Saturday, March 8, 2014

Q&A with Delphine Fawundu Buford

This months cover by
Aleksandar Ares, with layout by K.K.W.
On the cover, Irina Sarnetskaya.
Delphine Fawundu Buford: a series of straight-forward questions. By K.K.W

The first time I met Delphine was @ her solo exhibition "In A Time Of Change", on June 16 2012 (at MoCADA in Brooklyn). Not only was I impressed, but also amazingly inspired. 

K.K.W: Delphine, thanks for taking the time; I know your very busy.

D.F.B: Cool! Thanks for thinking of me.
Delphine Fawundu Buford.
Image courtesy of the artist. 
K.K.W:  Reaching back, what made you decide to pursue art? 

D.F.B: Art was always in me, however, when I picked up a camera in 1993 I couldn't put it down. That's when I became conscious of the fact that I was an artist.

K.K.W: Photography is considered an art-form, and yet its become almost a cliche; How do you view your work in the medium between these two point?

D.F.W: I am an artist and photography is my primary medium of expression. It's always been that way since 1993 when I was shooting film and developing in a darkroom. I understand my medium and how to manipulate it to express the visions that come to my mind. The oddest question that one can ask me is "Are you still doing photography?" My response, "Am I still alive?"

K.K.W: What is it that you get from photography? A need to observe, visual exploration, or  does it feed a need for power through the appropriation of the subject? 

D.F.B: I am an observer of human nature, I can't help it.  I am a visual person constantly seeing things in frames. I have a way of connecting with strangers and photography documents the beauty in those connections. The images inspires and enlightens people that I don't even know, there lies the power.

Delphine Fawundu Buford.
Image courtesy of the artist. 
K.K.W: Being as photographers (especially those who are artists) control what the viewer sees & presents it in a certain context, would you say your work is a subjective form of representation?

D.F.W: I don't think that any form of representation is objective. Certainly my work is subjective by nature. The context is usually very realistic and includes the voices of my subjects in some form.

K.K.W: Susan Sontag (in her writings) is concerned that " photograph is turn people into objects that can be symbolically possessed." - do you agree with that? 

D.F.W: I absolutely agree with this. However, from my practice people have responded to my work as one which demystifies stereotypes and enlightens people more about a particular group of people. In my most recent series, I am the "model" or silent "actress" in this series that aims to explore the complex identities of women in image driven society.  Essentially, I force the viewer to question these pre-conceived notions that "symbolically possesses" the images that they see.

K.K.W: Who are some of your creative influences?

D.F.W: I am inspired by an endless list of creatives including Roy DeCarava, Gordon Parks, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, Renee Cox, Cindy Sherman, and Mary Ellen Mark. I absolutely love and adore THE Photo Historian and Artist, Dr. Deborah Willis who has served as the most dynamic mentor!

K.K.W: Being a woman wasn't easy before you were born (if ever), and despite changes  within your society, do you find that its tough to gain respect and or advance yourself in whats still a man's world [to touch on the song by James Brown]?

D.F.W: I can't function from a paradigm of struggle because of who I was born to be whether it's my gender, sex, or race. If I could do it all again, will be exactly me. Most of the people who inspire me are women so that's a wonderful thing!

Aside from being immensely talent, Delphine is one of the interesting, intelligent, and beautiful young women I've ever met.  If You would like to know more, go "Art is the reason, art is the way"

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