Jacqueline Badeaux “I think life needs more mystery and a person made anonymous in a photograph with motion, bleach, overexposure or under, or bad focus is more beautiful to me.”
When I am preparing an interview I study the photographer thoroughly. In your case I had the distinct feeling I was in a weird dream. What is your take on reality?
Travel is always inspiring to me, but I never want to take a photo that looks like something that just says that I was there. I want to show motion, mystery, nostalgia, and yes, very much also the trace of a memory of a dream. But I cant always travel, I work as a teacher, and struggle financially. Its nice to remember that anyone can stay where they are and feel like they are travelling if they just look at things a little bit differently. Some of my favorite images have come about that way, from limitations and trying to create a new reality from the one I live in everyday.
Trying to categorise your pictures I would say they roughly consist of abstract figures in a non descript flat background. Every photo is unexpected but consistent with your style. How did you evolve into this?
School helped me only to a certain extent. All my teachers were so scared of a photo out of focus, dust on the negatives, or development going wrong with bad chemicals. I dropped out and built my own darkroom in my bathroom and felt much happier to embrace imperfection and enjoy the surprises. Certain mistakes I made turned out to be the greatest ones. Its such a rewarding experience. I also think life needs more mystery. And a person made anonymous in a photograph with motion, bleach, overexposure or under, or bad focus is more beautiful to me. It requires people to imagine what is really going on, beyond what they see.
When did you start photography? What led you to use film?
I started shooting black and white and working in the darkroom when I was 16 years old, so 14 years ago. I stayed with black and white, developing myself and printing for about 5 years until finally I felt ready to move on to color film. To me, its the surprises. To take a roll of film from even just a day ago and develop in my bathroom and then scan them myself makes it feel like the photos are from years ago. The unpredictable aspect of it is what keeps me doing this. I feel like a child playing. I still get a rush when the negatives come out. It makes me feel lucky to get these images. I hope my luck doesnt run out. It feels like magic.
” I am not an artist or intellectual I just have an internet access and like old book and films “. That was very modest for your unique creations, what more does an artist do anyway?
I think its true. I wish I lived more of a creative life. Instead I live inside of these images. One day I will write stories for every one of them. I think an artist should be creating always, but also be living a life that is liberated, wild, carefree. My mundane life of going to work and paying rent is not an artist life, to me. I want more. For now, I escape to the places I create. Texas is ugly, life sometimes feels boring, but I have learned how to make it beautiful. One day I hope to live more like an artist.
I must ask of your influences.
I am influenced by cinematography in movies. The images, stories, characters, and feelings from movies of my hero Andre Tarkovsky (and his polaroids). Also very much David Lynch (And his paintings), Jim Jarmusch, and Tim Burton. The endless inspiration from paintings of Francis Bacon and Dado. Photographs from Francesca Woodman, Sally Mann, William Eggleston, Anton Corbjin. Drawings by Shaun Tan. The genuis writing of Charlie Kaufman screenplays. The life of Patti Smith and Captain Beefheart. Books by William Burroughs and Keuroac. The poetry of Rimbaud. Always and not last, Elvis.
I have noticed that you also draw and make videos. How do all these combine, what is your vision?
If only there were time to do it all. I have taken up projects recently of making music videos for artist that I respect and love. I have used my phone and apps and apps and apps to make it have the same feeling of my photographs- layers of images and dust, strange colors and that antiquated feeling to it. I have so many stories in my head- Im working now to make a little horror movie with my friends for their music. I would also love to learn about animation- I work with kids so I have written a story that I tell them when I push them on the swings.
Now, on the technical part, how do you treat your films to get such results? Is it the film, the development or the printing? Please describe me your creative process.
I develop color with c-41 at home. And black and white with regular developer and fixer. Sometimes I soak them in all kinds of nasty chemicals or sometimes I spot directly on the negative to be a little bit more in control of where it is distorted. I use pinhole cameras. Toy cameras. Cameras I built. Also a Nikon f3. I use different filters or things I put on lens to make it look more interesting. I use a flashlight to paint with light. Fog machines. Any tricks possible to add layers to an image. Sometimes I reshoot on a previously exposed roll of film. Its all very playful. As of now, I only shoot with 35mm but I am working hard to go to large format eventually. A lot of my color negatives that you see online have not been printed yet, though they have been scanned with a great scanner- nikon 4000.
Do you have plans for the future like an exhibition or a book? Is there something that you would like to reach?
I have experience printing my own black and white images in a darkroom and I have yet to find space available so that I can go on to print my own color negatives myself. Sending off the scans to a place to print for me never gives me the results I dream of. Until I can master that myself, or at least understand the process well enough to make sure the print is true to the original image, they will stay in the prison of instagram and my computer. My goal is to print my 35mm negatives as big as possible, without loosing detail or color for exhibit. I also hope eventually to shoot with large format so its less of an issue getting a high resolution big print. I have the idea to make a book of my images with a story or poem in the page next to it. I also hope that I continue to learn and grow as someone trying to make moving images- any type of video that is reminiscent of my world I have created with my photographs.