Q. A sense of time is everywhere in your photographs. I asked the above question in part, because your photographs convey not only the stillness in the scene, but allude to stillness in you. As a photographer, I know that there can be a frenzy of activity behind the camera that results in the most placid of shots, but I wonder if this is the case with you? Are you a calm and methodical worker, or a ‘hair on fire, sweating while you stand’ photographer?
“Depends on where and when. I like to explore new places, and do that often by bicycle. I find that a bicycle provides an excellent pace for seeing new places, like cities and sections of a city. Plus cyclists tend to disappear, few people pay attention to bike riders, so I am able to explore places without drawing too much attention to myself. It works well for shooting in questionable neighborhoods or places I’m not sure about. In this case I’m shooting as I go, no tripod, move fast, stop take the shot and move on. Most of this work is urban and landscape subjects, houses and neighborhoods, store fronts (Atget’s influence at work).
For other work I move slower and use a tripod. Landscape and architectural work is almost always with a tripod.”
Q. I am curious about the way you present your final images, because this is a crucial part of the process and how one relates to photographs. What sizes do you tend to print for display?
“I’ve done large prints up to 40×60 of some of my work, particularly the Bethlehem Steel work. But I’ve tended to print smaller the past few years, standardizing on the 17×22 paper size. I find it’s big enough in most cases, and works well for presentation. Because most of my work is project oriented, I need to get a number of photographs on the wall to work as a group.”
Q. Can you give a feel for how close many of the locations you’ve photographed are to your home? What is this relationship and why does it matter to you?
“Most sites are within a days drive, which when balancing a family and full time job is pretty much a given. Not many opportunities to travel this past 10 years, unfortunately, so I’ve been working on projects closer to home. The exception is the West Indies Plantations project, which I’ve made three trip for and hope to do more in the near future.”
Q. How is your photography, or approach to it, changing over time?
“Recent projects are more local, with an attention to their place in the landscape.”
Q. What is next?
“I just started a project photographing active paper mills which I’m pretty excited about. I’m hoping this will eventually become a book project. Paper Mills are like giant architectural machines, the entire building complex devoted to the making of paper, which involves many different processes.
This summer I have plans to photograph the Hudson River via kayak. I’ve made several attempts to do a project of the Hudson from shore, but river access is too limited.
I’ll be returning to the Pittsburgh, PA this spring to continue work on the industrial steel towns and landscape work I’ve done there in the past.
The other big project I may be involved in, and I hesitate to mention this because it’s not certain yet, is the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, which I applied for and have been selected as a candidate based on a “highly competitive proposal”. If it goes forward, and this depends on logistics within the National Science Foundation, this project will involve spending 6-8 weeks in Antarctica photographing science stations, field camps, historic expedition huts, landscapes, scientists at work in the field and in labs. This will include something like an architectural survey of the main science stations at McMurdo and South Pole.”
 Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard, Beacon Press, Boston
 David Lynch The Factory photographs 2014
All images Copyright of Shaun O’Boyle.