Henry Amistadi: As We Know It
This week I have hand picked five emerging artists, all young, and all either in an undergraduate program or freshly out of school. Being a young artist and photographer myself, I am interested in providing exposure to many of my peers. These five artists display a high level of dedication, talent, and certainty in their practice. I am inspired by what they have to say with their work, and envious of the side projects they are apart of. Each post includes a small yet insightful interview about their life, art, and philosophies.
Today I am happy to introduce my friend Henry Amistadi. His body of work, As We Know It, is a thoughtful celebration of the here and now. After experiencing a loss, Henry did what most like photographers would do—turn to his camera. Though, instead of fixating on the intangible ideas of death, he decided to continue exploring what life presented.
Henry Amistadi is a freelance photographer based out of Western Massachusetts. He earned his BFA in Visual Design/Photography from University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Henry has worked as a documentarian for public and private institutions, and a portrait and event photographer for commercial clients. His is the creator and writer for The Future is Now.
In his personal work, Henry has primarily focused on documentary photography, approaching environmental and socially relevant subjects with a fine art background. Currently his work has shifted its focus inward to document his personal experience at the edge of adolescence and adulthood.
As We Know It
“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over… Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center”
In the Fall of 2012 a close friend died unexpectedly. In the wake of death we are reminded of the fragile and uncertain nature of life. Photographs become a reminder of what is no longer there. They become our history describing the past and helping us to cope with the present. I began photographing those important to me to immortalize them, to slice moments from time and preserve them. Gradually, making these photographs is how I came to understand the present.
As We Know It is an autobiographical exploration of life at the edge of adolescence and adulthood. As a series it blends documentary aspects of my life- real characters, settings and scenes, with my own fictionalized narrative investigating the edge, boundaries, centers and outliers as literal and metaphorical concepts.
The psychological experience at this crucial point of our lives is one filled with possibility and uncertainty. This is magnified by the condition of the current generation. Without traditional foundations of understanding to fall back on we are simultaneously faced with an infinite and inspiring range of choices, and terrifying doubts. By embracing these parallel conditions we walk a new and exciting path, riding the lines between dichotomies of society and nature, day and night, sober calm and ecstatic excess. We flirt with these tangible and intangible edges, not seeking to define them so much as to bear witness.
GG: At this moment in life, what are you thinking about most?
HA: At this moment I am preoccupied with trying to find purpose and meaning in my life through artistic/creative endeavors while maintaining a day job, and regular life responsibilities. I think a lot about the future and the past, where I have come from, where I thought I might go, and where I may end up. Attempting to grow myself and my work into the world around me so that it is sustainable and progressing. All in all, trying to reconcile my own ideals and wants with the demands of the world outside my head.
GG: How has your art progressed since since you graduated school?
HA: Since I graduated my artwork progresses completely at my own rate. So it varies due to outside influences like work, relationships, etc. I have to rely more and more on myself to drive myself, critique myself and better myself without deadlines, classes or professors. On the other hand since I am, at this point, making artwork for myself I have more control and possibility than ever before. The prospects are both terrifying and incredibly exciting.
GG: What are you looking for?
HA: What am I looking for… What is anyone looking for? Happiness? Love? Understanding?
GG: What is the strangest thing that has brought your inspiration?
HA: The strangest thing to bring me inspiration is probably death. It may be morose, or even cliche, but death is the ultimate end, and everything leads up to it. Life is a race against the clock, and time is the only thing we can never obtain more of. Death inspires me to live, to create, not necessarily through fear of death, but acceptance that things will end and time is limited and precious. I suppose the knowledge of death inspires me to experience life and try to document or represent that through creative endeavors.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
Denis Defibaugh: North by Nuuk, Greenland after KentJuly 15th, 2019
John Sanderson: Carbon CountyJune 24th, 2019
Ira Wagner: Twinhouses of The Great NortheastJune 21st, 2019
Emily Matyas: SOL Y TIERRA / SUN AND EARTHMay 27th, 2019