James K. Tippin
by Amy Blakemore
I used to go on a lot of walks, which allowed me a certain social freedom to explore and observe people in public places. With pedestrian status, it's acceptable to take in as you move. And repeated exposure - taking the same route over and again - inevitably led to the experience of seeing something familiar in new way: a neighbor's yard or ornamentation; the light; an odd rock or leaf; maybe an interesting piece of trash. When possible, I would jam objects into my pockets and take them home, where they would end up in a mess on the table or lost in a drawer, allowing for rediscovery.
That's pretty much how and why I take pictures. Cameras lend purpose to being in public and make observation/exploration acceptable. Instead of picking up stuff, I leave with a flat and squared off record of things and people in space, how they interact and stand in relationship to one another. I use a toy camera, which is a less predictable and controlled form of mediation. It better reflects the way I make images, as record of familiar, but mutable experience. And like memory, there is distortion and a great deal of subjectivity. When the experience of my presence in a situation is somehow translated to a print, I am thrilled because the eyes, mind, and technology have all merged into something legible.