Jason Koxvold – Photographer, U.S.A.
“Everything and nothing”
LS: Could you tell us something about your background and how you started with photography?
JK: My Norwegian grandfather was an artist, and he took me under his wing from an early age, but I’m awful with a pencil, beyond sketching ideas. When My Italian grandfather died I inherited his old Nikkormat, and found that photography was a medium I could understand more readily.
Later, I studied photography at school, spending long nights in the darkrooms. But it wasn’t until I started working with large format cameras that I began to explore cultural significance and the human relationship to our environment that is at the core of my work today.
These days, when I’m working on the road, I’ve started experimenting with drawing my photographs. At the end of a day, I’ll pull out a Field Notes book and try to draw every frame I shot that day, as accurately as I can. It’s quite surprising how accurate they can be.
LS: Do you do any particular research on the territory while working on the project?
JK: Yes; I conduct most of my research in Google Earth, to gain an understanding of the terrain, and by following current affairs in order to get a sense of the geopolitical landscape. Once I have a firm plan, it often goes straight out the window – usually constituting only the first 10% of the work. The rest is discovered in between those places and stories.
LS: What’s the piece of work that best represents your research and in which you see yourself in, the most?
JK: Landfill project is probably the most representative of the greater body. While there are unifying themes across all the work, Landfill is the piece that represents the longest relationship with a specific place. It’s a complicated set of photographs that encapsulates use and reuse, birth, death and rebirth, beauty and not beauty, that will continue for years to come.
LS: Could you tell us something about the importance of postmodern traces in your photographs?
JK: A long time ago I studied Sociology and Anthropology at university, and I think that still comes through quite clearly in my work. I try to strip away a sense of morality or objectivity, trying instead to portray the complicated fabric of our existence with a visual simplicity, examining the scales at which we relate to our environments.
LS: What equipment do you use?
JK: I use a Toyo 45aii which Schneider and Nikkor glass, and Kodak negative film.
LS: Every year billions of photographs are taken worldwide. What should we do
with all these images?
JK: Tag them with locations, dates, times, temperatures, what happened that day, what song you were listening to, and stitch them all together into a massive multidimensional canvas that anyone can explore.
Interview by Gianpaolo Arena