Interview by David Fulton Howard
David Fulton Howard: You have four projects for this class. Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration behind some of them?
Tati Peralta-Quiros: I wanted to explore a lot and see what different techniques I could do with technology, which was the idea of the class – just seeing how technology and photography intersected. The first project was about time; it’s a scroll that’s about 200 inches long or so. It’s a play on time and space, you being in a place, but that place changes in your mind.
DFH: What’s the significance of the black and white photos versus the color ones in this project?
TPQ: The whole scroll is supposed to mimic a contact sheet; I want to accentuate the imaginary aspects of the color ones, which are completely out of place. The black and white ones are the ones where you supposedly are, which is in the library – I guess I space out a lot there when I’m supposed to be doing work… [laughs]
DFH: What is the next project about? Did you have any themes in mind when you were making it?
TPQ: This one is about perception. I made a kaleidoscope and shot through it. I was trying to see the visual characteristics of what I could shoot through a kaleidoscope. It was very much about perception.
DFH: How did you make the kaleidoscope?
TPQ: I researched it online, but it’s basically an equilateral triangle made of mirrors, so I bought big mirrors and made a really big kaleidoscope.
DFH: The last two projects look related. What was the idea behind them?
TP: I was using a Geographical Information Systems mapping program to look at historical photographers and processing their images through it. I took some Ansel Adams pictures and made a lot of layers and calculated the hill shape and slope. I then took three FSA [Farm Security Administration] photographers—Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, and Dorothea Lange—and looked at where the photos were actually taken and how we’re recording that place now.
So these were the government pictures of this place at this time [taken by the FSA], and then these are the pictures of the same place nowadays by the US Geological Survey, and this is how they compare to each other. Right now the images from the USGS take aerial photography and from that we can determine the hill shape and the terrain, the slope. So I took a picture that had been taken more for artistic purposes, but processed it like it was a modern image from the Geological Survey.