Wavepool – First thing’s first, I’m really curious about the organization of your website. I’m mostly wondering how you typically work. Do you concentrate on singular images or a sequenced body of work as a whole?
Jackie Furtado – The way in which my website is organized is not project based. I concentrate on making singular images in my practice, and once more images surface they dictate a sequence. However, these sequences are not permanent, and change depending on the output… website, portfolios, exhibition…
Wavepool – Broadly speaking, what things do you look for in a single image?
Jackie Furtado – Fluidity, curiosity (in object and/or use of the tool), and anonymity come to mind. My aesthetic has been greatly influenced by my experience working closely with commercial photography, the medium of photography itself, and my own emotional maturity as it ebbs and flows. Before moving to Brooklyn in 2015, I use to be a production manager at an architectural photography firm in Chicago. There I worked strictly with images that were structurally sound and followed the guise of depicting the architect’s/designer’s original intent for built spaces. Photography has a remarkable way of expressing architecture, as the physical form of a building guides a photographer’s frame into composition. While I have been strongly inspired to consider balance in my images, the way I work is intended to not be the best – true – representation of what I photograph. In 2012, I met artist Aspen Mays, who has had a lasting influence on the way in which I consider image making. Much of her own practice pushes photography into a space that uses the camera and its traditional properties as the tool to create works physically. This introduction of thinking supported my lack of project based making, and encourages creating singular images that all explored photography in their own venture/sensibilities.
Wavepool – What forces bring individual images together when you’re editing?
Jackie Furtado – ~ forces ~ I’m happy you used that word. For my individual images, sequences are formed when moods resonate likeness. Rather than each image fostering a narrative, descriptive of a cast of people, environments, or agendas – these images all point to a darkness and lightness. Sequence comes out of necessity for balance. I’m interested in photography being spoken about as ethereal and visceral – not used to promote factual findings. Photography is a medium not for the truths, the device and user is always biased. The singular image challenges the expected approach and purpose of photography. Especially when taking an image is no longer understood or seen as a sacrifice – both in medium and in moment. We can now upgrade our devices and memory cards to further an allowance. I do not work in this way. Each image is methodic, meditative, demanding… pairing the making of an image with large format photography, I’ve found rhythm. I like that the camera demands manual labor and consideration. I also like that the camera is as big as my head.
In recent accounts, I’ve started dissecting and reconsidering the idea of the single image. In the piece Devoted Seas, Sands, the true dimension is 4×40 feet. However, the image is only made available through the single exhibition of eight panels. Together the photograph forms a portrait of a brother, but as their own panels exists separated, the form becomes redefined through textural scapes. We start to see and feel the water and land.
Wavepool – Seeing that it’s a bit of a departure from your other work, how did that installation idea come about?
Jackie Furtado – Considering my influences, this installation echoes a similar gesture as You Are the Weather by Roni Horn. It also seems to be a direct evolution of a publication I put out last year, titled stand still so i can look at your closely. The book is a small edition, large format publication that was supported by The Chicago Perch and the Puffin Foundation. The book contains a collection of works that meditate on personal history and the weight of photographs understood over my time living in Chicago from 2010-2015. I began to understand the images as stand-ins for one another. Although the images varied through their controlled framework, they all lead me to a singular place of mind; a common feeling. Taking this way of understanding photographs,- all is one -, I began to work in this idea in a literal approach. I began reworking images with content that was more prized and closest to me. The figure that is formed through the eight panels is of my half brother, Andrew. He continues to exist as a character throughout my work. It is not my intent to characterize him through my images, but to allow his presence to be anonymous and limitless. By physically stretching (digitally speaking) his face created a pulse/current that ran through the forms that were extended and yet necessary to construct his face. It became a recognition on the experience of photography, and how it is we place ourselves within photographs. We resonate with our personal yet adaptable truths through visual nuances in photographs. When the figure dismantles and is reconstructed through the stretch, it begins to resemblance nature, both land and water.
Wavepool – Do you think that all is one mentality exists in other mediums as strongly as you see it in photography?
Jackie Furtado – Of course. All is one. We all can experience and understand the value of one – however we choose to define and shape it. It seems in other mediums, evolution of ideas or technique is sometimes what allows separation. In my case, this phrase has stood and announce itself through my photographic experience. This returns me to your first prompt – I don’t typically work in separate projects. I’ve allowed myself the freedom to create images as they come. I do find this particular way of making difficult to define in language. And now, four years out of art school – I see the value of projects. I even see myself working towards projects based out of the concept of all is one. To not only further understand my beliefs in the tradition and processes of photography, but as a way to also consider my interests outside of art that undoubtedly influence my being, spiritually, and nonetheless my practice.
Wavepool – Why do you think that way of working, creating images as they come, seems difficult to define? Do you feel it needs to be defined?
Jackie Furtado – I’m responsible for making it difficult, and I take full accountability for that. The process has maintained consistency. I on the other hand, have not. My ideas, passions, lovers, kinships, home-base changes with the weather. It’s a powerful sentiment knowing that each image is also a representation of who I was in the exact moment in which I sought to photograph. Each image is aged the minute it is created. The distance from the initial impulse requires much reflection in the production of the work. The pleasures I find in the images are undoubtedly surface. Those surfaces encourages a type of way, and translate to statements of individual truths. Although this work has been an ongoing mode of making, it is revealing to be a translation of meditative footwork and investigations of rituals.
To see more, please visit Jackie’s website.