James Graves: Marking Questions
James Graves is a photographic seer, using the visual language to traverse the places between his interior and exterior worlds. Images are split second memories and metaphors, awash with gesture, and stripped down into black and white simplicity. James is a quiet man in the best possible way–an observer and thinker, allowing his camera to reveal much about him. For much of his life he was a librarian–the idea of quiet and a deep understanding of the world is reflected in his sensibilities. Also, as he states: I was raised in the Roman Catholic church, and I carry a consequent kit of doubt, dread and wonder, along with an insatiable need to ask questions.
James was born in Hanover, Pennsylvania and moved to Florida in his early teens. He received a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Library and Information Studies from the University of South Florida, Tampa and has remained in the Tampa Bay area, currently living in Plant City.
James was recently published in The Tampa Review, issue 45/46, published by the University of Tampa Press. He also has an upcoming solo show at the Bruton Memorial Library, Plant City, Florida, for the month of November, 2013. His award winning work has been exhibited in numerous group and two-person shows.
I’ve never liked putting into words that which I work so hard to create with the visual language of photography.
My project, Marking Questions, documents the world around me as I attempt to make images which speak, much like poetry, on both the conscious and sub-conscious levels. I have a slowed down approach to making photographs, using film and medium format cameras, that leads to more deliberate, contemplative, yet intuitive narratives.
I find life to be mysterious and disorderly. We cannot depend upon our senses to tell us what is true, and our intellect is constantly proposing new ideas of order. The unkempt spaces of unmarked time and quiet wanderings are contemplative markers not only for my memories but for the simplicity of being human in a complex world. The blurred figures which inhabit some of my images reflect the difficulty of grasping a true question and allow for meanings that are not my own to be layered into the work. This project is not only Marking Questions, but it is marking what I recognize or don’t recognize in the world around me.
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