The Art of Mark Crummett: Assemblage Photographer

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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Infographic: Kidney Donation Shortfall

We ReallyNeedMoreKidneys

Imagine the pain of the excruciating wait. Deep down in places no one wants to talk about, there is a reality: Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, pray for the right person to die the right way with the perfect organ match to save their loved one. Can you even imagine waiting maybe 10 years, watching your friend, your family member, move closer to a deadline that looms over them just waiting with little comfort, little hope? It’s a morbid luck of the draw whether an organ can even get to the person who needs it most, just maybe the closest person geographically.

Everyday, thirty people die waiting for an organ that never arrives. Nationally, approx. 80% of the people waiting for an organ are waiting for a kidney: approx. 101,000 candidates. Every ten minutes a name is added to the waiting pool for an organ. These aren’t just numbers. They are people.

What will it take for us to start saving those more than 100,000 lives in limbo? We’re not waiting for research to catch up. This doesn’t need a 5k fundraiser or a bike ride along the California coast to get us closer to an answer. Amazingly, seventy-nine organ transplants happen every day in the US, but it’s not enough. How are we not exploring every avenue to close the gap between supply and need?

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