Skip to content

Interview with Photographer Curran Hatleberg

/ Exhibitions - Interviews

circles 2010
Circles 2010 Curran Hatleberg

On Thursday, November 6 at 7PM, we will welcome photographer and professor Curran Hatleberg to the Museum. As this year’s speaker for the John Morton Lecture in Photography, Hatleberg tells us more about his career, his photographs, and what inspires his work.

1.What inspired you to pursue photography? Is there a photographer or artist who inspires your photography?

Photography validated my feeling that daily life holds an endless supply of revealing and relevant dramatic possibility. It is about discovering something through immersion in an experience, prolonging fascination with a moment.

I certainly identify most with an American tradition of photography—from Walker Evans to William Eggleston. They are my heroes, but it’s undoubtedly a different time. I think it’s essential to take from tradition without being bound to it—to author one’s own time.

2. What emotions, people, things, or events are you most interested in capturing through photography?

The easy answer is America, but the America I am interested in is not geographic but psychological; the spaces, interactions, and people that take part in the daily balancing act of contradictions: beauty and sadness, hope and despair, possibility and actuality. I like the complication of colliding emotions within a picture that can serve to present the world as strange and familiar at the same time.

3. Are your photographs pre-meditated or random occurrences you happen to stumble upon?

Ultimately photographing for me is about unearthing something unexpected and learning something from it that was previously unimagined. The pictures with the most urgency are made intuitively—felt before I’ve resolved significance or meaning. All my pictures originate from a curiosity, a desire to feel things out and express that wonder. Some pictures are purely found, some involve a kind of participation.

4. As such an accomplished photographer, what do you consider the most monumental event in your career thus far?

Being given the opportunity to publish a book of new work that will be released in 2015.

5. What would be your advice to an aspiring photographer or artist?

Work like there’s no plan B.


You can hear from Curran Hatleberg during our First Thursday event, where he will lead the free lecture. Come early to enjoy the Museum, tapas and cocktails, a drawing class, and more!