|Steve Siegel, 2011, Central Train Terminal 3|
To have an artist as intelligent and community-minded as Steve documenting the Painting for Preservation initiative is really amazing, and we're so happy for this much deserved success. I asked Steve to answer a few questions about his photography and why he does what he does...
Bio: Steve Siegel was born in Buffalo and has never left the area. He graduated from Buffalo State and U.B. He has been a professor at Niagara University for 35 years and was an adjunct professor at Canisius College. Steve purchased his first camera about 3 years ago and is self-taught. He finds that he really enjoys photography and its possibilities.
|Steve Siegel, 2011, Bathroom Massacre|
Sara: What inspires you to be a photographer?
Steve: I'm not a big fan of conformity - may it be from a sociological perspective or an aesthetic one. A camera allows me to document "life in the cracks" so to speak. It's reassuring to me to find people, through their range of emotional responses, as well as structures, through their design, that are unique.
Sara: What do you like/dislike about the photographic process?
Steve: I like the fact that photography has forced me to see the world around me in a much more detailed and complex manner. The title of a biography of the photographer Walker Evans is an apt description for my feelings, it is entitled "The Hungry Eye."
One thing that bothers me about the process of photography is that the power of editing software suggests that the legitimacy of any photo can now be called into question. One never really knows if what you see in a photograph truly existed in the photographers view finder. Was something added to the photograph or was it grossly manipulated? Perhaps something that might have changed ones emotional response to the photo was removed? Furthermore does the photographer have an ethical responsibility to reveal if the picture is "manipulated." Artists in most other media really don't face this dilemma. I personally would like to know to what extent a seemingly intriguing photograph was the product of a great capture through the lens at a given moment as opposed to manipulation in the digital darkroom.
|Steve Siegel, 2011, Grain Elevator|
Sara: What are your goals as an artist?
Steve: Simply to enjoy doing what I do. I marvel over the technology I work with, I enjoy the people I meet and occasionally I am satisfied with the finished product. If I am having fun doing it, I will want to do it more often and hopefully continue to improve. Luckily I don't need to make a living through photography, so I have no commercial constraints and can go my own way.
Sara: How does Buffalo influence your work?
Steve: The diversity of the city, both architecturally and culturally provides broad possibilities for a photographer. For instance, of my 12 pictures that are in the portfolio that B&W Magazine chose for their "Award of Merit," 8 were photographed at sites located between 1 and 5 miles from my apartment and the 3 that were featured in the magazine were taken in Buffalo at the Central Terminal (2) and at the Hotel Lafayette. In perusing the magazine, I noticed that few if any of the other United States based photographers chosen for the issue submitted pictures from their neighborhood (many submitted pictures from Europe and Asia). I think that this proves that Buffalo and WNY can provide great subject matter for an artist.
The 3 photos from the portfolio which appear in the actual print edition are currently on display at College Street Gallery.
|Steve Siegel, 2011, Central Train Terminal 2|
And here a few photographs Steve took while on-site at art-ins :