Maury Gortemiller

Maury Gortemiller is a photographer living in Decatur, GA. His work has published in Oxford American, Ain't Bad Magazine, and the Iowa Review. He has exhibited work at places like WonderRoot Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

Instagram: @elmaurygee

How did your interest in your medium begin and how did you arrive at your current style?

I was always interested in using film cameras as an adolescent. Making multiple images of the television when Star Wars first aired on cable television was probably the first time I desired to make a photographic record of something. Much later, at the University of Mississippi, I was able to take a few documentary fieldwork courses with Bill Ferris and Tom Rankin. At that point I become aware of the possibilities of making a “life” from photography.

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

I live in the Atlanta area, where there’s so much happening right now in terms of the visual arts. There’s a vibrant community here of people who are making and sharing amazing stories. At the same time – I don’t particularly feel a need to be geographically close to a “scene.” It’s important to live in a place where you can be reasonably happy and make work – that is paramount.

How do you choose your subjects?

I rarely produce portraits, so I often choose to photograph objects or scenes that contain ambiguous qualities. This ambiguity of subject matter is sometimes mirrored by an ambiguity of process. I prefer that my images ‘hover’ between two approaches. Many of the choreographed images are intended to appear spontaneous, and at times the spontaneous images appear calculated. The history of photography is littered with discussions as to the proper use of the medium as either a scientific device or an expressive tool. While neither approach is wholly accurate, I like to foreground subtly this issue in most of my work (“How was this created?” “Is this image digitally altered?”) I’m always happy to speak about any aspect of my work, but often I’d rather that viewers who are so inclined continue to ponder issues of process without any resolution on my part.

Where do you go to draw inspiration?

For inspiration, I reread sections of The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You, by Frank Stanford.

Do you feel creatively satisfied?

No, and I hope to always feel unsatisfied. I want to remain hungry – I subscribe to the old “you’re only as good as your last picture” ethos.