Literature In Los Angeles

NIC KELMAN

In INTER-REVIEWS on March 15, 2010 at 3:36 am

Interview with bestselling author Nic Kelman on the connection between his writing and photography.

Tokyo by Nic Kelman

LILA: As a writer, in your novel Il Comportamento della Luce (The Behavior of Light), you explored and analyzed the physics of light under an interesting perspective. How is your relationship with light as a photographer?

NIC: Light is everything as a photographer and I think one of the things I try to work on in my photography is being able to not see the objects, but the light.  We are so used to accepting and categorizing what we see as the objects we identify in our field of view that it is sometimes hard to see above and prior to that to the light that must come before the object.  So I guess, as a photographer, I try to constantly look for the light that I know is there before the object and remove it from the object, find it before the object’s definition takes over, and then attempt to capture it in its more pure form.

Bangkok by Nic Kelman

LILA: In girls, your focus as a writer was mostly on the obsessive, materialistic attractions that rule social relationships in the Western society. As a photographer, your interest seems more on catching evanescent and melancholic details of objects and cities. How would you explain this difference of attention?

NIC: This is a very good question and one I haven’t really thought about before even though that distinction is correct. I think what it comes down to is that I find the abstraction of reality more “pure” an expression of reality. However, ironically, even though the use of language is the most abstract art form, it is also the most difficult tool with which to create abstractions. Perhaps this is because the very purpose of language is to remove abstraction from reality and to create definition of the world around us? Regardless, I find in-camera photography fascinating for its very ability to capture something that is concrete, that must have existed in the material, sense, that must have been palpable, and somehow make it seem unreal or dreamlike. Art, to me, is primarily the abstraction of reality through the artist’s personal lens, but when the lens is words, that abstraction must be more concrete than when the lens is, well, a lens… So in the latter case, I think I like to make the most of that advantage.

London by Nic Kelman

LILA: If you put together your experience as novelist and screen writer and your fine “camera eye,” your next step might be directing a movie… ever had any thought about it?

NIC: Definitely. It’s a big step though and one that, honestly, is very, very different from the other forms. Directing is about collaboration and making the most of what you have from many sources. In writing you have almost totalitarian control over what you produce and in photography there is just you, your camera, and the light. I’m not sure I can manage more than that!

Images by Nic Kelman.
Interview by Liliana Isella.

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