From the Darkroom to the Light
Latent Image Collective's Ongoing Conversation
In photography the latent image is one that has yet to be developed on the film strip, the image is registered with light, it just hasn't been called forth yet. It is this process of development that inspired the start of Latent Image Collective, who were all brought together by local photographer Nick Tauro Jr. Largely connected by social media sharing, the group established a relationship without ever having materialized to one another in-person, another reason why the latent image holds resonance for these artists who have connected despite geography.
Both Tauro and another member of the group, Fábio Miguel Roque, from Sintra, Portugal, took the time to unpack the workings of the collective and contents of their most recent show.
Alibi: How did Latent Image Collective get its start?
Tauro: I had the original idea to start the photo collective in 2014. I was personally feeling uninspired in my own work and was feeling disconnected and isolated. Photography can be a very solitary pursuit ... I was looking for a way to forge deeper connections with other photographers, especially those who I had been following and communicating with via social media. I realized that many of these folks that I followed had a shared aesthetic sensibility. I also saw the value of Albuquerque and New Mexico as a destination for photographers (We have amazing light here, and our arts and cultural history is unique.), so I thought maybe someday I could invite artists to come and collaborate here. I first reached out to my good friend Karen Sue Mazur, who is also a photographer based here in Albuquerque. I knew she had the desire to continue her own personal photography, and I knew she would be great on-the-ground support as we worked together to launch the group.
What is the power in so many artists working together across borders?
Tauro: I think the power lies in the fact that we have enough common ground in our shared love of photography, and that we have an opportunity to share aspects of our home cities and countries with each other. We all seem to benefit from an expanded world view, and the sense that even though we are far away from each other geographically, we share so much creatively.
Roque: I love all kinds of collaborative projects, I think it's always a winning situation. On the several projects that I was involved in in the past, I always find good reasons to have a collaborative approach with other artists, because the sharing of points of view and experiences can be a great addition for my work but also for [the work of] others. I'm learning very much, and I believe some other artists are also learning something from me, and I think this is an amazing thing. The possibility to do this, without filters, without the need of a middle man, only by the pleasure of sharing art [is powerful]. With Latent Image Collective, we have a platform for artists all around the globe, and this is an amazing chance for each one of us learn more about other realities in the art and photography world, because everyone of us has a personal background and individual path, but at the same time, this permanent collaboration is always with the same people, and it helps me grow in many aspects.
What is the idea with Ongoing Conversation?
Tauro: The “Ongoing Conversation” project actually started because we were looking for a new group project. Our member in Spain, JM Ramírez-Suassi, suggested that we follow the “exquisite corpse” approach, which is basically a visual game of telephone. One member would submit a photo and then we would pull a name at random and then that photographer would then have to supply an image that related to the previous one. It was easy for everyone to participate, because we were updating the thread one photo per week, so ultimately it was just a four or five photograph per year commitment for each of us. The exhibit at Downtown Contemporary Gallery is 44 of the first images from the thread, but the project is still ongoing on our website, where it is now up to nearly 60 images. The plan is that we will continue this project for the rest of 2017.
What interests you as an artist? How does it fit with this project?
Roque: I can say that my personal view of photography works in between documentary photography and personal photography, or the mix of both. In recent years, most of my body of work is closely related to my [experience of] the way I face life in general and many of the problems that I had to face. This allows me a constant discovery of myself and a better understanding of that person that I am as an individual. Topics like dreams, my hometown, my divorce and my ancestors are some of the things I focus my efforts on. The way all of this can be related with the Latent Image Collective is very simple, we have a totally open politic, each one of us has total freedom around his or her personal work. Sometimes we work around a concrete subject or theme, but our limitations end there, so this is very good for each of us’ personal improvement.
What are your highest aspirations for this collaboration?
Tauro: Even though we have a great, diverse group of men and women in the [collective], I’d love to continue to increase the diversity, especially geographically. I would be thrilled if we continue to stay as a working unit for many years, and that all members gain more attention for their own work due to exposure via the collective.
Roque: I think most of us already know very much about each other [and] our [unique] ways of working, so I only can wait for more good things in the future. In my personal point of view, I know it is not easy because, all of us, or at least the majority, have other jobs, and we have our families and duties, but I hope we can continue to grow, to make more exhibitions, more projects together, bring new members to our cause, make some publications of our own. But all of this only can be achieved with a lot of work, slowly and step by step.