Interview by L. Valena
First, can you please describe what you responded to?
What I responded to was a really interesting photograph of… a toilet. That’s the subject matter, but what’s really interesting about it is the colors. The colors are the first thing that grab you, but then you see the toilet, and then you kind of wonder what things are leading up to this picture of a toilet. It’s almost ominous, really.
What was your initial reaction to the prompt?
“Oh my god, this is going to be really hard!” Because a response is tricky- you don’t have the liberty to do anything you want- you're constrained, it makes you think, and forces you to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do. So, I looked at it and said how am I going to handle this? The most obvious thing is the toilet, so I figured it had to be something toilet-related. The other thing that struck me is the color is actually a very big character in the art, but early on I decided that I wasn’t going to play with the color- the toilet was the thing I was going to respond to.
So tell me a little bit about your process. How did you translate your feelings and reactions to this picture into your own image?
Once I decided that toilet was my subject matter, I felt like instead of my response going from zero to infinity, I had something to focus on. Now, having decided that, I thought about what is fascinating me visually as a photographer? So one thing I’ve been really curious about is floating images within a photograph- I had never done it myself! But I began thinking about how to incorporate that into the work. And one of the ubiquitous things- without going into too much detail, everyone reads on the toilet! So that was my first idea- I wanted to do something floating- what happens on the toilet aside from the usual stuff? The subject matter of my art ended up being the process of what I was going through. Where do you do your thinking? Sometimes you’re on the toilet and you get inspiration. Basically, what I was doing was capturing my process in the art.
How does that relate to the rest of your work?
This is unique to this project, really- I’ve never captured my process in my work, mostly because it makes you vulnerable, right? You don’t want to show people behind the curtain, you just want to show the shiny framed piece at the end. Unless you’re secure in your work, which I’m not.
I’m not sure anyone really is.
Yeah, that’s tough. So this was a new thing for me. Because the way I work as a photographer, is I have an idea for a shot I want to get, and I go and get the shot. I figure out what I’m gonna need, where ‘m gonna go, what the colors need to be, what the lighting needs to be, and then I go do it. It’s very rare for me to kind of document what I’m thinking about or to document the process. I didn’t know if I would document the process, because you really need to be very secure in your work to do that, but what I decided to do, because I never do this, was to put myself in the project, which was really what my final response was.
Call Number: M2VA | M4VA.haAstra
Rezaul Haque is a photographer based in Boston. He's passionate about art, design, and technology, and hopeful that together they can change the world.