Kurney Ramsey is a photographer living in Durham, NC, who grew up in a farming community outside of Jacksonville, NC. He has a Certificate in Documentary Arts with a concentration in photography from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke Univerity. His work has been included in exhibits around the country.
How did your interest in your medium begin and how did you arrive at your current style?
About twelve years ago a friend of mine was working at an electronics store and kept saying that I should buy a digital camera since I had been interested in photography for years but hadn’t pursued it. I eventually bought a point and shoot and began taking photos around my work and home. From there I thought I would get a DSLR and probably just take nature photographs but it was cheaper to buy a 35mm. So, I tried that and got hooked on slide film, I loved the look and seeing the slides on a light table. From there I tried medium format and kept shooting slide film. Since then I’ve tried out various processes such as tintype, daguerreotype and cyanotype and the history of photography has only increased my interest in photography.
I think a lot of my style comes from my surroundings and my emotional connection to them. I love light and how it interacts with the camera, the beauty of golden light just fascinates me and I am drawn to it over and over.
How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?
I feel strongly about the relationship to my surroundings; most of my work concerns where I grew up and where I have lived most of my life. I like to work where I feel most comfortable and I spend a lot of my time photographing land and places that are or were connected my family over time. I feel a deep connection to those places and I feel that I need to spend quite a bit of time in new places connecting before I’m able to make good work.
How do you choose your subjects?
Most of my subjects are in places where I have spent a large portion of my life and have, in a way, chosen me over time. I take photos and then look back and see a pattern and an emotional connection that draws me back and forces me to make more work.
Where do you go to draw inspiration?
I enjoy traveling out west. There is something soothing and inspiring to me about mountains and vast valleys. I also enjoy museums and galleries. One of the reasons I pursued photography was because of an exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art in 2005. It contained many of the photographers that are now among my favorites. In the exhibit I saw many ways that you could use photography to explore your world.
Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.
I am currently working on a project exploring the sale of much of my family’s land and the closing of our family’s business. Much has happened over the last few years and part of how I’m processing it is through photography and going back to places I have spent much of my life.