Steve Stokan | Three Questions
Steve was the Juror’s Award Winner for our exhibition “abstractions.” Eddie Soloway was the Juror.
How did you come to photography?
I am formally trained as a graphic designer and was employed in the advertising industry for 20 years. I began my involvement with digital photography in 1991, while shooting product photography for a variety of clients. Although my roots were commercial in nature, I now use the camera as an artistic tool. Photography is my creative outlet. It is my way of expressing myself to the world. I’ve tried other artistic mediums (painting, drawing, etc.) but found the process of using those materials too slow and tedious. The camera allows me to simplify the artistic process and be more productive.
Can you tell us about your images?
Aqua Nocturna is a project created entirely with an iPhone and Hipstamatic app. Therapeutic in nature, this series began the night I buried my father. After the funeral, the family gathered at my sister’s house. Many of us turned to the backyard pool to relax and unwind from an emotional day. Water is the source of life. It has the power to sustain, comfort and heal. These ghostlike figures represent the spirit. Although the body may perish, I believe the spirit continues within the next generation. My goal was to capture that spirit, and bear witness to the healing power of water.
Because of your graphic design background do you see the making of a photograph as a design problem?
I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but now that you mention it, I guess so. There are parallels between the two, solving the “problem” of composition being paramount. However since I approach photography as a fine art (vs. commercial design), the challenge doesn’t come from a client, the challenge comes from within me. In many ways, this makes the problem more difficult to solve. I oftentimes don’t understand what I’m trying to say at first. But the longer I work on a project, the easier it is for me to see “the big picture” I’m trying to get at.