Q&A: Ian Kline


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy?  Trying to wake up early(ish) and being open. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? Our old Myspace accounts. Are you aware of any conspiracies? Trump pushes mongo and Pence rides a scooter. What is it that interests you about photography? How making a photograph is a completely subjective act, but throughout history– and still today– the photograph is seen as an objective truth by many outside of the photo bubble.  Another thing that interests me is photography’s ability to grant one access to places and events that one would normally be questioned for going into. Oh, and photography’s ability to both be attached to the real world and hold some kind of documentary value while simultaneously having the ability to detach from the tangible and take a viewer to a whole new place. There are a lot of things that interest me about photography; the list can go on for days, photography is rad. What is the worst thing about city life?  The amount of things going on, all of the options, but that’s also the best part.  I just get overwhelmed pretty easily. What part of the planet would you like to explore?  The deep sea or somewhere in South America, like Southern Argentina/Chile. That landscape seems pretty unreal. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? Extraterrestrial life, there is for sure other life out there that we know of but the Government is denying that knowledge. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? Carl Sagan. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Horology. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t?  I hate thinking about this, it happens way too often, but in return those moments influence the making of some other photograph or train of thought down the road which usually ends up being just as important. I’m also gonna say I wish I had a camera on me at all times when I was in middle school, the heart of the angst. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Work at a skateshop.

Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. This is a hard one, one because there’s a lot of photographs that have been important in opening up different ways of thinking and seeing for me, and two because often whole bodies of work have had a larger impact on me. So I’m gonna answer this is two parts, or do my best to.  First, I think the most important photograph I’ve seen in terms of having the most impact on me is Curran Hatleberg’s Riverfront, 2012, the one that is a more open scene with the two guys fighting with a bridge to the left of the frame and people watching. I remember seeing this photograph and a couple others of his when I first started school; it was probably the summer going into my sophomore year and his photographs completely blew my mind. It’s one of those photographs that just hit me in the gut. There isn’t anything crazy over the top about the photograph; it’s as simple as it can be in terms of lighting and production, but that simplicity and ambiguity of what is happening is why the photograph has stuck with me. He’s one of my favourites. Second, the body of work that I hold the most importance with is Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s a Storybook Life. I also first saw this work my sophomore year of school with the recommendation of my professor Manal Abu-Shaheen, who is also amazing. The photographs singularly are all knockouts, but then when sequenced and placed in the book, SHEEEWW, it goes. It has the right amount of guidance but allows for so many different, open-ended interpretations and connections. It feels personal but not too personal where it keeps viewers at a distance. I also feel like there’s a lot of angst, struggling, internal yelling and growing up wedged within a larger landscape that has one foot in this world and one foot in some other one and that’s beautiful to me. How often do you take other people’s advice?  For better or worse pretty often, but the amount of advice I actually act upon depends on where the advice is coming from and what the advice is for.

Describe a personal hell. Being trapped in the undergrad cycle for the rest of my life, a Sisyphus-esque scenario. Which living person do you most admire? This might be cheesy but my Mom and Dad, I can’t pick one, they’re amazing people. On what occasion do you lie? Usually only to get myself out of some hairball situation. What was the last crime you witnessed? Me getting jumped and a brick thrown at my face right outside of my apartment.  What is the best way to educate yourself? Getting out there and making moves. What is the next book you want to read?  The Sound and the Fury. It’s been sitting on my desk for far too long. Ultimate camera? Digital Mamiya 7. Come on Mamiya people get your shit together, you know everyone would max out their credit cards to get that. Most used camera? Mamiya 7. What object do you want? A large gin and tonic. What object do you need? A new computer. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? A screaming 13 year old who just shotgunned a red bull, but they can be a wealth of knowledge and beauty at times. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? Hell no, I’m just some Carhartts filled with a set of lanky bones. Describe a cheap thrill. Driving late at night when you’re tired, fading in and out. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. The time on the base leading up to the Trinity nuclear test. Are impulses more important than consequences? 70% of the time yes, 30% of the time no. Sometimes that 70% is more like 100% for me. Which talent would you most like to have? I really wish I could play some kind of instrument, like the guitar or saxophone. I tried to learn the saxophone in fourth grade, but I didn’t like my teacher and all my friends who signed up ended up dropping it so I left too. What is your plan for the next 24 hours?  Drink too much coffee, skate for a little if it doesn’t rain, hang out with some friends, finish packing up some stuff to move into a new apartment, maybe eat a burrito, maybe start processing the film from a 6 week cross country trip I just got back from.

Ian Kline from the series “Blue Fifth (Migration Patterns of Flightless Birds)” — See more at: iankline.com