiti it wasn’t until I had come up with the concept after shooting many similar type images that the images you see exhibited came to the surface. I question that without the concept if I would have seen the images I have captured.

Imperfection

JF: Digital v film?

CP: I did all my learning on film and am self taught digital. I love film and dark rooms and the magic of photography that I believe has diminished because of digital. I however remember very well the trepidation of heading to the lab to pick up my images post shoot and hoping beyond hope that they had simply worked. Commercially digital is great for seeing how a shoot is progressing however the expectations of a client have gone through the roof and I believe the value of an image by said client has gone down as a result of digital.

JF: Do you have a favourite photographer/artist?

CP: I have a number of favourites – Anselm Kiefer, Rosalie Gascoigne, Fred Williams, Edward Burtynsky. I like structure, shape, colour and texture.

JF: Do you have any great influences you would like to share? Person, place, animal, mineral

CP: Nature inspires me. I love its chaos, randomness and seemingly insignificant details. I love heading out into the middle of nowhere and finding the tiniest of animals eeking out a living oblivious the rest of the worlds existence.

The drill is kept cool

JF: In your art practice is process as important and the final product?

CP: I think the hardest part of being an artist is the process. Making work is fun, but creating a final product that sits just right can be a painful and at times torturous process. Without the process my work would be flimsy, I couldn’t look at the work if I hadn’t thought very deeply about what I thought it represented and how it would fit within the context of a body of work.

JF: Do you like dogs?

CP: I love dogs they are the best

JF: Cats?

CP: I like big cats

JF: Have you considered doing a series on dogs/cats or farm animals?

CP: Well I have in a way! I Spent 2 weeks in the jungles of India photographing wild tigers (like I said big cats) and had a very successful exhibition in Melbourne and London as a result.

JF: If you were a camera, looking for a camera wife, what make and model would turn you on?

CP: It would have to be a Mamiya C220 Twin lens reflex. Old school, quirky, original design, a mechanical machine that works cleanly every time though feels clunky. It also requires no batteries though has boundless energy!

JF:Anything you would like to add?

CP: Thanks to you!

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