Bucky Miller's Destroyer at the Night Gallery
Bucky Miller's photographs are deceptively simple. Destroyer, Miller's most recent exhibition, is a collection of pieces from the past year that have a quiet but powerful presence.
The show is as much about the sequencing and arrangement of the works as it is about the photos individually. The associations and interactions between images create something beautiful that is best experienced in the space itself (which you can do through December 30th -- so get yourself over to the Night Gallery before the year ends).
We recently caught up with Miller to talk about meaning in his work and to get a feel for his process as a photographer.
Can you talk a little bit about your artistic process? Do you just carry a camera around with you everywhere you go? The photos all seem very spontaneous -- they have this sort of feel that you were just walking around and noticed a certain object or form-- but are they more planned out than that?
I try to always have at least one small camera on me, yes. The actual making of the pictures is usually based out of a direct response to my surroundings. I definitely make better photographs when I'm just out 'doing things' as opposed to being out 'photographing.' Those pictures are never any good. The planning comes later, when I'm faced with a mound of my own prints and I have to figure out what the hell is going on.
Do you have a theme in mind before you start taking photos for a series or does it just grow out of the process itself?
The only thing I try to keep in my mind when making the pictures is the collective weight of my other pictures. The work is built out of associations, so I try hard -- and with frequent futility -- not to repeat myself. The photographs always have some connection to whatever is going on in my life at the time, but this might be incredibly vague or totally nonexistent in the actual picture. What is in the photograph, visually, dictates the meaning. And that thing can be very different than what I photographed or what I was thinking about at the time, which is totally ok. It is usually preferential.