Interview by Chloe Goodwin.






Chloe Goodwin: Why did you decide to take a photography class?


Tony Bator: I was looking for a less traditional academic class and I happened to see Sharon’s on the list of available freshman seminars. I didn’t really have any experience—I took a few art classes in high school but that’s really it—so I thought this would be a fun direction to go in.


CG: How did you end up liking it?


TB: I loved it. It was really an enjoyable class; I learned a lot and picked up a new hobby.

CG: Your project is really interesting, and definitely a unique approach. How did you create these images? 

TB: At first I did a lot of double exposures on the film itself. I’d use up a roll of film and then put it through the camera again and take another set of pictures. I experimented a lot and would use the same film five or six times, but the images wouldn’t turn out well—they were very cluttered. There’s a balance you have to maintain and when there are that many exposures it’s 


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just too much. Other times I would scan pictures on top of each other or photoshop them together. For those I would take some rolls of film specifically meant to be the background and other rolls meant to be the subject. Putting them on top of each other in camera is a lot more spontaneous; you can never really predict what happens. Sometimes it turns out great but other times it looks messy. Using photoshop gives you a lot more control.  


CG: Very cool, it makes your photos really intriguing. You have to study them to see what’s going on. What was your inspiration in doing this?


TB: It started with just defamiliarizing images, then it became specifically defamiliarizing people and places. A lot of the reason why I chose this approach was simply the visual effect—like there’s one picture with a girl who’s head is hidden in the sky. I was working with the background picture and thought her head would look good there, so I put them together.




CG: That one’s actually my favorite picture in the bunch. Can you say a bit more on that one?


TB: It’s actually three pictures put together. There’s the background one of the sunset that was just really beautiful, and then there’s a girl sitting on a bed with her hair in front of her face. Another picture of the same girl is on top of that, but this time it’s her profile with a bit of her hair falling into a cloud. That one was added later through photoshop, but I actually didn’t even mean to do that with her hair and the cloud, it just fell into place like that.


CG:  It works really well, it’s almost like a dream. How did you get into taking multiple exposures in the first place?


TB: It started with an assignment we had pretty early on about time. I used double exposure with some family pictures and really liked the trippy, surreal feeling, so I kept going with it. 


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CG: Surreal is the right word, they really draw you in. You said you were aiming to defamiliarize people and places—who are the people and where are the places?


TB: I shot a lot around here and in Boston. Also a lot at my house. I live in Cambridge so I’d go home a lot and photograph my neighborhood. The people are mostly my girlfriend and my family—a lot of my two younger brothers. Some are in my girlfriend’s house in Connecticut. I also took some pictures in my dorm and of my roommates, but I didn’t end up using those. Dorm rooms don’t look very interesting and my roommates seem uncomfortable in their photos. That’s something that surprised me—how hard it is to take a good portrait. You really need to know the person well so they feel comfortable with you. 




CG: Well the fact that you know your subjects so well makes the project even more interesting—something that looks so foreign to the viewer is so familiar to you. Do you think you’ll continue with photography?


TB: I might take another class and I want to comp the Crimson in the fall, but I’m not going to take it too far. Through this class I discovered new hobby that I’m sure I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life.


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Tony is a freshman from Massachusetts, concentrating in Psychology.  He took his first photo class this fall with Sharon Harper.


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