Q&A: Sara Cwynar


Are our lives controlled by fate or sexual urges? Sexual urges, I just don’t believe in fate. You can no longer speak english, pick a new language. I can sort of speak French-Canadian! You will never love again, what now? Eat many cheeseburgers. What was the last crime you witnessed? Someone stealing my beer from the fridge. Petty crime. Who would you most like to see embarrass themselves? At this stage probably Paul Ryan. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. An early nuclear test explosion. Those were so beautiful and terrifying, especially in old color photographs. Make a prediction for the future. I will eat a snack when I finish this questionnaire. Your favorite painter? Francis Bacon. Invent a swear-word.  Eff-word. Cancun or Ibiza? Ibizaaaaaa! Are pets actually prisoners? No they are best friends.

Create the name for a virus that will decimate the population. Vesuvirus. Get it? Like Vesuvius the volcano which also decimated the population. Would you still take photos if you could only take them in nightclubs? Yes but probably with diminished enthusiasm. Wolfgang Tillmans has some amazing nightclub photos though. On a scale of one to ten, how much do you trust your closest friends? 10! How would you dress if you were suddenly an elderly man? As an elderly man I would wear lots of tasteful cardigans and corduroy pants. And some clashing plaids. Actually I hope to throw total fashion caution to the wind when I get older so the insane version of that.

How would you survive in prison? By being sly I hope. Or maybe by being invisible. Certainly not through strength or bravery. What is the next book you want to read? Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan. Do you believe in world peace? No unfortunately. Who would you never work for, no matter how much they offered to pay? Any sort of pro-life organization. Describe a cheap thrill. Getting a roll of film developed remains my favorite one. Is hesitation a kind of weakness? No it is healthy and necessary and human. Could you own a gun? No.

Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Something anthropological that involves categorizing, it would be cool to be an expert at some progress-oriented 20th century structuralist fake science trying to prove that all birds and humans of the world have the same relationship patterns or something. Like a lady Lévi-Strauss. Which religion seems most tempting? Really none of them at all. Ultimate camera? A Linhof Technika 4 by 5. Most used camera? Mamiya 645 medium format camera. Which living person do you most admire? Joan Didion. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Mrs.Ramsay from To the Lighthouse. Last words before death? Probably I love you I hope. Or just “goodbye”. I think it’s pretty good if you get a chance to say that.

Sara Cwynar – From the series Flat Death.