Little Face © Brenton Hamilton

Brenton Hamilton’s  work was selected as an Outstanding Body of Work in the2019 Denis Roussel Award by juror Jesseca Ferguson. We are pleased to feature his work here on Rfotofolio.

“This photographer’s imaginative and eclectic approach to handmade photography operates at a very high level. His devotion to teaching handmade processes is legendary.” Jesseca Ferguson

Would you please tell us a little about yourself?

I am a Maine based photographer and educator at Maine Media Workshops. I’ve used historic methods in my work for 30 years and teach these ideas and concepts all year long !!

Where did you get your photographic training?

Savannah College of Art & Design.

Why do you create? 

What a rewarding feeling to make something that is interesting and maybe engages others. The challenges too: technical and aesthetic – those propel me and make me work hard.

Who has had an influence on your creative process? 

I had strong mentors in school – But also the community of photographs at Maine Media are varied and many. I get a lot from teaching too – the students that I work with day-to-day all year are always showing me new ways to think.

Please tell us about an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time. 

William Talbot made an image of a fragment of cloth – it’s so modern looking for 1834, A Pattern of Lace, 1834. It is possible he cut the image with scissors himself. It’s abstract and unusual looking. Pure experiment and direct mounted onto a blackened paper. That picture has always stayed with me and influenced me. It is one of Talbot’s earliest works.

What makes a good day for you creatively speaking? 

I work early in the day and the environment of the lab lifts me. The tools, the materials and their potential. I just enjoy being around that “stuff” of photography. Salts, silver, paper. I work with those elements and see what I can see.

Three Graces © Brenton Hamilton
The Split © Brenton Hamilton

Please tell us about the work you submitted to the Denis Roussel Award. 

I see myself as a storyteller – making fictions and “yarns” – spinning tales that are derived from many sources. The history of culture, art and early medicine and science. I’ve collected engravings and fragments of pictures and cut them with scissors reassembling them to tell another story. The influence of Surrealism and its reliance on the subconscious, dreams and dream states are possibilities that fascinate me and sustains my curiosity and picture making. I’ve set out to assert myself with these hand made pictures and imply a new history of possibilities and suggest a story that exists in the “in between” of dreamt and remembered.

If you could spend a day with any other photographer or artist living or passed who would it be?

The early practitioners fascinate me. That photography was invented at all is a wonder. So figures like: Nicephore Niepce, Talbot and Daguerre – Wedgewood and Davies are real hero’s.

How important is the photographic community to you?

Centrally important – in the sharing of ideas, knowledge and energy.

What equipment have you found essential in the making of your work?

I’ve built a small ‘dim room’ in my home. It’s a real studio and it has been so freeing. So a dedicated space has been a real tool – and fueled my work.

Is there something in photography that you would  like to try in the future? 

The daguerreotype – and I’m working on that right now !!

Whats on the horizon?

I have a monograph of my 25 years of work soon to be released by Schilt Publishers in Amsterdam during the Spring of 2020 with an essay by Lyle Rexer.

It’s from 1992 – a collage of kodalith films, a real map. The kodalith is printed with one of my landscape photographs. It was a pivotal moment that image – combining media, moving away from the conventional gelatin silver print to other possibilities.

To learn more about the work of Brenton Hamilton please click on his name.

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