On September 7th my grandma passed away. When I first started shooting film on my Dad’s old Olympus OM2 I used an entire roll on her. It would be the last time I would ever photography her for artistic purposes. I found the original negatives in an archive folder and rescanned everything. The best part of this shoot was her humble brag about working out with weights every day to stay in shape. 

Interview #415: Austin Schermerhorn

19 year old photographer based in San Francisco, USA. “My work mainly deals with the unseen feelings and impressions, often of something greater and mysterious.”

q: You mention you are inspired by Romantic poets and paintings. How does it influence you and your creative process?
a: I draw a lot from the imagery and symbolism of Romantic poets, my favorites being Coleridge, Baudelaire, and Rimbaud. A lot of the origins of my photos come from a passage that stuck out to me, from Baudelaire’s description of a carrion and the eventual decay of his love, to Coleridge’s description of otherworldly music from an Aeolian harp: “And that simplest Lute/ Placed length-ways in the clasping casement, hark!/ How by the desultory breeze caressed/ Like some coy maid half yielding to her lover…”

As for the painters, I am inspired by Delacroix, Goya, and Géricault, and I try to pick up where they left off. I believe we are at another Industrial Revolution, this time technological, and that as a society, our spiritual and artistic needs are going left unchecked, as seen by the type of art the powers that be esteem. I feel we need a remedy for this, and this idea is always at the forefront of my mind when I make art.

q: What contemporary photographers are you into right now?
a: I feel the best photographers transcend photography itself and enter the realm of Art, which fortunately there are many today, albeit a little hard to find. My favorites, who I am forever thankful and inspired by are Robert Tepiak, Margaret Durow, Benjamin Goss, and Rebecca Cairns.

q: Do you like house plants?
a: I do! I love being surrounded by growing, living things whenever I sit down to make art or write. Also I hear green is the most inspiriting color for creative thinking, so there’s another bonus.

q: Photography equipment?
a: I shoot a Pentax Super Program and Olympus OM2 for 35mm SLRs, an Olympus XA2 as my camera on me at all times, and a Pentacon Six for medium format. I have been experimenting with large format with cameras from my school (specifically a Toyo 4x5 Field Camera) so I would like to use that more in the future, as well as go up to 8x10.

q: Upcoming projects or ideas?
a: An Idea I’m tossing around right now is a sort of mixture between Japanese/Chinese ink painting and photography. I want to make a sumi-e landscape, and superimpose a portrait of a person in the foreground, using darkroom techniques, so both art and photography are merged, and the landscape behind represents a sort of mental state of the person as well. I am really interested in the melting, foggy landscapes that are capable with ink painting, and the idea of a landscape conveying an emotion.

q: Any new music to recommend?
a: My good friends Adam Houmam and Ryan Daniel’s band ION recently released their debut album, which I was lucky enough to do the art and cover for. Check them out if you like ambient/psychadelic black metal, they’re also currently on tour in the Pacific Northwest, so if you’re in that area you should go see them. Myself, I’ve been listening to a lot of Suuns, Chelsea Wolfe, and Liars’ new album.