LINDSEY DeWITT INTERVIEW
I actually discovered Lindsey DeWitt’s photography through Instagram. It’s amazing. She is a master at layering images—usually of her face or her eyes—over cosmic and wild landscapes. She’s presently in the process of receiving her PhD at UCLA for Buddhist / Japanese Studies. Check out what she has to say.
You can find her work / play here: http://hasutransitoire.tumblr.com/
Matthew Sherling: What draws you to photography?
Lindsey DeWitt: For me, photography has been a process of self-discovery and reflection. My interest took an academic turn when I started traveling to Japan. Capturing the beauty of moments in a foreign place, by myself, became somewhat of an obsession. Self-portraiture became a way of situating myself in these moments. That logic underlies my approach to photography - it’s always a learning experience and an experiment in imagery and self-discovery. And it’s just fun!
Matthew Sherling: What brought you to Japan and have you done other extensive traveling?
Lindsey DeWitt: My love for Japan was originally cultivated in Wyoming, the product of random and inexplicable causes and conditions. A place so different and so far led me to study the language, and then the history, culture, and religious traditions. This led me to continue my education (M.A. and now Ph.D) in Japanese Studies and spend many summers abroad. My wanderlust has also led me to travel extensively in the US (RVing in the summertime!), as well as Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Still never been to Europe…in due time.
Matthew Sherling: Sounds like a potent life you’ve led. How have your Japanese studies affected your perception of art and your worldview?
Lindsey DeWitt: Experiencing difference, diversity, and the colors of the world - all of which Japanese Studies has been a great vehicle for. Japanese art, past and present, is similarly inspiring. Inspiration is bursting out of every moment, no matter what you are doing or where you are. All it takes is seeing.
MS: Absolutely. Do you work in any mediums besides photography?
LD: I’m a writer by trade, so imagery (and music, of course!) is the perfect way to express my thoughts and vision in a different form. I have always considered myself poor at drawing, painting, even handwriting!
MS: Do you make music?
Also, I saw that you study Buddhism. Can you say anything about how that has impacted your art?
LD: I have been known to carry a tune and strum a bit of guitar, but really I’m just a music lover, detective, connoisseur. Actually, we’ve developed a small army of like minded musical beings on IG and we trade playlists regularly.
Buddhism…I get questions like this all time time. I wouldn’t have devoted the past ten years of my life to studying something I didn’t find fascinating, insightful, and personally meaningful. So in that sense, it impacts everything I do. The idea that everything is connected and we are all gems in the diamond canvas of cosmic existence - these ideas turn me on and influence just about everything I do.
MS: I’ve noticed that “cosmic” element in your photographs.
What’s your perception of the Internet, smart phones, etc. Where is all this taking us?
LD: Right on! Yes, the cosmic dreaminess of IT all certainly inspires my shots.
Technology…as much as I love books and bookstores and page-turning, having an iPhone really rocked my world. For me it opened up amazing new avenues of creativity and knowledge. Study tools and translators, a mobile photography and editing station, instant connection to the entire world. Of course absurd noise accompanies that, but music detectives are pretty keen on filtering out the bad, eh? I refrain from speculating too much about the future, but I will say that it looks bright and there is no end in sight, nor would I ask for one. Oh, yeah, and the internet. Infinite.
MS: As a last question, what’s one book and one album you would recommend to the reader?
LD: Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips.