Since studying sculpture and focusing on performance art, you might say that photography has been more of a necessity or general interest for artist Clemens Baldszun-Marsh. After all, the work has been more about what’s in the objects and the actions — not what the lens captured. Like the nature of any creative practice, however, Clemens’ interest in photography has shifted over time — causing his work behind the camera to expand.
From appreciating family albums to diving into color accuracy, we’re excited to see what Clemens does. He says he’s more than an amateur and less than a professional. But, as the first official Kinship + Craft photographer, we appreciate Clemens to the moon and back!
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
K+C — Hi Clemens! Can you tell us how and when you got into photography?
I probably got into photography for a few reasons.
I think the influence of my older brother, who was into film and photography, contributed. But I’ve also always enjoyed looking at my childhood and family albums, too. Seeing photographs of old times captured on film helped me remember and kept my memories alive. These albums motivated me to catch moments I thought were important, and I didn’t want to depend on others to do that for me.
Another experience that most likely contributed was a documentation assignment I had to do during my art studies. The school administration entrusted me with documenting exhibitions each semester and organizing the school photo archive.
K+C — You’ve also studied sculpture and focused on performance in your art practice. Do you think there’s a connection between your performance or sculpture work and photography?
No, the connection for me is the necessity of documenting my work because it’s so temporary and primarily on-site. I don’t like to re-enact the performances, so I use photography to document them and show them later. Photographs of my performances or sculptures are simply records.
K+C — What draws you to photography?
Ideas related to documentation. Not only the most beautiful or most important moments but the daily ones — without staging them too much. For example, I’ve tried to take pictures of the rooms in which I’ve lived or food photography — like what’s on my plate every day or what’s in peoples’ fridges.
Generally, I’m in search of a type of photography that’s less staged, which is somewhat impossible.
K+C — We had the chance to document Hae Won Sohn’s exhibition installation process. What was the experience like for you? Did it inspire any ideas?
It was a great opportunity to capture the installation process, and it was inspiring to see how an artwork changes through the installation process e.g., Hae Won Sohn’s floor installation at the Korean Cultural Center in D.C.
K+C — When we discussed this mini-interview, you said that you feel like you’re learning about photography. That’s a very relatable point for many people, whether they identify as photographers or creatives who have document their work. What has helped you learn?
Mostly tips and comments from other artists or tutorial opportunities have helped — like working for the art school, doing portraits for friends, or this installation shoot. But a couple of tips that helped me when I started out include:
• That a lens with a low F-Stop helps you shoot in low-light conditions if you don’t have or want to use additional and possibly artificial light sources. This is when the camera aperture opens wider to allow for more light when it’s a grey day or something. But, if there is light, you should really try to avoid overexposure because you can’t get the details back later.
• Or that you should always shoot in raw mode (which is a bigger file size) so you have more liberty to change the image later.