Roger Camp–Interview

I think most artists would agree that the world is your creative space. Most of what takes place creatively happens in an artist’s head and can occur anywhere at any time: walking in the street, day dreaming, attending a concert, having a conversation. The list is endless. If you are speaking about a work space, in the past that would have been a darkroom. Currently it is at home in my office which has a floor to ceiling window and looks out upon a garden.

In the past I used film, including black and white, color negative and color positive film. My longest experience was with Kodachrome 25 film (no longer made) and making color prints called Cibachromes (aka Ilfochromes). I now use a digital camera and make digital prints using Adobe Photoshop.

I don’t have a fixed routine except to work daily.

I’ve been making art for over fifty years. I date my first serious photograph from age ten when I climbed up into a fir tree in order to take Yosemite Falls from a different perspective. When I was sixteen I taught myself how to print in a make-shift darkroom I set up in my father’s woodshop. There is something magical about seeing an image come up in the developing tray that never gets old.

I have never consciously thought about an audience. I believe that would have a devastating effect on an artist’s work and it is what separates commercial artists from fine artists. You make art for yourself. I have hundreds if not thousands of photographs which have never been seen that mean as much to me as those I’ve shared, exhibited or published.

Inspiration comes from being alive but only if you are paying attention. It could be a love affair that ends badly. Or a terrific novel you are reading. An overheard remark in a cafe. A dramatic stage setting by a gifted set designer. If you are “blocked” you wait, just like a farmer allows her/his land to be fallow before sowing.

I spend a great deal of my time traveling, reading, gardening, writing poetry and as much time as I can in conversation with people who are more knowledgeable than myself in a variety of subjects.

Seeing the photograph in my head the millisecond before pressing the shutter.

Spend as much time as possible in your own company. Expose yourself as much as possible to nature without the trappings of media. Visit as many museums as possible and examine the art that has gone before you, not your contemporaries.

Check out Roger’s work in Volume 3, Issue 2.


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