Editor’s note: Listen Up is a Q&A featuring locals in the arts and culture community.
This week: Bruce Warren, a photographer from Eau Claire. His show, “Edifices and Artifacts,” can be seen Friday through March 3 at The Volume One Gallery, 205 N. Dewey St. There will be an opening reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday.
What types of photos does this exhibit display?
They are going to be architectural in a sense, but not your true architectural renderings.
I focus in more on certain aspects of the building, certain details, sometimes to the point of abstraction.
I’m not really concerned about putting them into context of where they are, so not your usual straight ahead architectural photo.
What inspired you to capture these scenes?
I’ve been doing this for years. I wander around Eau Claire, different places. The last few years I’ve been sticking closer to home, most of these are in Eau Claire or around Eau Claire, maybe Altoona and Chippewa Falls.
I’m always attracted to different designs, lines, shadows and reflections in buildings and in architecture.
Where does the exhibit title come from?
A few years ago I was taking a photograph in Phoenix Park, focused downriver doing more of a landscape. I turned around, looked at the RCU building and all the glass in there was reflecting the clouds. I thought “wow, it really is sort of an edifice.”
That piece is in the show.
Artifacts are just bits and pieces here and there, things that are old or things that catch my eye. Not architecture necessarily, just things. Photography is an artifact itself, and a lot of these things are not even in existence anymore.
Is there a time frame these photos were taken?
As it turns out, it actually ends up being in a sense a retrospect of this part of my work. At least one piece in here that goes clear back to the late 1980s — 1988 or 1989 — all the way up to some things that I did this summer.
With all of the building that’s been going on (the Confluence Arts Center, Altoona’s riverfront park), it’s opened up a lot more opportunities for me to photograph.
Will viewers recognize the locations?
I don’t try to put them in context. If you’ve been in Eau Claire for anytime at all you might recognize these things.
They don’t scream where they are, but if you look hard enough you might figure it out. Some of them don’t even exist anymore, but if you’re an old-time Eau Claire resident you might remember it.
Is there a piece that speaks most to you?
Every picture has a story. Sometimes it means something to me, and you look at it and wouldn’t think anything about it. There are times I’ve had to do somethings that probably weren’t the safest or smartest to do — some are hard to get, kept going back, some might be five years in the making.
What do you use to create your photos?
I use film, a 4-by-5 view camera with a black cloth that goes over my head and all that.
I have to load my own things, two to a holder. It’s all old-school. And I use a wooden field camera too, looks really old. I think it was made in 1992. I bought it brand new then.
The photos are black and white, too.
What do you hope people get out of show?
I hope people enjoy it, maybe figure out where some things are. A lot of people said to me, “seen that 100 times but never thought of it that way. You gave me a different perspective.” That’s what I hope people take away from it.
— Katy Macek