Q&A: Kyle Ross — At Sunrise

09.12.19

1. Have you recently been living by any life philosophy?

1a. Here are a few things I try to remember. Try to be happy, sit on the floor sometimes, be a do-it-joe, make eye-contact, shed a tear, spend time with people, spend time with your work, keep a dream journal, write in it for two weeks, stop, read regularly, say hi, hello, make yourself vulnerable, reuse, reduce, recycle, work hard, start over, think from more than one perspective, do something for someone else.

2. What is it that interests you about photography?

2a. Photography interests me in the way it interests a lot of people I’m sure. It deals with the real world, real people, real interactions, and preserves them in their truest form. But is it true? It’s certainly not objective. Photos are such simple things that have the potential to make a lot of complex connections and can really excite me when I’m looking back at what I’ve made; the spaces in between the photos are just as important than what is in them. Something I love about being a photographer is that it’s almost this magic hall pass that lets you get places you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. I was a freshman in undergrad, a few friends and I were wandering around on an island in Maine with a decrepit brick building at its center. A sweet lady on a walk told us we really shouldn’t go over there and was going to stop us until we said we were photography students. It’s almost like she didn’t know what to say next until her face flipped and went “…oh okay, be safe!” People usually either board up or completely open to the sight of a camera. I was actually talking about this to my friend Jonny the other day, the camera shows your interest in them and that really excites some people.

3. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t?

3a. Honestly, I wish I’d gotten into taking pictures earlier than I did, not necessarily a moment but a period of time. Maybe when I was around seventeen, I was to busy being an idiot to record anything. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? I don’t think it’s crazy to think that people carry energy around with them, only I’m not too sure whether or not they take it with them when they die. There are parts of my life where I feel more perceptual to the supernatural and other times I second guess the plausibility of it all. There are things that make me think there could be an intangible part of this world we can’t see. For example, if you’ve ever been alone in the woods, especially after sunset and felt anything, or meeting someone for the first time and getting a strange awareness that you’re already very close to them.

You can do what you like with that part of life. Personally I don’t let it direct the way I live, although sometimes I do turn to the universe in times of vulnerability and/or curiosity. The project I’m currently working on talks about place, how that can hold a specific charge, and how a photograph can hold one too. New England has so much history around it, some of it, particularly regarding the occult. You can almost feel it if you’ve ever just walked in the old towns or it’s landscape.

4. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen.

4a. John Divola’s Vandalism work gets me every time; every one of them is the most important. I don’t want to over-explain it, it’s beautiful. Just go look at it if you haven’t before.

5. What part of the planet would you like to explore?

5a. I actually really want to visit Australia soon, it’s such a mystery to me. The music is great, the art is crazy good, I feel like I’d love it. I’ve also wanted to go to Scotland and Ireland my whole life, it’s where my family is from originally. I hear they’re nice places, I’ll just wear a wool sweater and live under a mossy rock like a bug for the rest of my life.

6. What is the worst thing about city life?

6a. Living in the city has its ups. I’m in walking distance to almost everything I need, I could get away without having a car, there’s a great local community that I’m proud to be a part of. But every time I look up at night and get a reminder that you can’t see the stars because of the city lights, I feel a disconnection from the rest of the planet. It’s so easy to forget you’re just a blip in something inconceivable as the universe we live in, you know?

7. Describe a personal hell.

7a. So I read this supposedly true story about a woman with nerve damage on the top of her head that left her with an itch that she could never satisfy. She would itch and itch all of her skin and hair off, one night in her sleep she itched until the top of her head opened and fluid came out. Fingernails really terrify me too, so maybe if I had an itch like she did and my fingernails kept on bending back as well? And maybe I was hungry too?

8. How often do you take other people’s advice?

8a. I’ve learned to try more now than I used to. Usually, it’s rewarding.

9. What is the best way to educate yourself?

9a. Personally I get a lot out of watching others, seeing what works for me/what doesn’t. If you admire a person, talk to them. It scares the hell out of me every time, but I never regret it. You should always do things that make your knees tremble.

10. Are impulses more important than consequences?

10a. I think everybody should act on impulses, some of the best decisions I’ve made are ones I really didn’t fully think out. But that’s a good question right there, are they more important than consequences? It depends on the consequence if it’s more than just a slap on the wrist you know. Is it going to lead me into prison, or leave me with no friends? You would have to be the judge of that when the impulse comes; I’m sure it’s all circumstantial. In short, my answer is no. Although if I was really craving a whoopie pie, but it would mean I’d be a few minutes late to work? Maybe I’d be a few minutes late.

11. What is your plan for the next 24 hours?
11a. Let’s see, I have a couple of friends coming over tonight. I will most likely have to dig the car out of the snow in the morning. Maybe read a little of the book I found downstairs on a radiator yesterday. Eat leftovers.

_

Memories often stick in our heads like holy effigies that are never made out of concrete, but some swampy material that bends and rotates with recollection. Most of my memories are based alone within the woods of my hometown in New Hampshire, a place where my few friends and I would habitually fall victim to the landscape’s natural pull. We would hide from passing cars within the somber woods and pretend we were the goblins kept alive through hundred-year-old stories, preserved under thick layers of leaves. Today as a young adult within a new circle of femininity, I continue to find myself being drawn beyond the treeline — only now I question whose hand is pulling me in. Through my practice, I crystalize the supernatural relationship between these places, people and myself.
At Sunrise is a project I have been working on for the past three years. The photos focus on the intersection of my subjectivity and the medium’s unique relationship with material. They are processed and sequenced to transcend the conventional representations of their subjects into a place of both fiction and raw experience. The project questions photography’s oversight in seeing past the surface of the world by reflecting historical tropes such as still life and spirit photography; constructing fragments of my environment truer to my story living in rural New England. The settings in my photographs oscillate between domestic spaces and Maine’s protected woods, with depictions of wet leaves, sad house plants, suspended balls of foil, or an external flash’s test button. These photos are electric yet quiet and live as manifestations of my tenderness for the environment.

Kyle Donald Ross is an American Photographer, born 1997 in Goffstown, New Hampshire. He grew up hiding from passing cars within somber woods, entertained by stories of goblins while he sifted through the wet leaves and soggy branches of his home in rural New England. Today Ross’ images comment on occult relationships in the landscape and home, simultaneously utilizing photography’s historic tropes to question the limitations of the medium. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Art in Photography from Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine where he lives currently, and has exhibited work locally. Ross’ work and writing have been published in Girl Cult Magazine as well as Walking Research, and can be seen on platforms such as From Here On Out and Vogue.it.

To see more of Kyle Ross’ work visit — website / Instagram.