Artist based in Providence RI
Victoria Crayhon, Portrait of the photographer.
Tell us about yourself, what's your background?
I've been interested in photographs since I was a child in the 1970's. My grandfather worked as a photo editor at the Daily News (NYC) and had a whole bunch of interesting black and white news photos up on the walls of my grandparents apartment. I was particularly fascinated by a print of the burning wreckage of the Hindenburg. It was situated in a quiet corner above the telephone and I actually studied it for quite a period of time before asking what it was.
I'm from NYC originally but grew up moving a lot, my brother and I changed schools every three years. We also lived in Caracas, Venenzuela, Houston TX and Miami FL. By age 15 I'd had it with the school I was attending in Florida and asked my parents if I could leave on my own. I wound up spending my last three years of high school in a small boarding school in Vermont.
Untitled Greenland XIII (Iceberg Cruise) 2022 Archival Pigment Print 30 x 44 inches
"I get a lot of ideas out in the world, most recent example would be looking out an airplane at Greenland for the first time ... It was like seeing another planet and I knew I had to go there."
Untitled Greenland II (Calving Iceberg) 2022 Archival Pigment Print 30 x 44 inches
What are you currently working on and where did the inspiration for it come from?
I am currently working on a three location project about climate change. I am photographing sites in Greenland, Italy and California.
Innovation does not only happen in the field of technology — it occurs everyday in a creative practice. What do you do for inspiration?
Go for daily evening walks in a nearby 19th century graveyard with a ton of birds, trees and incredibly descriptive grave markers.
Untitled Greenland I (Sled Dog Colony with Crows) 2022 Archival Pigment Print 44 x 90 inches
Describe your practice and process. Where do ideas start for you? In the studio or being in the world?
Both. I get a lot of ideas out in the world, most recent example would be looking out an airplane at Greenland for the first time, on my way back from somewhere else. It was like seeing another planet and I knew I had to go there.
I get ideas in the studio principally by printing my photographs, studying them together on the wall and by creating image sequences.
Untitled Greenland VIII (Hostel View) 2022 Archival Pigment Print 30 x 44 inches
How do you make your work, does it start with a sketch?
In terms of making or constructing a photograph, I try to be as descriptive as possible while also being as straightforward as possible, or deadpan, if you like. For my altered marquee photographs in Thoughts on Romance from the Road, they start with a line of text that I create. I then scout a theater marquee out in the world to place it on. Then I do a drawing to figure precisely where to place the text. I then make a composite photo with the text photoshopped in, which as I use as a reference when installing the letters on location.
Untitled Greenland IV (10th Century Norse Colony Ruins) 2022 Archival Pigment Print 30 x 44 inches
Do you have your own studio ritual? What does that look like for you?
I try to be as disciplined as possible in working at least 8 hours a day. In the studio I write, research, print and edit my photographs. In the field on location, I like to start as early as possible and spend the day photographing or scouting locations. I call it quits always around 5- 6 pm, unless I have a looming deadline for something. On studio days my sanity depends on going out for a walk or errands in the evening for at least 2 hours. I have to go outside every day in some capacity and I'm very insistent about it. This became a habit during the pandemic and it stuck with me.
Who are your biggest influences?
I would say my peers and professors from grad school, certainly. Artists I was really knocked out by early on and still love are Robert Heinecken, Larry Sultan, Nan Goldin, Jenny Holzer, Robert Frank and Ed Ruscha. Lately I am loving Francis Alÿs, Simone Leigh and the books of Jason Fulford.
Untitled Greenland XIX (Future Airport Parking) 2022 Archival Pigment Print, 30 x 44 inches
Are there books or films that are an important source of inspiration?
Hard to name just a few but here's 1 : Caro Diario, a film by Nanni Morretti. I first saw it back when it came out in the 90's while I was in grad school and it became a treasure that I'd watch every couple of years. It's funny, poetic, inspiring and somewhat depressing at the same time. With books I would have to say Lawrence Weschler's book about Robert Irwin: Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees.
Untitled Greenland V (Post Office Cash Point) 2022 Archival Pigment Print 30 x 44 inches
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Work everyday without questioning why. Even if you don't feel it. Through working on your work you will get there.
Untitled Greenland VI (Danish Patrol Boat) 2022 Archival Pigment Print 30 x 44 inches
What is the best advice you would give to other artists?
Be selfish with your time. Be comfortable feeling alone or out of place. Take risks.