We had a short talk with Michael Ackerman on the occasion of a workshop he gives in Athens with Stéphane Charpentier and Alyssa Moxley.
Nowadays, building various photography projects based on specific subject matters or concepts is really popular. On the other hand, your work seems to be one life project as a whole in which pictures are interconnected in a deeper way. How do you handle such a difficult choice?
It’s not a choice. It’s how things turned out. When I was younger I did work on certain separate projects but for a long time now it has been, as you say, a life project. It takes different turns and different forms over the years, it evolves, but it’s all connected…. but I really would like to do some things that could be their own separate projects.
Apart from being a photographer, you have also been teaching and giving workshops for years. What makes you interested in the teaching procedure? Furthermore, why do you think that visual education is necessary?
First, it’s a job. I don’t get any commercial work. I’m almost never asked to take pictures or get paid for them. This is pretty much the only paid work I get. And teaching is not something that comes naturally to me, even if sometimes I am good at it. It’s a big effort for me to speak in front of people. I do try to understand every individual participant in a workshop and understand how I can help them and I feel very responsible for each of them. I wish to give them a feeling of greater possibility, freedom from external expectations, a feeling of optimism.
Please allow me a question linked with a personal feeling of mine. Your pictures remind me of Béla Tarr’s movies. I feel that both works are made without judgment, in total acceptance of what they talk about. Would you find any kind of connection?
Thank you for the compliment. I have never seen a complete Béla Tarr film but I have seen some scenes and they are mind blowing. I would never compare myself to him and can’t tell you what the connection is – I think maybe you could do that.
You are in Athens invited by VOID to give a workshop. At the end of the workshop, an open presentation/performance is going to take place at the Institut Français d’Athènes. What are you going to present?
An intense Image & Sound Performance presented by 13 photographers and 4 sound artists after one creative week instructed by Michael Ackerman, Stéphane Charpentier, Alyssa Moxley. Void will produce a limited edition publication which will be presented during the performance night.
20:00 Performance from the Image & Sound workshop (50min)
22:00 Projections in the courtyard
– Film “Pieces of time that we taped on the hills” by Stéphane Charpentier & Alyssa Moxley (8min50)
– Film “Birds” by Michael Ackerman (5min)
– Photographic film “Watermark” by Michael Ackerman (11min)
This project is kindly supported by the French Institute of Athens and Paris.
Institut Français d’Athènes – Amphitheater “Theo Angelopoulos” – Sina 31