Dan Siney would probably remain anonymous if he could have a choice. However his photos are nowhere near of being ignored. We talk to Dan about his captivating photos.
What was the first photo that you remember taking?
Is it true that you take a lot of photos? How many photos do you think you take in a month?
For the most part I think it was amazing. After I got into the photography program I spent most of my time in the darkroom and made mountains of work. I would skip classes to be there and stay until closing as often as I could. I made good friends, had some great teachers and got a lot of support from the department heads and the other staff too. It was also a bonanza of loop holes and anxieties with no center of gravity.
What was the last photo that you saw that mesmerized you?
I’m staring at a photo on my wall of a jaguar swimming that I stop at almost every time I leave my room. I think this one on my desktop is pretty ridiculous too:
Where was the first gallery that you showed your work at?
The Crying Room. Colleen Heslin who still lives there and runs it was in my year. I thought she was really adult.
When I look at some of your photos, I see that you are trying to depict a story. Is this your intention when you are snapping a photograph?
Yes, sort of. If not a story then a bigger picture or idea. I find it hard to communicate anything substantial with one photograph. I like to work with the relationships between images in a group. The photos themselves are meant to communicate ideas or experiences, but it’s the constellation of those ideas and experiences that I like. I work on a computer, which means I’m constantly organizing a body of work sequentially and trying to express the relationships through some kind of narrative, but I think of this as being one view onto the work. I imagine them differently in a room or even in a book.
Can you tell us about one of your old photographs that was featured in Vice magazine with the guys lip cut open? It seems to be a candid shot that definitely has a story.
It’s not much of a story from my side of things actually. I came out of a bar and he was just standing there like that. I was probably pretty drunk and he was in shock, and I when I asked if I could take his picture he just said, “sure”. Later I found out his name is Box Car and he got punched for trying to defend a girl’s honor.
(Man Waiting For Fireworks )
To not need a camera.
Montana? My mom’s property on Salt Spring Island? Driving into the Rockies from Alberta? Kreutzberg? The Scottish highlands? A window seat on an airplane? …
How would you describe your style of photography?
I don’t like to think about it that way. It’s the last thing on my mind when I’m making the work, or when I’m looking at someone else’s.
(Stump Skulls 1.2.3. )
Tell us about living in Strathcona in Vancouver during the time you were in art school? Judging from one of our previous conversations it has changed a lot.
There have been a few big changes, but actually I’m pretty amazed at how totally the same it still is. Characters have come and gone and anyone who’s still here is a little older, but otherwise it feels pretty much the same to me. I remember the first time I walked through here when I was a teenager visiting from North Van I felt like I’d stumbled across a hollow tree I’d never find again. It still feels hidden away.
Is there a photo that you have captured that you are the proudest of?
I don’t think I have one like that. I’m pretty happy with my new body of work though. My friend Russell Gordon has been making a beautiful website for it, but if I can help it I would like to show it in person before I release it on the web,so I don’t know when it’ll be up. It’s called “Whistlepunk”.