by T. Kaida
I inherited the storytelling gene from my Russian father. Photography is a learned skill, acquired through hard work and good teachers. I have always liked pictures that suggest something more then what is pictured. I like stories that undermine one’s assumptions. Tremors From The Faultline, the book, grew out of a series of black and white staged photographs, which suggested a story behind the image. I started photographing like a movie director. Making up images rather then finding them. The constructed images were more or less open ended and open to a variety of readings but unlike most visual artists, I was not content to leave the final interpretation up to the viewer. I wanted to direct his/her train of thought. I was interested in how words affected images, enhanced or even contradicted the image. It was important that the final meaning should take place in the viewer’s mind, as he reached the intersection of visual and textual concepts. Gradually, I started writing short enigmatic tales to accompany the photographs. In the beginning, the content of the texts was generated by the photographs. After a while the written tale guided the accompanying image. The structure was simple and direct; image on one page, story on the other, leading to an obvious book layout. Another motivation for combining words and pictures was to slow the viewer down. As an exhibiting artist, I was frustrated by the way most people looked at photographs on exhibition. Too quickly. Swallowing images whole. Reading takes longer then glancing. It requires more time and consideration. Thus, words became part of my strategy to engage the viewer longer. Joan Didion’s opening sentence, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” from The White Album inspired the tone and thrust of the stories. The content of the twenty- six fictional stories focused on life, love, divorce, death and desire in contemporary postmodern America. Susan Cohen wrote an after word to the book and Joan Lyons, the director of VSW Press, designed and printed the final product. It was a collaborative project. Tremors From The Faultline remains my most portable and satisfying body of work.
Tremors from the Faultline
themes: "life, love, divorce, death and desire in postmodern America." [T. Kaida]
community: other Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY [T. Shaw]