In advance of launching our 4th round CSA (shares go on sale Monday, September 19), we are publishing short interviews with the six featured photographers to get to know them and their work a bit better. First up is Rachael Banks.
Tell us about the flowers in your work.
I am interested in the parallel between my sentimental attachments to flowers and how/when they are used in specific social situations. I have early memories from my childhood of my dad planting (and assigning) specific flowers to me and my siblings. For example, when my brother was born my dad planted a rose bush and for me he always planted gerber daisies or snapdragons. On holidays and special occasions, I always bring my dad irises. I’ve collected flowers from personal moments, occasions, and events as a way to document my life as opposed to writing in a journal. Typically, flowers are purchased for celebratory, commemorative or decorative purposes, but also when asking for forgiveness. While I have saved flowers from these typical social/personal situations, I may also buy a dozen daisies in response to feelings of sadness, that I later store in a labeled jar or bag. The jar or bag becomes a physical representation of a memory or emotion and while it sometimes can appear to be a compulsive act, it is one that I find to be cathartic.
Place is important in your photography. Even your Instagram posts list the city and state where the image was created. Why?
Place serves two functions for my work in that it represents my identity but also serves as a physical map for memory. I always cite what city and state I am in when I make an image so that I can collectively track how my geographic location relates (if at all) to trends in the work I am making. When I was living in Dallas, TX, I made a lot of work that reacted to my feelings towards not living in my hometown of Louisville, KY. However, now that I live in the midwest again, I am not under the same emotional and physical influences that I was motivated to make work about compared to a year ago. Place is significant in my work because it is frequently informed by how I react to existing within an environment.
How was the ILFORD paper selection process for you? What are your impressions of their catalog of papers? (ILFORD has generously donated paper to each of the photographers to use for their CSA photographs.)
I found the ILFORD paper selection process to be easy, because one of my favorite papers was part of the catalog. I’ve used the Smooth Pearl paper a few times and have always been pleased with the high print quality I get from printing my color portraits. My personal paper preferences have always gravitated towards luster or semi-gloss papers, and I was pleased to discover that Smooth Pearl is a versatile paper that exceeds professional standards without completely draining your wallet. Upon reviewing the entire inkjet paper catalog, I wasn’t surprised to see that ILFORD has and continues to deliver exceptional products that positively contribute to the fine art photography community.