Curate 757

S6 E2 | FULL EPISODE

Tom Siegmund

Tom Siegmund, Professor of Art and head of the photography department at the Visual Center at Tidewater Community College, is a working artist who specializes in fine art photography and has exhibited his work since the early 90s. His work features world building compositions that focus on home and domesticity.

AIRED: November 03, 2021 | 0:07:34
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TRANSCRIPT

(soft music)

(bright pop rock music)

- So I'm taking my cues

from this real intimate place that I call home,

and I'm applying it to the space beyond this space.

(bright pop rock music)

We kept moving further and further out,

trying to get more space.

And you know, when I am here, you know, I'm pretty content.

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(camera shutter clicking)

♪ Whoa ♪

♪ Whoa ♪

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- I never really did a lot of still lives

'til my first home I bought,

and I just start to actively change that home

and renovate, you know,

and where a lot of things came together.

I became real aware of objects.

I'd find things, strange things.

I like having a bunch of stuff in the studio that are,

this little pile's growing,

and that little pile was growing,

and I sorta get to feel it out, you know?

And then eventually, I realized,

I think I can do something with this now.

♪ Whoa ♪

(bright pop rock music)

- I like the ideation phase.

I like this incubation period.

I like the studying and thinking about the work,

the individual pieces, and how it's all coming together.

As I began to figure things out,

you know, I think I've become more sensitive over the years.

♪ Whoa ♪

- I think it all comes back to home.

You know, a home, a nest, roots.

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I might stay enough just for a test shot.

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I want the thing to look like what I want it to look like.

And I want the shadows to be set,

and I want the lighting to be set.

And I want the composition to be what I want it to be,

the cropping and the framing.

I want that all to be the way that I imagine it to be,

so as I kind of make stuff and I work,

I'm doing test shots along the way,

just to see photographically

if it's gonna look like what's in my head.

I'm constantly running back to the house

to check it on the big screen, see what it looks like.

(calm music)

For the most part,

the thing is built the way I want it to.

So I'm just getting some light on it,

and seeing how that looks.

And then, you know, you can see here,

I've made some notes based on my observation, you know,

on the printed setup,

some things I need to lighten up or darken or so forth.

So I think that that's really cool.

Once I get it off the table

and I get it on the computer and I think it looks good,

then the detail work can be kind of exciting.

That straight horizon line really bugged me.

So that was one of my earlier kind of changes.

It almost like the curvature of the earth,

and then everything else is sort of piecing it together.

(calm music)

You know, the older you get, you become a better teacher.

And it's probably because, you know,

at some point in time that you realize that

there are probably relationships, the most important thing.

(calm music)

I characterize myself as a teaching artist,

so I'm working and I'm teaching.

So I get to tell that to students, it's like, hey,

you know, I'm working hard too, you know?

I have the same schedule, you know,

I have the same, you know, deadlines, and hey...

(stammers) Welcome to deadlines, you know?

'Cause I understand what you're going through.

So I just think that it's, to be fair,

I should be working hard if I'm expecting them to work hard.

And I think that's worked well for me.

I think they've seen that, you know?

They can see that around town

and they can certainly look at my website and see that.

And so I think they feel better about it.

You know, the first day of school, I said, you know,

"Hey, you should look at my website.

"You know, I really like doing this."

"I really do."

And you know, if someone were gonna be bossing me around

for the semester,

I'd want to know what they did.

And it's like, I think you should take a look,

and so, I think it helps out.

(calm music)

I really try to take my cues

from the world that I live in.

(bright guitar music)

What I'm supposed to make, what I'm supposed to do.

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Some of the work that I've done

is speaking to current events,

and this political place that we're in,

this awful political place, kind of working through that.

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Some of this work has probably helped me do that.

You'd see that some of the titles.

"Land of Promise", "No Hope Road",

is probably that frustration and anxiety, you know,

building these houses on these cliff structures.

I think, you know, it's coming from that.

I feel genuinely, you know, sad

about the fact that we can't treat each other nicely.

(bright guitar music)

You know, that's probably one of the things with animals.

I can do something, I can make a dog's life terrific.

I can affect that, you know?

Dogs, I think they want to be

in the same space as you are generally.

So I think they're pretty trusting for the most part.

I think the first dog that Missy and I got together

was Casper, this Weimaraner.

And when we just started to photograph him,

just in the normal kind of snapshot way

that you photograph your animals

and realize that he's really photogenic.

And we realized that not only that,

but he'll do whatever you want him to do.

You know, I mean, I literally like tell him,

"Look at the camera,"

and he would just, you know, stare into the camera

until I tell him to do something else.

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Coming? (gate clanking)

You know, I have some horses here.

Now, they, horses are totally different.

You know, they're skeptical of everything.

The first time I ever thought, "Oh cool, we've got horses."

I'm starting to take a picture, waving a camera around.

You know, they just get really weird.

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I'll be photographing them a little bit,

but they're quite different.

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It's amazing how you do what I would characterize

as a nice piece of work

that kind of stays relevant.

That nice piece of work stays relevant.

I guess that's the work that I reflect on the most.

The idea is to kind of make the work

that will speak that way.

And it doesn't always work.

You know, it's not always,

I don't know what the word is, temporal or timeless,

but some of the work is, and that's really rewarding.

(bright guitar music)

(bright guitar music)

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