Feature: Spencer Blackwood / by Colin Czerwinski

We received a submission a few weeks ago from Toronto based photographer, Spencer Blackwood, that caught our attention. The photo work he sent over involved a process called glitching/pixel sorting. It's really awesome stuff. Spencer has some perception bending examples below from his photo series, "Datascapes".  

Growing up in Hamilton, Ontario, I've always been in close proximity to both urban cities and nature. As a kid, a lot of my time was spent exploring the city's waterfalls and trails as well as wandering the downtown core -- where the city has now grown into a new emerging community of shops, musicians and artists alike. I'm so proud of how far Hamilton has come, and can't wait to see where it'll go in the future! 

My interest in photography started from a young age, by the time I was 12 I was already getting my hands on my own camera and documenting the sites my city had to share. Towards the end of high school I started taking photography more seriously, applying to Sheridan College in Oakville, ON to complete my Bachelor of Photography Degree. Studying at Sheridan, I was opened up to a whole new world. Working alongside so many talented peers pushed me to discover new boundaries in photography, and Datascapes was one project to come alive during my time there.

When I started experimenting with digital fragmentation (glitch art), I tried as many different techniques possible. For this series, I'm using a java software called Pixel-Drifter created by Dmitriy Krotevich. It's a great tool that allows a certain range of control, however a lot of what I've created has been a result of trail and error, also a bit of luck (there's only so much you can control in this kind of process). Outside of this project, I've also explored methods of sonification (Audacity), TextEdit, as well as physical modifications to memory cards/card.

There's something so intriguing about the technical process... allowing machines to produce seemingly random but beautiful results, like a digital language only interpreted once you've arranged the information in the right order. I'm very much a believer that the future role in art and photography will become less about physical image and more about the curation of information and the ideas that are embedded in them. 

As mentioned before, the project was a personal exploration in creating new worlds, which is a common theme in a lot of my work. I'm very much interested in futurology... science-fiction, technological advancement, A.I., all playing a big part in our every day-to-day lives. I'm naturally drawn towards images with powerful graphic qualities, high contrast, geometry, balance, and people like Michael Wolf, Marten Lange, Louise Mertens, and even younger artists like Drew Nikonowicz, are examples of artists who've directly inspired my own visual development in photography.   

View more of Spencer's beautiful photo work on his website: http://www.spencerblackwood.com/