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Hunter Barnes creates silver gelatin prints of powerful portraits in his Oregon retreat
I found the canyon I built my studio in 16 years ago when I started my first project. At one point I lived in a cabin and had a barn where I set up my darkroom for a patron exchange of my prints. A year later, I found a spot that one of the locals offered me and started to build my studio. I was drawn to the beauty of the landscape and the feeling it had. I can get away from everything and focus on what I’m there to do
I live between my studio in Oregon and New York
City, and have done since I started my first book in
2000. I print in my studio at various times of the year;
I produce a very limited number of prints. I don’t
shoot here: my photos are all shot on location in the
different worlds I’m invited to document.
My place gives me time to reflect and decompress
from my travels. It gives me the space I need to edit and create my work, and visualise the next journey.
The land is surrounded by the canyons and the river.
It helps me keep my feet in the grass and stay in tune
I’d describe it as very ying and yang; a balance of
opposites. I feel like they are both equally important –
a different set of mountains.
What don’t I like about it? When I stay too long
I miss the other part of my life and my wife. I always
know when it’s time to go, and I’m always happy that
way when I come back.
I shoot on a Nikon FM2, Mamiya C220, Pentax 6
x 7 and my Super 8 cameras. I really love the process
of shooting film in its entirety. Film has a soul to it
and a technique that suits my projects. My process is
not immediate and neither is film. It keeps me aware
of timing and sensitive to who I am with on the road.
I got started in photography after my dad bought
me a camera when he was on a trip in Mexico. I was
really influenced by my parents to do what I loved.
My most recent project is Roadbook, now recurated
and retitled for my current exhibition, ‘15 Years/
Reflections Of An American Narrative’.
This London show features the different places
I have travelled in America over the past 15 years
that are sometimes passed by or unseen. The span
of photographs shown are from the start of my first
project, ‘Redneck Roundup’. The prints from that
series are dated 2000.
The biggest challenge was always just not giving in,
to continue on. There was nothing else in my opinion
that I was going to do, but it wasn’t always easy.
‘15 Years/Reflections of an American Narrative’ is at the
Serena Morton Gallery, 343 Ladbroke Grove, London
W10 6HA, until 22 July