Derek Vaughan Nunez Strahan

by Jay Armstrong

“I have no idea what the hell I am doing. I’m just trying to document the things happening around me. I think life is wild and beautiful and super chaotic. I want to capture all of that somehow. I love life and I think that’s what I want my photos to say about me, that I am living and enjoying it. No matter how frightening or fun it all may be, I am grateful to be alive and to see.” – Derek Vaugh Nunez Strahan

Derek StrahanIn my formative years I mistakenly thought of art as something you forced from yourself, a concentrated projection tuned in a chosen direction amounting at best to being vaguely expressive of who we are. Now having chosen a path valuing only tangible real experiences, having found myself falling deeper and deeper into a womb of creative forces, life has opened these eyes to a few important eternal truths; one of which is art, honest pure creative notable art, is not a projection but instead an outburst reflection of those who made it. It is not a choice, it is not something one can set their mind to, you either give yourself up completely or not at all, the in-between is worthless. This is what makes two bands who play similarly structured pop sound polar opposites on the real vs contrived spectrum. Once you learn to let the soil of life flow through your fingers, healthy nutrient full soil takes not a second thought discerning from the dead and worthless. This is what makes Basquiat brilliant, this is why Link Wray transcends  genre definitions. It is how Bukowski can be wounded yet offensive and at the end of the day we find all offended emotions drowning in our tears of sympathetic appreciation–honesty through skilled capable caring hands defines the difference. This clearly comes into articulated perspective looking over the photographs of Derek Vaughan Nunez Strahan.

For those merely familiar through his place as part of noise climbers Annabelle Chairlegs, I challenge you to take a closer look. Strahan is a soft-spoken flash of peace in this chaotic space we find ourselves crammed into, his presence radiates a zen modesty of enlightened appreciation for the moment, seemingly in perpetual loving namaskar with eternity. Each photograph of Strahan’s is a glimpse into his mind, his presence as potent as the film itself in giving off substance through texture. We hear his voice, we find ourselves walking poetically around in his words, and never once does he open his mouth. In our minds off in the distance this modern Bodhi Siddhartha holds his camera with a half-smile, contentment filling the air between us.

When pressed on his photography Strahan has this to say; “By no means would I consider myself a professional photographer. I’ve taken one photography class in my life. I think I was twelve and I really don’t remember much about the experience. I just take pictures, a lot of them. I usually have a camera on me, especially when I travel. I have a lot of cameras, too many even, all film. There is something about the grain of film and the way colors come out that I really love. The fact that any moment I choose can be burned into a frame in an instant blows my mind. I love the imperfections; scratches and light leaks and dust and overlapping exposures. I’ve tried going digital but have always found myself editing photos to look more like they were film.  I am always experimenting because I have no idea what the hell I am doing. I’m just trying to document the things happening around me. I think life is wild and beautiful and super chaotic. I want to capture all of that somehow. I love life and I think that’s what I want my photos to say about me, that I am living and enjoying it. No matter how frightening or fun it all may be, I am grateful to be alive and to see.” Be still our beating hearts.

Derek Vaughan Nunez Strahan Instagram

 

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