Akosua Arthur

Teoman Irmak

‘One two three’ – 2004 – 2012

“I take photographs but I’m not a photographer. I see myself as a painter, yet I don’t use paint.”

What do you say to those who suggest that your work is neither photography nor Painting?
I used a camera to record the images; I later manipulated them by hand into their final form. I think they are more than photographs. I concede that I don’t actually use paint anymore and the artwork remains in the digital domain until it is turned into prints. So perhaps they are half right. Does it matter?

People like labels. It defines what they are looking at.
Yes, just because it is not easy to define does not diminish its value. Usually it means that there is a lot less similar work about. Why is that bad?

Perhaps the less common is harder to accept. And if a body of work falls outside well known categories it becomes invisible.
You are right. What we enjoy is dependent on our expectations. If there are no expectations how can they be surpassed? – Or let down? But I like where I am, not being easily classifiable is an interesting state or place to be in. I’m making images I want to see, not what the critics would like to see. Let them make those images.

Is all your work photography based?
Yes mostly. Some of the photos I take end up as the images you see. But I must emphasise, they are not photographs when I finish with them. I take photographs but I’m not a photographer. I see myself as a painter, yet I don’t use paint.

Why don’t you use paint anymore?
A lot of photographers don’t use conventional film anymore either. Right now digital painting is the best tool to explore what I’m doing.

Don’t you simply just treat the photos with a graphic package?
A bit simplistic perhaps but essentially accurate. However, that can be said about any kind of photography. You know, all you have to do is just point the camera and press the button. Click done! What is so hard about that? And someone else usually does the developing, etc. etc… But fundamentally everything is a process. Or ‘processing’ in case of photos. Each stage in a piece of work is going through a process. Even thinking about it is. It is all process X, Y or Z. A certain American painter used to dribble paint on to a canvas on the floor. At the time people were saying anyone can do that. Mostly true, but then they’d end up with their very own Jackson Pollock.

Teoman Irmak

‘Computers touch our lives in many different ways.’ – 2007