Can you quickly introduce yourself and how did you meet each other?
We are Brendan Baker & Daniel Evans. We’ve been working together for a couple of years now, since producing our first collaborative project whilst at university. We both currently live and work in London.
You work most of the time together, whether it is for your personal projects or your commissioned jobs, can you describe your collaborative process?
It’s kind of difficult to describe our process, it’s just quite natural. We’ll latch onto something and just run with it. Of course, it generally depends on what it is we are working on or the sort of outcome we have in mind. For example, with Sleeping Through an Earthquake, we each carried a couple of cameras and then the collaboration predominantly came in the edit.
In other instances, we will both devise a concept and approach for a shoot. During this process we’re constantly bouncing ideas off each other in regards to everything. From set design and colour palette, to props and lighting, as well as how we want to interact with the subject.
Objects, or composition of objects are often the subject of your pictures, could you tell me more about the possibilities and limits of sculpture and photography?
Objects are useful when isolated in the still image. They’re powerful signifiers and connotation tools. The objects we use are generally familiar in their look or feel, but they are incorporated in an often surreal way which means they become kind of unsettling. This in turn calls the legitimacy of the photograph into question, negating any real solid context.
In some series, you introduce portraits; how do you consider portraits in your work?
Initially, we avoided the standard portrait format in our work, instead opting to only show glimpses of the human figure with them never really fully engaged with the camera.
It’s only really in the last few months that we’ve begun to open up to the possibilities of the portrait. This is in part due to being given more portrait-oriented commissions but also down to a desire to apply our way of working to another aspect of image making.
Some of your series are kind of dramatic, like if something important has just happened, or is about to happen, can you explain?
Often images in our work have some sort of story behind them that we try to allude to. So implying a sense of drama adds narrative weight and makes the image more palpable.
The artwork we picked for the t-shirt collaboration is issued from a series called Moronic, could you tell me more about the choice of this particular title?
The title Moronic is clipped from the term ‘oxymoron’, a figure of speech upon which the series is based. An oxymoron is essentially an impossibility, a paradox almost. We selected a list of oxymorons that we found particularly interesting for various reasons and set out to try and create them. The idea behind the series is to bring in to question the ‘nowhere space’ that can sometimes exist between text and image.
You use both color and black&white in your pictures are you more confident with a specific result?
Not really, it pretty much depends on what we’re doing and how we react to it. For example, a lot of the research that informed Moronic was B&W, so we both felt it right that we should work that way, it suited our purpose. But then with Sleeping Through an Earthquake, we mixed it up with both. We were each carrying a couple of cameras on this trip to India, one loaded with colour and the other with B&W. Which one we used depended on what we were doing or where we were.
It seems that you’ve been shooting more fashion pictures lately, fashion week, or fashion shoot, how do you approach it?
The fashion side of things is pretty new for us. But we try to approach it in the same sort of way as our other work, looking for the odd or the abstract. It’s about looking for the simplicity and making it resonate.
What’s next for both of you guys?
Survive the apocalypse and don’t stop.
Conversation with Daniel Evans and Brendan Baker, London 2012.
Photography by Daniel Evans and Brendan Baker, portrait by Études Studio.