Gregory Krum was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and studied biology, sculpture and design at Portland State University. After a study abroad program in Italy with the University of Georgia he relocated to New York where he received his Master’s degree in studio art from New York University and the International Center for Photography. His work has been shown in venues such as the Armory Show, Spencer Brownstone Gallery, Soren Christiansen Gallery in New Orleans and most recently Jen Bekman Gallery. He was awarded the Jack Goodman Scholarship for Art and Technology and his work has been written about and published in the Paris-based magazine Purple. In 2007 he was co-curator of an art exhibition entitled ‘The Wrong Store’ with Kantor/Feuer gallery in New York. Working within the genres of landscape and interior, Krum’s work explores diverse themes such as love, failure, commerce, and desire within a larger context of space and organization. His subjects have included dust, devotional offerings, seaside villages, and Parisian houseboats.
Many of your photographs have a trespassing feel to them. Is this intentional? ‘Sort of. Often there is a lot of effort to remove as much as possible any evidence of the camera, its optics or the feeling that someone was there taking a picture. For me, however, I wanted the camera to be very present. But it probably feels like trespassing because I generally was. It was not about asking for permission it was about ducking in, using a chair on a table as a tripod and making the picture while no one was looking’.
What inspired your Hard Times series?
‘I was really interested in two things at once, the sort of formal concern with the actual arrangement of objects and the palette of spaces and then exploring the delicate emotional stories carried within these interiors, especially ones that are caught off guard. This was the beginning of a search for the type of picture I wanted to make, but did not know what it should look like. I knew all the things I didn’t want it to be: cruel, heroic, sappy, clean, desolate, I was trying to find an antidote to the ironic and also to the documentary’.
It looks as though you have been working on this series for a number of years, are you constantly on the lookout for Interiors Considering Varying Degrees of Failure?
‘Yes, because it was not something that I could in any way create or research or even expect to find. It was not an investigation of, say, my friends’ homes, or a document of people living in a particular place. But for years I was really searching, although now I think the series is finished. The final pictures were made last summer in Sri Lanka, in a house that the writer Paul Bowles used to own. The current owner has a perfectly framed tattered flag, I guess from a previous boat or something named Hard Times’.
Do you carry your camera with you all the time or only when you have a specific project in mind?
‘I make most of my work while away from New York, so while traveling, I always have the camera with me. Recently, however, I have been focusing on more specific subjects, disparate things like dust in the air, a village in China, or devotional offerings in Indonesia, but all somehow related to the theme of arrangement and visual language. So now a lot of time is spent figuring out exactly what I will photograph and then I’ll go with the camera and do it’.