Meet

Ward Roberts

Where are you from and where do you reside?
I’m from Australia, grew up in Hong Kong, and living in New York.
What necessities do you require when making your art?
Basically I need my camera, film, and tripod and just walk around. I try to keep my practice minimal.
How do you find the locations for your photographs?
Sometimes I’ll just wander around and explore a new area I’m not familiar with. Other times I’ll use Google Maps to search for locations.
Are there any aspects of your process that are left to chance?
By nature I’m not very controlled with my work. I find that one of the most important elements in my work is a chance or the lack of control I have.
Slant
By nature I'm not very controlled with my work. I find that one of the most important elements in my work is a chance or the lack of control I have. — Ward Roberts
Did you go to art school?
I was trained in photography at RMIT in Melbourne, from there I was able to learn the formal studies of photography. After graduating I felt it was important to unlearn the “rules” and start experimenting and pushing the medium from the knowledge I had learned.
How solitary is your art-making process?
I tend to be pretty isolated when I’m working and thrive on the solidarity when creating. I have collaborated previously with Joe Tarzia of Zé studios, amongst a handful of new projects coming up. I am always keen to collaborate on projects.
Are you influenced by any artist that does something completely different than you?
Dan Flavin, Doug Wheeler, Lucio Fontana, and Walter De Maria, to name a few.
Is there any artwork on display in your home?
I have several pieces by an artist called Samuel Keman, I found them at an estate sale. His work is completely unknown, he mostly drew, though he also experimented with photography.
Why do you prefer the square format in your work?
With my series, courts and billions, I found myself being drawn to square format. There is structure and preciousness that comes with square format when it is presented on a page. Currently, I find myself working more on large format, and moving more towards a cinematic size.
Slant
There is structure and preciousness that comes with square format when it is presented on a page. — Ward Roberts
You are dedicated to traditional film photography, though in the past your work has been mistaken for digital. What qualities of traditional film photography are essential to you?
I feel my work has been mistaken for digital mostly due to the fact that it’s been viewed in a digital medium. I’m a quiet and slow person and find film encourages patience: there is a very meditative and gentle state I find myself in when shooting film that I find to be honest. The formal qualities of film can be very soft and delicate when used in a certain way, plus there is a certain timelessness that comes with shooting film.
Are you influenced by any author or non-visual artist?
I’m currently learning about the Tao Te Ching. I’d like to incorporate the study of oneness into my practice.
Where do you feel you create your strongest work?
The locations are influential when it comes to shooting a series. However the most important element is energy. The energy of the space is what attracts me most when it comes to creating new work. Urban environments tends to draw me in most often.
What’s next for you?
I’m releasing a book of a series I shot at the Rockaways over the past two years. The release date is set for mid 2017. I’m also trying to shoot a series at the red light district in Hong Kong, though it’s very dangerous so I’m taking my time to research the best way to access these spaces.

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