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Cuddled Apples and Coital Rods: An Interview with Bobby Doherty

A twig resting precariously on a wrench propped against a bubble gum pink painted background. Two apples, one faded green and one bright red, nestled in a bright red and white stripe cloth. A man, with perfectly smooth and dark skin sits erect and upright, facing away from the camera, his back covered with neatly arranged baby-pink bows. Objects positioned (or mistakenly happened) into anthropomorphic affairs: cuddled apples, coital rods. In his photographs, Bobby Doherty simply states, Maybe Everything is About Love.

Kate Korroch: In your artist statement you explain, “that  [the] moment when the photograph is taken is the only thing that really matters to [you].” That is a beautiful and poignant line that is especially interesting when considering the staged look of your photographs in your series Maybe Everything is About Love. Can you tell me a bit about your process and the balance between spontaneity and composition?

Bobby Doherty, “Maybe Everything is About Love”

Bobby Doherty: It’s all from the same place. Some things are set up, some things aren’t. Most of the stuff I try to put together and take photos of in my apartment end up looking terrible and drenched in concept. I try not to think about what I want something to be. It’s usually best to not expect anything at all.

KK: You also astutely draw parallels between your work and an unknown punch line in an ongoing joke. Knowing that, how do you hope the audiences of your work approach each piece? What is the ideal atmosphere in which to view these photographs?

BD: I hope they don’t take my photos or themselves too seriously. I think the ideal atmosphere to view my photographs is on a 16-year-old German girl’s Tumblr.

KK: The color palette of your work is cheery, clean, and bright yet the subject matter is much more layered. Could you speak about the juxtaposition of the color palette and subject matter?

BD: I don’t think that there was really any intentional juxtaposition going on, I just don’t really like morbid colors. I think my photographs have pretty easy access. The cheery colors just trick you into thinking you’re looking at something you can make sense of.

Bobby Doherty, “Maybe Everything is About Love”

KK: Images five and eight from your series, Maybe Everything is About Love, are photographs of inanimate objects positioned in a way that creates a physical relationship. How did you happen upon these decisions?

BD: I just know what I want it to look like. I’ll play around and take a lot of bad photos. Then I’ll get a good one. I take a lot of bad photos.

KK: Unlike images five and eight, in image twelve you insert a human body as an object, topping the “objectified” body with a collection of six baby-pink bows. In your work is there a difference between human and object?

BD: I’d hope so. I definitely like dudes more than sticks and wrenches.

Bobby Doherty’s work can be seen in Everyday Always Trying, the upcoming inaugural exhibition of The Coat Check at David Weinberg Gallery, which runs from November 2, 2012 to January 3, 2012. See more of Doherty’s work by visiting his website, www.bobbydoherty.net or his blog, www.bobbydoherty.tumblr.com.