Four Shrubberies © Michael Teresko

Michael Teresko was a 2021 Rfotofolio Selection.

I am always drawn to impressive photographic compositions. These images, all about the man-altered landscape, harken back to the style of the New Topographics photographers of the 1970’s. These clean, graphic, and well-composed images I find very appealing. I also appreciate the restrained color palette. These images make an impressive visual statement about the footprint we choose to leave on our immediate surroundings. Once again, I’m drawn to the tension of what appears oddly beautiful in its soft colors and clean compositions and the underlying message. Diana Bloomfield

Would you please tell us about yourself?

I’ve been photographing and doing darkroom work since my teens, although I did little work for many years, in part due to my addiction issues. Since getting sober 11 years ago I’ve been able to refocus on my photographic work.

Where did you get your photographic training?

I am largely self-taught, though I’ve taken a few classes when I want to focus on a particular skill or technique.

Who has had an influence on your creative process?

Some of the photographers that I admire the most are Lee Friedlander, William Eggleston, Lewis Baltz, Henry Wessel, Walker Evans, Ralph Gibson, Paul Outerbridge.

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

Lee Friedlander’s, Father Duffy, Times Square, remains one of my favorites. I love how it flattens the urban visual chaos into something whole.

What image of yours would you say taught you an important lesson.

Many years ago I took a photo of a building and some small structures on Mt. Hamilton that was one of the first images of mine where the composition just clicked for me. It taught me to trust my sense of composition, as opposed to relying on the commonly accepted rules of composition.

West Oakland © Michael Teresko
Marysville © Michael Teresko

Please tell us about the work you submitted to the Rfotofolio Call.

I’ve predominately shot black and white over the years, but when I started shooting digitally, color images became much more common for me. I found that I responded most to photographs that had a special palette, rather than those that were perhaps the most accurate renditions. When I returned to shooting film using a hybrid workflow, I found that color film very much lent itself to this approach. The images I submitted were part of my attempt to refine my color palette in the context of my usual subject matter.

What part of image-making do you find the most rewarding?

I find rewards in every step in the process, from the search for raw image material, to the processing of film and image files, to printing a physical photograph, and finally sharing the photos either virtually or actually hanging on a wall.

How do you work through times when nothing seems to work?

Sometimes I just step away from photography for a little while, but I’ve done this long enough to know that if I just continue shooting, I will find something that interests me.

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

A camera, whether a plastic lens Holga or a 4×5 view or something in between. I prefer to shoot film, but I will use digital cameras occasionally. And while I have done much darkroom printing in the past, I currently use a hybrid workflow requiring a computer.

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

Publish a book.

Uneven Fence © Michael Teresko

How does your art affect the way you see the world?

To paraphrase Garry Winogrand, I am always looking about and picturing how things will look when photographed.

How has the pandemic influenced your work methods? Or has it?

It has not had a large effect. I like to shoot alone as I generally don’t shoot people, and my process can involve much stumbling about trying to find places and things that have a certain feel and energy about them.

To learn more about the work of Michael Teresko please visit his site by clicking on his name.


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