April 2015

Featured Artist

Faulkner Short

Prêt constamment avec appareil photo

Ten Years With Faulkner Short

You might be inclined to refer to Faulkner as a street photographer, but this just proves that, yet again, we need better terms. Ultimately, he’s an individual, and sure, maybe somewhere high up in the taxonomy he’s a street photographer, but there has to be a new classification, somewhere between the two, which more accurately describes what he’s doing, and why. How about a translation of “Constantly Ready With Camera”, preferably in French?

It’s just about today that I’ve known Faulkner for ten years. More or less to the day, which we can mark because he sat through a job interview with me, and we’ve worked together ever since. As my colleague for a decade, he’s had a notable impact on my photography, as well as that of many others. And always so quietly, so politely, almost clandestinely. Faulkner just does what he does, with a minimum of fuss. This technique, I think, comes through in his images, in his re-presented vision of the world.

As mentioned, he achieves all this by never letting up. There’s always a camera in his hand, and sometimes more than one. You can see them all here: 35mm cameras, roll film cameras, sheet film cameras, spy cameras, instant cameras, pinhole cameras, digital cameras – all of them, all of the time, non-stop. Color, Black and White, sometimes somewhere in between – no medium defies him, all of them are as happy with him as he is comfortable with them.

And this diversity is important to me, and not just for its own sake. It’s great that he can use whatever equipment is at hand and that he constantly experiments, and that he has no constraints other than what’s in front of him. What’s more vital about this work is that any of it – all of it- looks like Faulkner made it. It’s about vision and voice, and the creation of an actual, credible, unified body of work. I can always spot a Faulkner print from across the room.

You can see influences, sure, and every once in a while, somewhere around town, you may see imitators, or other artists in similar schools, but nobody else hits it just like Faulkner hits it.

Faulkner goes through a lot of film, but not at the same time, not multi-burst, motor drive style. He’s not a sprayer, or a machine-gunner; he’s much more precise – one shot, maybe two, will do it. Or not. If not, then we just don’t get to see it. The sum or his ongoing experience and discipline is reflex. He’s always ready, and he’s always looking.

When the young guns come around and they want to know how to shoot like Faulkner, I make the obvious point – just never put down your camera. And right there, just a couple of seconds ago, I demonstrated it to myself. My girlfriend arrived during the last paragraph and I paused to say hello – my dog was busy molesting her (the traditional greeting) and in the melee I saw, just for an instant, a perfect photo. Of course I had no camera on me. Faulkner would have.

I hope you like my meager selection – there’s no way to cull down the tens of thousands of images without making up a set of encyclopedias, but here’s my attempt. For the sake of this digital exhibition, I’ve concentrated on his portraits – you’ll notice that there’s a person in all of them, except where’s there’s not, at which point there still is, only more vaguely, like what the story looks like while you’re busy turning the page.

Thanks, Faulkner, for ten years of helping us turn the pages. We’re all anxious for more.

Jake Shivery

Visit Faulkner’s Flickr Site