Dylan Nelson: “Familiar objects can produce an uneasiness”

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Dylan Nelson was studying at Massachusetts College of Art when the idea for Amber Gambler struck him.

“At the time I wasn’t sure what sort of project to begin and I would go on walks through Boston photographing odd things I encountered,” the 27 year old explains. “Eventually this turned into a reactionary process where I would make a photograph and then respond to it by making a new image that shared a similar composition or formal quality. It became a ‘call and response’, from one image to the next.”

Nelson deliberately played with perspective and scale as he was shooting, using a long lens to compress distance and space, and the result is a deliberately disjointed, elusive set of images that puts the viewer off track. “Familiar objects can produce an uneasiness,” he says. “The specific locations are irrelevant; the images contain details that could essentially be from any urban area. I was often drawn to architectural ‘mishaps’, refuse, signage, and inorganic and organic matter. The photographs of these elements that are blended together into a flattened space have collage-like properties. Once I started to make these images, various amalgamations appeared everywhere.

“I would shoot in the middle of the day when the light was bright and ‘bad’ in order to challenge myself and break away from the romance of my previous work,” he adds. “In a similar way to watching daytime television, you can come across very bizarre things during the middle of the afternoon while everyone else is at work.”

Nelson has now finished his studies and is currently living in New York, where he’s now concentrating on producing work in a studio. “I have been making images that are more preconceived rather than ‘happening upon’ things,” he says. “Working in a studio interests me most right now.”

See more of Dylan’s work here.