The smell of coconut oil juxtaposed with the image of local natives settling into the afternoon sun. The touch of sand reinforcing the texture of weather-tested boardwalk platforms. The taste of cotton candy as clouds drift by basking in the pink light of sunset. The sounds of giddy screams piercing through the criss-cross of rollercoasters and streaming lights. The final reveal at the PIXMA PRO City Senses installation of Canon PIXMA PRO printers producing the collection of intimate Coney Island moments, all shot by local photographers, Aaron Warkov and Robin Riley, and host Norman Reedus (AMC’s The Walking Dead). These same images that attendees could touch, feel and inspect in a tactile manner were on display across the walls of Chelsea-based Venue 404. Frontrunner Editor Michael Fasciano sat down with the photographers of the evening.
Q : How did you approach capturing such an iconic setting in Coney Island?
A / Aaron Warkov: You know, it’s funny wrestling with the interplay of the old and the new. All the new attractions and roller coasters, mixed in with the aftermath of Sandy… and then once you hit the boardwalk and beach, it’s as if you’ve time-traveled back to the vintage heyday with folks who have been vacationing there for decades.
Q: What was it like working with Canon PIXMA PRO on this installation?
A / Robin Riley: The real challenge was in just how few requirements and guidelines were set. Canon gave us the sense triggers and told us to return with photos in a week. Being given that type of freedom is exciting – but also intimidating when you’re working with a brand like Canon. It’s like you’re working with you’re old idol and you don’t want to let them down. Watching the photos print out on the PIXMA PRO with such sharpness and detail was a moment of excitement and relief.
Norman Reedus, host of the event and best known for roles in AMC’s The Walking Dead and Boondock Saints offered Frontrunner his thoughts on the show:
Q: How would you describe your creative process? In what ways did that process manifest itself in the execution of this show?
I like to keep things on the fly. So when I was in Georgia filming the television show I took my photos on set.
Q: How did you land on the concept for this show? Why partner with Canon?
A / Norman: It seemed interesting to do because I’m constantly looking for new ways to take and print photographs. I like the challenge of working with the PIXMA PRO printer to interpret ideas and thoughts through different senses. It’s interesting to me. I like printing things out and putting them on the wall. I’m all about the power of the print. It seems like nowadays everything is on an iPad or iPhone or whatever.
I used to actually admire printing and framing. Did you ever go to Collective Hardware? That’s a gallery I started with some friends of mine here in New York. It was on Franklin and Franklin. I love tangible experiences. We would do shows and make short films and I mean, crazy stuff. We were going for the whole Warhol type of vibe. Then we moved it to the Bowery and Kenmare. That place, we had a five story building. Having a stage to experiment with new things is huge. I did a life size statue of myself out of 8 pounds of poly-urethane. We had a glass box that I filled full of rats. I’ve done lots of shows. They’re all memorable.
Q: In 2005 you were in an auto accident in Germany and suffered injuries to your face, resulting in surgery on your eye. Coming out that, what does it mean for you to really see? How does art help you express that?
A: I was hit by an 18 wheeler. When I was in the hospital after the surgery, the first thing I did was pick up a camera and make a movie about being inside Miles Davis’ head. I like tangible experiences. I hope the audience tonight appreciates that kind of thing with the prints.