Several years ago, I met a young photographer, Kyle Rand, whose work struck me immediately for its impassioned inventiveness, its intimate address to the viewer, and its mesmerizing conversation with literary sources. It was unlike any body of photographic work that I’d seen and I had the good luck to linger over a box of his photographs one afternoon at the home of a mutual friend. His compositions were compelling and self-assured; they certainly didn’t feel like the work of an aspiring artist — they were the work of one who was already well known to himself and confident in his abilities. There was obvious, careful forethought — some of the pictures required elaborate (even risky) staging and evinced a physical adventurousness that would be utterly foreign to the experience of a city-dweller (Rand himself was raised in Mendocino, California). And they showed complete aesthetic and emotional mastery of their subject matter. They were, in short, deeply enchanting, and I’ve thought of them often since.
The associations that came to mind then still seem appropriate: I thought of Blake, Keats, Coleridge (of the Lyrical Ballads). But he reaches in other directions, too — to the Hebrew bible, to Shakespeare, to Kafka…
I’ll be talking with Rand in a future post about his work; for now, have a look at a few of the photographs.
Update (08/2010): I’d hoped to have a talk with Kyle posted months ago…. We’re working on it; travel and summer and other projects have intervened—but it’s not been forgotten. Interviews on I/Eye are carefully edited—and are a labor of love: they take time. We’ll have something for you to read before too long.