POINT OF ENTRY: An Interview with Fernando Gallegos
brettcodyrogers.eth
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Obscura DAO
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March 25th, 2022

By Aaron Anderson

POINT OF ENTRY #1 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission
POINT OF ENTRY #1 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission

AA: I want to ask you about your first experiences with photography. What drew you to the medium? What was your first camera and when did you feel the "calling" as they like to say?

FG: Since I can remember I was interested in film and photography, my grandfather used to have some weird old cameras in his studio, those 3d 35mm cameras and other stuff. The first camera I remember owning for myself must be the Gameboy camera, but I believe the camera with which I learned photography was a Minolta x700. I think I felt “the calling” when I saw American Surfaces by Stephen Shore, it was just so strange to me that one of the most respected living art photographers was making such mundane images, it got me wondering how is it that photography works as an art, from there I couldn’t stop thinking about it to this day.

POINT OF ENTRY #6 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission
POINT OF ENTRY #6 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission

AA: Your work takes a very minimal approach, where you lock in on something that you wish to focus on, it could be a shape, a pattern, a color, or even a source of light. Was this a conscious decision for you? Or was this something that came naturally?

FG: In retrospect I don’t think I ever had an option, I did try to make “good” photographs at one point, I am trained as a cinematographer, so in filmmaking I do make more traditional images. But the way I understand photography, it is a medium that allows us to share a point of entry to a particular state of mind, and not a medium that is used to describe what is in front of me. I approach things as I think they feel, and try to connect to a state of mind. I think that looking at my photographs is an opportunity to get lost in thought in a very “unimportant” way.

POINT OF ENTRY #13 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission
POINT OF ENTRY #13 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission

AA: There is something I noticed about your voice on Twitter – you speak as someone who has not only a deep passion for photography but also someone with a lot of knowledge about the art form. I am always learning from your Tweets new ways to think about photography as an art form, but also the potential the NFT space has opened up for photography. Are you formally taught in photo theory? Or is this the voice of someone who loves photography and took a fascination to it?

FG: Thank you for that, I think my voice comes just from thinking a lot, as I mentioned before, since that first time I took a look at American Surfaces I couldn’t stop thinking about the way form connects with content and emotion. I started looking for that in literature and poetry too. Then I tried to decipher how that happens in other forms of art like painting and music, to attempt to understand the way memory and dreams work. I think you could say that my voice comes from obsessive curiosity. I did eventually get an MFA in Visual Arts but that came just recently. As far as I can think my voice came from years of trial and error.

POINT OF ENTRY #11 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission
POINT OF ENTRY #11 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission

AA: How was it being accepted as one of the first selections of Foundry artists? How was it working with Obscura?

FG: In general, it’s amazing to be test running this new model for the creation of grants for art production. I’ve been involved with Obscura since the beginning so being part of the first generation didn’t come as a surprise, for me the idea is test running the model so it can be of use for further generations of the program. Besides that, this grant has been a breath of fresh air that pushed me to create new work in a moment that I didn’t think I would have the time. I’m very grateful for that.

POINT OF ENTRY #3 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission
POINT OF ENTRY #3 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission

AA:  To me your work for the Obscura Foundry Commission, Point of Entry captures the essence of photography which is the study and exploration between the relationship of light and darkness. Point of Entry does such a phenomenal job expressing that. What was the motivation behind this decision to focus on the relationship between playing with light within the dead of night?

FG: The way I work, the concept comes from the experience itself of making the photographs. This work was made in the little window of time when I actually had the time to go out and make photographs. But that window of time symbolically was fitting for the way my life has been the last year in front of a lightbox such as a computer screen. I wanted to push the viewer a little to try and see into the darker parts of the image in a way that made them want to turn the screen’s brightness up, following the idea of looking for something just beyond what’s most evident in the image.

POINT OF ENTRY #18 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission
POINT OF ENTRY #18 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission

AA:  I recently started attempting night photography and it taught me so much, I am finding that a lot of it is problem-solving for lack of light (at least with film photography). How did it feel to be out in the deep of nightfall working on this project? Any personal revelations or unique experiences that came from doing that?

FG: The direction the light is coming from is very important. There’s a big conceptual difference between a light pointing at you and a light you point at something. Not a big revelation, but something that I think sometimes I forget.

POINT OF ENTRY #21 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission
POINT OF ENTRY #21 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission

AA: Were there any specific challenges in image-making at night for you?

FG: Focusing without a lamp.

AA: Your artist statement for this project states that your approach was about photographing the parallels of "real life" and the appeal of the "digital life," along with the space within these objects that seemingly have an innate sense of discovery hidden behind them. What did you discover during your time within that space beyond?

FG: We never know what we’ll find just beyond the surface, be it a conversation in front of a computer screen or a wall with some marks.

POINT OF ENTRY #4 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission
POINT OF ENTRY #4 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission

AA: How has your experience within the NFT space been? Give me the good and the bad.

FG: I think everything is bad and good at the same time. This space is not anything yet, we’ve seen just possibilities of what it can become, and there are some pretty good possibilities that we have already been exploring. However, as long as we don’t tame it, most of it will be bad. It’s important for me to recognize that in a way that allows me to start correcting what can be corrected in order to finally get to the good parts. There is a large possibility for making the space something good if we put in the work.

POINT OF ENTRY #23 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission
POINT OF ENTRY #23 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission

AA: Now that you have completed the Foundry Commission for Obscura, what's next for you? Anything you feel like sharing with the community?

FG: I plan to keep working on creating a historical context in the NFT space. At the same time, to keep making photographs. I just began working on a project that I expect to be working on for the next couple of years. I am also working on editing photo books for other artists, and selling photo books at my bookstore, so I expect to be very busy at least next year.

POINT OF ENTRY #10 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission
POINT OF ENTRY #10 by Fernando Gallegos, Obscura Foundry Commission

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