DH: “Providence information please.”
TELEPHONE OPERATOR: “Go ahead please.”
DH: “Aaron Siskind.”
TO: “Aaron what, please?”
DH: It’s Aaron Siskind.”
TO: “How are you spelling the last name?
DH: “It’s S-I-S-K-I-N-D!”
TO: “In what city, Providence?”
DH: “Yes.” (The operator finally gave me a number!)

QUESTION #1 DH: Hello is this Aaron?
ANSWER AS: Yeah, this is Aaron.
QUESTION #2 DH: Did you receive the interview questions that I sent you about Abstract Photography?
ANSWER AS: Oh, yeah I got your long letter and the questions but it’s not for me “buddy.”

QUESTION #3 DH: But Aaron, we can just do the interview now. I’ll record it so you won’t have to spend time writing it all down.
ANSWER AS: All right. Go ahead.

QUESTION #4 DH: How do you think Abstract Photography fits in with or relates to other styles such as Documentary, Experimental, or Landscape Photography?
ANSWER AS: Abstract Photography stresses formal; non-literal or unrealistic elements which can be a problem, because photography is basically used to reproduce reality, and in trying to make reality abstract it can be difficult using a medium which expresses reality so well. Each photographer must deal with it in his or her own way. If you make “photograms” you solve the problem by avoiding the problem, but if you work from nature and you try to make it abstract  by emphasizing form, taking things out of context, or
altering tonal relationships, then it becomes more difficult to create abstractions.
QUESTION #5 DH: Photography lends itself to literal reproduction, so why would one want to make abstractions using a a medium that is inherently literal?
ANSWER AS: Photography can reproduce different kinds of pictures. No matter what the subject is, photography can reproduce the scene exactly. People photograph different kinds of scenes and, regardless of the subject matter, they record the scene as it was. Photography, as a medium, is only used as a vehicle for photographers to express a vision; be it realism or abstraction.

QUESTION #6 DH: Do you think it is possible to go beyond what has been created in Abstract Photography so far, to create new forms which are innovative while still remaining abstract?
ANSWER AS: Of course that is possible; to go beyond what has already been created. The world of Art and Photography is always moving on. It is never going to stop. It always changes and evolves. If Art stoped developing that would signal the end of civilization... but things are still changing and growing, so new ideas are continually being explored.

QUESTION #7 DH: What style of photography did you first use in your career?
ANSWER AS: Documentary!

QUESTION #8 DH: What other photographers have you been involved with and respect?
ANSWER AS: Well, Fred Sommer and Harry Callahan. Both of those people have been very close to me and have influenced me a great deal... but don’t ask me how.
QUESTION #9 DH: How do you feel photography fits in with other mediums of Modern Art?
ANSWER AS: Photography fits into Modern Art very well. Different photographers relate to art in different ways. Some photographers derive ideas from other art mediums while others contribute to art overall. Realist imagery has recently derived ideas from photography in the creation of painting based on photographic seeing, while in the past, photographers derived painterly styles and incorporated them into photographs. So there is a give and take in all the mediums. It has come to the point where there is no
real clear-cut distinction between mediums. Artists who were dedicated to the use of one medium are now utilizing photography and incorporating it into new expressions, while on the other hand, some photographers are painting and marking the surfaces of their prints. So it has gotten to the point where there is an overlapping of all mediums.

QUESTION #10 DH: What other trends were occurring in photography during the time you were making photographs in the Abstract Expressionist movement?
ANSWER AS: Most photographers were doing journalism, or serious social documentation. Edward Weston and photographers with similar styles stressed the formal object as an aesthetic... they were very much attached to the object, the scene, and nature overall. You could call them Realists; Formal Realists.   

QUESTION #11 DH: How does your Abstract Photographic Art differs from Abstract Art in other mediums?
ANSWER AS: It differs in the way we have to approach the creation of an artwork. When a painter paints a picture it can be immediately abstract. They have no problem making abstractions. A band of paint is simply a band of paint. It is not derived from realistic photographic images. When a photographer makes nature abstract an attempt is made to transform a realistic scene into an abstraction. I would say there is a tension which exists between a photographic artist’s abstract concept and the objects that are abstracted. If the photographer’s idea is to make a formal abstract arrangement, then something must be done to change one’s perception of a literal subject.

QUESTION #12 DH: So the biggest problem; when you create Abstract Expressionist Photography, is to translate literal objects into abstract forms?
ANSWER AS: That’s right, when using the word “abstract” loosely; many would agree, but there are different degrees of abstraction. There are different intentions. Some photographers, who create abstractions, have no interest in portraying objects, while other photographers have a strong abstract bent but are still involved with the depiction of literal elements within their abstractions. Some artists remove all realistic or literal elements from their work, while others have abstract elements combined primarily with literal subject matter. I have moved steadily in one direction, with interplay at all times, between being faithful to the original literal object and my desire to make it abstract. This has developed in an exact way. I have applied this practice to an enormous number of objects; creating and expressing the ideas I have developed over the years, but I am not sure if I want to continue doing it, or if I can do it anymore, but I’m sure something will hit me one of these days and when that happens I will express and develop a new idea! 

David Howard, art, artist, photography, photographic, photographs, print, prints, director, producer, exhibitions, exhibits, exhibit, painting, paint, studio, studios, etching, silkscreens, silkscreen, contemporary art, Pop Art, artist's story, journal, video, videos, documentary, documentaries, books, book, asian, asia, Filipino, Philippines, Sacred Jrney, author, The Last Filipino Head Hunters, collections, collectables, collectable, archives, archive, art, fine, contemporary, video, dvd, documentary, Keith Haring, Nam June Paik, Christo, Lowell Nesbitt, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Arnoldi, artists, studio visit, artist, program, sculpture, painting, photography, prints, print, photo, paintings, sculptures, keith haring, christo, david howard, nam june paik, artseen, videos tape, programs, documentaries, arts, world, san francisco, new york, los angeles, ANDY WARHOL, JOSEPH ALBERS, ELLSWORTH KELLY, CLAES OLDENBURG, ROBERT MOTHERWELL, FRANK STELLA, JAMES ROSENQUIST, ROBERT RAUSCHENBURG, KEITH HARING, CHRISTO, ROBERT INDIANA, ROY LICHTENSTEIN, ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE, ALICE NEAL, ARTISTS, ART, ARTIST, PAINTING, SCULPTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY, SITE SPECIFIC, NAM JUNE PAIK, KENNY SCHARF, LOWELL NESBITT, LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI, ARMAN ARMAN, CHARLES ARNOLDI, CHRIS BURDEN, ART STUDIOS, VIRTUAL REALITY, ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM, PRINT MAKING, ETCHING, PAINTING, HOLOGRAPHY, AFRICAN ART, WOODCARVING,