We came across Maury’s work in one of those endless internet sessions where you promise yourself ‘I’ll only click one more link, honest!’ in the hope of finding something exceptional. We did.
Maury is a young photographer who lives and works in Atlanta, GA. His work uses snapshot photography in one instance and heavily staged image making in another, sometimes the lines between both becoming blurred to create a body of work which fits together in a beautiful way.
All images are from the All-Time Lotion series.
When and how did you start your career as a photographer?
I started making what I would call ‘serious’ pictures as a young adult. And by serious I mean that I was considering the pictures as meaningful personal expressions that referred to the images and ideas of others, even though some of my images might appear to be haphazard, whimsical, slapdash, etc. There can be a delightful disconnect between the appearance and subject matter of an image with the overall mood or content that is suggested by the image.
Many of the images that most strongly stir my interest are those that play with this duality. I don’t speak Latin but I’ve always liked the phrase ars est celare artem. The profound can be suggested in the seemingly ordinary. Is it pretentious to reference a Latin phrase? Absolutely – but as I often see emblazoned on cars in Atlanta, I “Ain’t Skeered.”
Your work often features as series, is there a specific image or scene which prompts the beginning of one?
Most of the connections and associations between images arise in the editing process. It’s difficult to know anything about a photograph immediately after the fact. Sure, I can take a photograph of . . . say a beachball on a leopard-print ottoman and I know what that subject looks like as a photograph. At the same time, I’m still invested in the experience of being physically before the subject, considering the space, the composition, the light and so forth.
Much time needs to pass, and more importantly life ‘needs to happen’ for months or years, before I can begin to consider the image as a viewer might do. Then the image can take on new meanings and suggest things that were not relevant at the moment of image capture. And that’s when images start to speak to each other, which is one of the more exciting components of photography.
In talking about editing his series The New Scent, Jason Evans describes literally sleeping with his prints under the bed for two years. That’s also a great metaphor for the creative process – pushing the work just far enough away that you have some distance from the experience of making the pictures, but despite that the work is always floating around your subconscious, awaiting your return.
Your approach is one of snapshot, staged and highly de-contextualised imagery yet they somehow manage to behave as a unit…
I’m pleased that you think so. It’s a combination of both the planning and the editing processes, and ultimately my aim is for the various photographic approaches to to inform each other in some way. Each project ultimately feels very distinctive and separate to me; I’m thinking about certain ideas and the ways in which to communicate those ideas visually, and often that approach entails a particular aesthetic.
What’s next for Maury Gortemiller?
I’m working on new project of both random and staged still life images. No, let’s call it an organic and curated collection of objects. That sounds better. Also, I’m working on producing a book of the All-Time Lotion images, about which I’m very excited. Finally, I’m constantly in search of creating the perfect Saturday afternoon. Current ingredients: fish tacos, strong margaritas and a dash of Zeppelin. Please send me any suggestions!
Buy some of Maury’s work at Fallinpress
If you’re in Austin, TX go and see his work at SRO Gallery until end of September (press release date is incorrect)