P: You had mentioned that you got to where you are with assemblage photography after the OKC bombing, and had lost a love or desire for editorial photography. Can we talk a bit about that?
MC: I was an assistant picture editor, and I was looking at the wire pictures as they came across with all of that. It just devastated me. I was appalled at that and got fed up with journalism and humanity at the time, frankly. It made me not want to look at news pictures anymore.
P: How long had you been working in journalism up to that point?
MC: I started doing photojournalistic work in the army. I did a lot of work for public affairs offices. That would have been early 80’s, I guess. When I got out of the army I went to school and got my journalism degree; graduated in ‘88. Got my first gig in Maryland that same year. I was working as a newspaper photographer for six to seven years. Then I got a job at Army Times as a picture editor and had been doing that for a few years.
Ya know, I used to be a real news junkie. CNN was on all the time, read a few papers a day, but I just got overloaded with the Oklahoma bombing.
P: So, how did you stumble upon this type of assemblage art that you do now? Was this a past hobby, an interest, or something you just happened upon?
MC: While I was kind of getting away from the actual taking of pictures and the editing, I was also getting more involved with assemblage art from found materials. My dad had done that for years, he was a big fan of Cornell. I had been around it for many years, and I loved my dad’s work, but I always looked at it and thought about doing something different, ya know? “Hey, that’d be really cool if that had a lightbulb in it.”
I started doing the same kind of work with found materials, but more technological thing; circuit boards, hard drive platters, etc. I did that as a creative outlet for about ten years or so. I would find and collect these things that were intrinsically interesting to look at, but I never really figured out a way to put them into an assemblage piece at the time. Then the little people came along when I got my first model railroad people for some other thing I was constructing that I can’t think of now.
I pulled them out and put them on a circuit board and was like, “Wow, these fit perfectly. This is no longer a circuit board. It’s an industrial installation!” I started taking pictures of these little guys on the circuit boards because I loved what it did to the scale of everything.
See more of Mark’s work at markcrummett.net
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