The SIP Filter: Harlan Erskine
Posted by rotroz 13/03/12
By Rotem Rozental
“All of my photography is a progression,” writes Harlan Erskine in his site, “they are a reaction as much as they are a cause of framing a subject.” As an American photographer, living in Brooklyn for the past few years, perhaps it is not surprising that he found himself documenting convenient stores: a project which became a book titled “Ten Convenient Stores”, published in 2005.
There is an illusive quality in his frames, a sense of suspension, an almost contemplative viewpoint which appears in his various projects: be it the architecture of midtown New York at midnight, or imaginary scenarios of wars. In his blog, he also shares his photographic journeys in the art world and beyond, as well as some visual treasures and findings. So, we felt an up-close encounter with his work, personal photographic histories and inspirations is definitely in order:
What was the first image you ever took?
I’m not really sure of the very first image I took. My father always had a 35mm SLR when I was young and I would play with it. Then I got an Olympus as a gift and started using that. The first time I felt like I could take a decent picture was in high school. Two of my friends were into photography and would run through the streets together making pictures. I never went on any of their photo adventures but I started carrying a camera with me regularly.
Why did you want to become a photographer?
Being a photographer was sort of a guess at first. When I was choosing where to go to college, I looked at several schools. I ended up liking the University of Miami because their photojournalism department was friendly and impressed me. My first semester I took a class with Professor Michael Carlebach. In one of his early classes, he showed a video about Nan Goldin. After that I was hooked.