Photographic Journal Interview
Interview No. 12 – Traci Matlock, speaking with Lou Noble
I REMEMBER WHEN I FIRST SAW YOUR WORK, I WAS – AND STILL AM – STRUCK BY HOW WELL YOU CAPTURE THAT INTERNAL QUALITY. I GET THE FEELING THAT YOU’VE MOVED AWAY FROM CAPTURING IT IN A CONCRETE OR SIMPLE WAY, AND ARE AFTER A MORE ABSTRACT EXPRESSION OF THE SAME THEMES…
I sincerely appreciate that. But, as you know, no matter how successful the photo, its success is necessarily short–lived. They move on, change, and fluctuate in emotion — and the challenge starts again.
I think I became more interested in a less concrete, narrative–heavy image when I sat amongst three giant boxes of my work and flipped through the contact sheets. I was so overwhelmed at having so much work available to share — and often with one image looking far too similar to the image next to it. I began to feel that I was amassing images as a collector, with no desire other than to achieve quantity and, very slowly, quality.
Also, the total transition out of shooting with a digital camera helped. It costs too much to shoot the same photo, with minor changes, five times in a row. Likewise, I started shooting multiple exposures to save money and, simultaneously, to begin breaking some barriers of portraiture that I’d accidentally built for myself along the way. I stumbled onto creating a few visually stunning and utterly surprising images, but it happened so rarely that I gave it up. A year or two later, I became interested in a more disciplined exploration of the multiple exposure, less out of thrill and more for the lack of expectations that it implicitly carries.
But, you’re right. Even now when I make a simple but beautiful image, there’s a pretty low chance I’ll share it anywhere. Instead, I send it to whomever is the subject; if they post it, I feel quite proud but without that twinge of guilt that it’s not more, let’s say, challenging.