I recently sat down with writer Shannon Gallagher to talk about art. She asked me questions about my aesthetic, my artistic process, and the things that inspire me. It really got me thinking. The following is an excerpt of the interview, which I will be posting in installments.
Darryll Schiff's Innovative Approach
As the product of an upbringing surrounded by art, Darryll Schiff always found himself experimenting with painting, drawing, and other art forms in his youth. He found his niche, however, when he discovered photography. “At the time I found the camera, it was just the right fit, something I needed. I consider myself an artist who uses a camera as a tool.” Schiff’s dreamlike, hypnotic photographs play on repetition, light, shadow, perception, and color to inspire questions about life, vision, memory, and his medium of choice. “The images I create show artists don’t have to be restricted by the boundaries of traditional photography” he added.
Schiff freely experiments with various cameras, depending on the situation, but typically enjoys working with his Nikon D300. “It’s a little older, certainly than what is available on the market now, but it’s better for what I’m doing than cameras with bigger megapixel files and sharper sensors. I pre-visualize what I want the image to be before I look through the lens. Therefore the final picture will not necessarily be a straight, technically precise photographic image. I play with different exposures and I am creating layers with the camera, as opposed to manipulating the images on the computer.” He also uses a Nikon P6000, which is a slightly older model of their professional “point and shoot” camera. Schiff says, “It’s a good thing to have on hand. I started using it to shoot pictures, almost like a painter would make sketches. However, I’ve found a way to use the camera to explore a whole new area of image making.”
One thing he no longer experiments with is film. Schiff has been using strictly digital cameras for a number of years. “I’m not nostalgic about the darkroom or silver prints. Digital image making has opened up a whole new area to explore,” he explains. His artistic process varies. He sometimes has specific projects set up with people as the subject, and other times, Schiff will just go out and shoot images that appeal to him. “I cannot say that one approach is better than the other, although I am leaning more towards staged shoots. When I’m working as the director, while also letting the subjects do whatever they’re doing in their own unique way, I have more control. If I venture out into the street, although I am capturing what’s going on in reality, I may have to wait much longer to get the scene or image I’m looking for.”