Interview: Steven Brahms
A troubling energy pervades Steven Brahms‘s photographs. The world through his eyes is toxic yet exciting, coy and irreverent. It’s a desolate landscape dotted with slapdash abodes far off the grid, half-buried bodies in dread-filled trash heaps, naked hippies in nature, and men running with the intensity usually reserved for post-apocalyptic self-preservation. Image by image, Brahms slowly scratches away at the poisonous detritus of modern life to reveal the wonderment and humor buried beneath. He has done us the heavy of responding to a handful of prodding and open-ended questions:
Are the men in your photographs running towards something or away from something?
I ask them to run for their lives! So, I guess it depends on what each guy is thinking when he is running. The long haired asian guys running is a series I have been working on a lot lately. My project/question is: What makes a man run?
Scientists use constants and variables when investing questions. I decided that my constants would be: Asian guys with long hair, motivation (“Run for your life!!!”), and capture (the camera and lighting I use). Therefore the variables would be gesture and environment, resulting in an artifact of experience both personal and shared.
What does the Gulf oil spill mean to you?
I hope BP is destroyed because of this.
Describe the happiest person living off the grid that you’ve met.
I met a guy who at one point in his life was a astro-physicist for NASA. Now he grows/sells (mostly shitaki) mushrooms out of trailer on a commune in Tennessee. He drinks kombucha and tinkers with solar power. He seemed really happy.
What’s your favorite scene in an action film?
I’m really into action scenes where the matchup is lopsided: dude on horse vs. helicopter gunship.
Why New York?
In New York, you notice a pile of sticks as out of place. My work is about this state of mind.
The photographs are physical accounts of interior journeys, remnants of future moments that trigger and transform our collective unconscious. The images I make are catalysts for transformation, experiments, happenings and perceived demonstrations that not only reveal gesture, environment, and experience, but also memory and innate understanding.