Friday, February 26, 2016

6 Questions: Grant Shaffer's 'Gay Arms' in La MaMa Galleria



For the exhibition Gay ArmsGrant Shaffer presents a new body of photographic work. Grant sat down to answer 6 questions about pigeons, The Passion, and working at La MaMa!
The series is documentary in style, with its subjects pulled from the artist’s life. Shaffer describes his artistic process as a means of understanding: “When I’m taking pictures, I think of myself as an alien who’s here for a while, trying to understand the experience of my sliver of life on this planet.  It’s hard to say what my photos and this show are about.  It’s just intuitive.  It’s very personal and at the same time very public. It’s me trying to take in the world and asking people to notice or consider something.”


1. Where did the title Gay Arms come from?
I was taking photos of our two dogs in Tompkins Square Park, and a crazy person started harassing me.  He was yelling things like, "Taking pictures with your queer eyes and your gay arms..."  I was trying to think of a name for my photo exhibit and I decided Gay Arms was perfect.

2. You describe your process as a means of understanding. How does photography as a medium lend itself to this process?
When I look at a slew of photos I've taken, patterns emerge, and I'm sometimes surprised.  The photos help me to understand how I take in the world visually. For example, when I was looking through photos for this show, a lot of the photos dealt with people being thrashed about by wind.  Who knows what that's about, but it starts me down a road.




3. This series captures subjects from your life in a documentary fashion--could you elaborate on how you choose your subjects?
I let subjects come to me.  When I go out and try to force it, I'm usually not happy with the outcome.  I'd rather just go out and have a camera with me – then that "click" happens, when I chance upon something and become a bit obsessed, and that's it for me. 

4. What’s your favorite work in the show?
My favorite work changes.  Right now I like the photo I took of a pigeon standing on a salted sidewalk.  It's very simple, but it's an intense bird.

5. What was the last good book you read?
The last good book I read was The Passion, by Jeanette Winterson

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
La MaMa has a great supportive family feeling.  It doesn't feel like a business trying to sell you something, but a place that's really passionate about the arts.  I feel incredibly lucky to be involved with La MaMa!



Galleria: Gay Arms

February 26 - March 13, 2016

Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 1 to 7PM, or by appointment

La MaMa Galleria | 47 Great Jones St.

Free Admission

Click Here for more information!