In anticipation of the upcoming Photo Slam event, I had the opportunity to do a question and answer session with chosen Photo Slam artist attendee, J.T. Burg. I particularly found Burg’s biography interesting as he is a prime example that even though a passion for creativity may go on hiatus due to life’s uncertain circumstances (Burg’s camera was stolen and as a result he discontinued his practice in photography until later on) it never really disappears if given the chance to resurface. I had the privilege of communicating with Burg via email and ask him some questions about his artistic process. Below is the question and answer session from that conversation.
Lesley Montgomery: Besides the aspect of patience, why have you chosen primarily to stick with what some would consider the "old fashioned" way of developing film?What initially sparked your interest in this particular way of developing
J.T. Burg: I think one of the reasons I've gone back to film from digital is the value of each shot. There is a fixed number of shots in film, so each time I frame up, I'm more conscious of what I choose to shoot and how I shoot it. With digital, it almost felt like I was stealing the moments, just clicking away, not even thinking about each shot. Film taught me to slow down, and notice the moment. Feel the moment. Live in the moment. When I get my pictures back, I remember every moment of the shoot. The musty smell of a museum, the chatter of people in a park, even the cars whooshing by downtown.
Lesley Montgomery: What do you primarily enjoy shooting when you set out to take photographs?
J.T. Burg: I'd like to think that my strong point is landscape, but no one certain subject comes to mind when I go out and shoot. I enjoy living in the moment when I take my camera. With a little bit of skill, I can be in the right place at the right time. I want people to see the world how I see it. Tilt your head and notice how the lines of the building line up. Look at the glow on the fine hairs of a plant. Life is amazing if you notice more than just yours.
|JT Burg, Light Snow, Photography|
Lesley Montgomery: How do you think photography is able to convey an artistic vision that other artistic mediums may not be able to do in the same way?
J.T. Burg: Other mediums of art seem to convey a feeling, mood, all how the artist interpreted the moment. Photography is very fickle, capturing moments how they happen with light. Now is a moment, now is a moment, there just went another one. How was each one different from the last? Photography captures each one with one frame, through the film’s grain texture and the camera's lens, how the moment actually happened.
Lesley Montgomery: How do you think photography can still be viable considering our society is so visually saturated?
J.T. Burg: Our society is visually saturated but with unreal, airbrushed, simulated images. Those unrealistic images are again, an interpretation of what we think it should look like. Our natural instinct is to want the real, true visuals. A photograph captures a moment, again, how it actually happened with the mood, lighting and memory in tact.
J.T. Burg, along with many other very talented photographers, will be a featured artist at OVAC’s Photo Slam event occurring at the Noble Theater at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art tonight at 7 pm. Each artist will get five minutes to share their individual artistic process. Show up and support your local artists for what is sure to be an interesting and entertaining event. For more information, please call The Oklahoma City Museum of Art at 405-236-3100. The museum is located at
415 Couch Dr.
Guest Writer: OVAC Summer Intern, Lesley Montgomery