Jack Deese

The Southern Glossary Instagram account is curated by a new artist or photographer each week. Every curator will put their own spin on the account, showing off work, their process, and their surroundings. Here's a Q&A with last week's curator, photographer Jack Deese.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia  Website: jackdeese.com  Instagram: @jackdeese

How did you interest in photography begin?

When I was young, my mom was an avid amateur photographer. She mostly focused on our family, but I fell in love with the looking at photographs. I remember going to Wal-Mart and picking up the film and prints, and they always came with these little blue albums, and I loved being able to put the pictures in some sort of order. My interest really took off once I went to the University of Georgia and started in the Photography program. I had great teachers and resources that really opened my eyes to the history of the medium.  

How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?

I think that it's different depending on what type of artist you are and whether you're spending your time in the studio or out in the world. Most photographers I'm into are out navigating their surroundings, which means navigating relationships. Whether you're shooting portraits or landscapes, being approachable and empathetic to people you come across is crucial. For me, mainly focusing on the South can become problematic quickly and you can get too steeped in stereotypes. Being connected to what's going on around you and making yourself available to a diverse group of people can really help keep you in a smart, productive place.

Do you have a creative or artistic peer group in your area that you're a part of? What opportunities are there for artists like yourself?

Well, right now I'm in the MFA program at Georgia State University and that has been great. The Photography program is small, but I'm surrounded by a lot of other artists which can be really helpful to see people working outside your own medium. Here in Atlanta there is a great art scene. There's enough opportunities for everyone to be a part of, so there's a good sense of camaraderie amongst artists and most people genuinely want you to succeed. The opportunities to get your work seen are abundant, but it's important that you do your research and do what works for you, not just apply to every show you can.  

Where do you go to draw inspiration?

I get inspired a lot of different ways. A big one for me is driving. I have a 30 minute commute to school, and I also deliver pizza a couple of nights a week. Just the repetition of seeing the same places over and over makes me look at them in different ways. I try and go to shows at galleries whenever I can. I think it's important to learn what you like, but also to look at things that you think you might not like. Most important for me is books, mainly photo books. I love to spend time with a book and look at the sequencing and decision making that went into it.

Do you feel creatively satisfied?

No, not at all. But I'm accepting that I don't think I will ever be satisfied. I have so many ideas, and I've realized you'll never have enough time to see them all through. I enjoy the act of making photographs, being out in the world meeting people and seeing new things. I'm not always pleased with the outcome, but I'm almost always satisfied with the process.

Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.

Well, I am about to start my third and final year of grad school so I'm in the beginning stages of a project that will culminate with an exhibition in the Spring of 2016. I haven't nailed down exactly how the project will take shape but I'm excited to see where it will go. I will also be showing some work in Miami in December at the Aqua Art Fair.

Are you a working artist or photographer interested in volunteering to curate our Instagram account? Read all the details here. Follow us at instagram.com/southernglossary.