how would you describe what you do?
My work is about telling the story, regardless of whether I am shooting a documentary, a fine art piece, or a portrait, my desire is to reveal, and to tell, the story.
For much of my 32-year career, I grappled with being a photographer. Even though that was my profession, and my passion, I was also very proficient as a writer, a lecturer, and a filmmaker – and I was equally as passionate about all, while I was engaged in them. However, this always created an internal struggle, and that is when I began my quest to find out what I was. After years of searching, I realized – in a very bright-light kind of moment, that I was none of those things – that they were only my tools. In fact… I Am, a Storyteller.
I also feel – have felt for most of my career, that I also have a responsibility to tell the stories that I feel, deep within, are stories worth being told. My desire is to tell the stories that can help to affect change – a positive change, within the world. My desire also, especially with regard to my documentaries, is to show the dignity of those who comprise our world, and to shed light in order to celebrate what we, so much of the time, see only as our differences.
what are you currently working on?
Currently I am working on several documentaries, all in various stages of completion. The documentary, closest to completion, is titled: Roadside Redemption. It is an exploration of the influx in Christianity that is springing up across the highways of our country. This documentary explores the reasons behind this influx, but also delves much deeper – allowing each viewer to draw their own conclusions and to begin a dialog within themselves. The documentary will be released as a large format, photographic exhibition with accompanying videos, in January 2010.
A second documentary, titled: An American Tradition, is a photographic documentary about the traditions of family tobacco farming. My subjects, all from Robertson County, Tennessee, because it is this region that has produced the world’s Dark-Fired Tobacco for centuries, and many of the farms have been farmed by the same families for well over 100 years.
what has had the greatest influence on your work?
This is a difficult question for me to answer concisely, as so many things have had the greatest influences. I suppose, first and foremost, my exposure to so many cultures and people. This, above all else, has caused within me a deep desire to share this with others – in a hope that people will then be able to see those around them… and around the world, in a different – more positive and accepting light.
Also my years in Photojournalism shaped me greatly, as they showed me, first hand, the skewing and half-truths that shaped a great bias within our media. That experience, probably more than any other, sent me on a quest to find the truth in each story, and tell it – completely and allow the viewer to decide.
what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?
Misconceptions? What misconceptions?
Seriously though, I don’t really know the answer to this question. I’m sure that there are numerous misconceptions, but I truly have no idea what they are.
what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?
I suppose I see the main strength of photography is that it is still, for the most part, considered realism – and perceived, by most, as being the truth. And now, with the incredible advancements in digital photography, my medium has become immediate – almost instantaneous – which is a great asset on many fronts but, especially when I am working with indigenous people, as they can see – immediately, how I am portraying them and… I can print out an image, on the spot, and leave it with them.
For me, however, I find great frustration, (with my medium), when I am creating a fine art piece – and this is where I find its weakness. Granted, advancements in technology have given me incredible tools but… there is still something that I envy about the painter.
The ability to create an image, many times an image that never truly existed in reality, though a process of transferring thought and emotion into colors of paints and brush strokes applied on a surface. This, to me, may be one of life’s truest orgasms.
how has technology impacted upon the work you do?
Technology has had, and continues to have, incredible impacts on the work I do. I am still an old film guy, at heart, but the advent, and continued advancements in digital technologies, has allowed me to do my work even better – and far more immediate. It’s interesting, I was just thinking about this one aspect of change earlier today. In the past, I would shoot an assignment, have the film processed (for some assignments at least), and then send the images off to the client. Delivery memos had to be sent and signed. Insurance and shipping charges were incurred, and there always existed he fear that the images would get lost or damaged en route.
Now, I shoot the assignment, download it to my laptop, do a rough edit (and sometimes not), then upload them to my server and notify the client via an email – with a link for the download – and never does the image leave my possession now.
These advancements have also created many new opportunities for experimentation – both from a cost saving factor, and from a tools factor.
New technologies, aside from photographic, have created vast opportunities to connect to people with my work – opportunities that were never available before these advancements.
One of the most amazing things, about these technologies, is that they are truly still in their infancies. Every day I discover something new, even with what has already been developed – as do thousands of others, and we are all able to share these discoveries – again, with immediacy, if we choose, with millions of others. It is like one giant experimental laboratory. It is a most incredible time to be alive.
what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
Be true to yourself and to your passion, (which should be one and the same). Never compromise, if it compromises your integrity, and “always” live from your truth.
where can we find you online?
Everywhere! http://www.davidfarmerie.com is the best place to find a bit about me. I can also be found on the social networking sites – which can be linked to via the links on my website.
what are you reading at the moment?
Everybody Who Was Anybody: The Biography of Gertrude Stein, by Janet Hobhouse.
Brida, by Paulo Coelho.
The Nature of Photographs, by Stephen Shore.
Criticizing Photographs, by Terry Barrett.
what are you listening to at the moment?
Jethro Tull: The Best of Acoustic, and Rachmaninov Piano Concertos.
anything else we should know?
I could probably spend hours – maybe days.