I did an interview recently that came out in the Patriot Ledger today. Since it was a newsprint edition piece I’ve transcribed it here as in the end it provided me with more insight into the above image. The interview was done by Peggy Mullen.
How do you describe the difference between your photography and your visual art? I like to capture a few images that represent an idea that has a theme. I get the biggest joy from being able to install a big series of images in a gallery or a museum.
And the Art Complex exhibit is an example of this? Yes. When I was in Japan I read a lot of haiku, that very short Japanese verse, usually about nature, and I also got into writing it myself. A lot of the photographs emulate that.
At the exhibit, there’s a long list of words besides one of your images. Are the words yours, and did you intend for them to be displayed with the photo? You’ll see lofty words like “inspiration” and words like “cafe” at the bottom. I would go to the cafe and meet people and take photos and write about it. It’s a list of words that are key to putting together the show.
On your website there are a series of photos with words on the images. Are you saying that’s what you felt when you took the photo, or are you instructing the observer what to feel? I like the combination of words and pictures, and if a picture is worth a thousand words, why not express those words? I stuck some of those words into the images. The words are small, and it’s hard to see some of them. I want a person to step back, look at the image and then get up close and examine it and see what else might be hidden there.
A press release from the museum reads “One of Castagna’s favorite techniques is using shallow depth of field to create abstractions.” What does this mean? I think the best image that represents this is “Blossoms on Roof”. What I mean is one of the most creative things you can do with a camera is to determine its depth of field. If you have a good lens, you can decide if you want something sharp or blurred. There I wanted the roof sharp and blossoms blurred. You have opposites, one is man-made and another is natural. It’s a creative tool I use in a lot of my photography.
If I had my druthers, and since this is my blog, I do, I’d add this to my final answer: Nature soft and beautiful, man-made objects real and solid. The roof’s wave and undulating quality suggests a flow moving in and out of nature. Together they weave a complex and interconnected pattern of balance.