We went to Pau Wau Studio to witness the making of Infinite Power, the forthcoming book by photographer David Brandon Geeting. While there, we watched how Pau Wau have helped develop the book while David was telling us about the inspiration for his photography. He has spliced together everything from people, cheerios, pencils among many other everyday objects.
Tell us a bit about your background and your work.
I'm 25 and I live in Greenpoint, a few blocks away from the Pau Wau studio. I was born in raised in suburban Bethlehem, PA, but moved to NYC to go to SVA in 2007. I knew I wanted to be a photographer since I was 16 but I didn't know why or what I was even interested in taking photos of. Throughout my time at SVA, I watched as everyone worked tirelessly on projects about them standing naked next to their grandpa or "the changing landscape of NYC" or some graffiti-covered abandoned ruins somewhere. I thought maybe I cared about those things too, and I would attempt to tell myself that my work had some hidden meaning. Then I graduated and I stopped lying to myself and started making work about my actual life as a boring 22-year old suburban transplant who shops at the dollar store.
What are these photographs about and why did you want to put the images into the book form?
I really like all the shit that ends up in a house - pencils, cheerios, tampons, your dad's office chair, apple sauce, tabloids, socks, cats, cell phone chargers, trash bags, shampoo, etc. None of those things asked to be together but they're all there because someone decided they needed all of them in one place. I think that sums up a lot of the work in the book. I am not really interested in still lifes that feature a cool curated selection of things, I am more interested in the relationship between things that want nothing to do with each other. I wanted to put all of these photos in a book because I wanted to give them a place to live other than the Internet. I like that some of these can float around on some 13-year-old's blog, I think it's cool that someone in Iowa is as psyched on my cat as I am, but I also think permanence is still cool in an age where trends only last a week.
Do you have a history with book making and how do you think your work benefits from this process?
Yeah, I like to make zines now and again. I actually benefit a lot from the editing process - it's cool to try to pair different images together, swapping them out, seeing what works right away and what takes time to feel right. Images drastically change the vibe of other images, sequencing drastically changes the way I look at the images, and the whole process changes how I feel about my work for sure.
What attracts you to the kind of work you make - what is the process behind a DBG image?
I am most attracted by the infinite amount of possibilities in the work I make. I think it's so funny when people are all defeated like "everything's been done before" because I just don't believe that's true. At all! But maybe my process is a little different, maybe I don't try as hard as other people. I will either have an idea that pops into my head as if someone just put it there arbitrarily, or I will go to my studio and tinker around until something looks cool, or I will see something on the street that caught my eye and try to either recreate it or be influenced by it as I work on something else. I am really lax about making my work, because I am a firm believer that a hobby should never be stressful. If I wanted to be stressed out, I'd go do something I hate. But I love doing this.
What do you want this book to say about you and your work?
I just want the book to be intriguing for people to browse through and have conversations about. I am hoping some people love it and some people hate it because art that everybody loves is boring.
Has the process of making a book with Pau Wau helped you view your work in a different way?
Yes! It's been great to have two other sets of eyes view the work and interpret in different ways. The work is really malleable like that - it can be molded in a lot of different ways to say a lot of different things. If I would have tackled this book alone, it would have been very "one-note." With Pau Wau's help, the book feels varied, surprising, and complete.