EWAN TELFORD (Los Angeles CA, USA)
Ewan Telford hails from Edinburgh, Scotland. His background is in the film business, having worked variously as a director and editor. His photography has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt, Bloomberg Business Week and others.
Chengüchngech : Supreme Creator God
The world was at one time in a state of chaos, until God gave it its present formation, fixing it on the shoulders of Seven Giants, made expressly for this end. They have their names, and when they move themselves an earthquake is the consequence. Animals were then formed, and lastly men and women were made separately from earth, and ordered to live together. The man’s name was TOBOHAR, the woman’s PABAVIT. God ascended to Heaven immediately afterwards, where he receives the soul of all who die. They had no bad spirit connected with their creed; and never heard of a “Devil” or a “Hell” until the coming of the Spaniards.*
* There are several theories as to the origins of the Chengüchngech religion: (1) it was a relatively recent phenomenon resulting from contact with the Hispanic Catholic culture – Alfred Kroeber suggested that the spiritual being Chengüchngech was “a reaction formation … an imitation of the Christian God of the missionaries, whom they took over and furnished with a native name and added to their own beliefs.” (2) the rise of the religion is attributable to the direct influence of Europeans who were perhaps stranded or shipwrecked along the California coast in the 16th century – thus, Chengüchngech may have been a traveler with a background in one of the European and/or Asian religions; (3) the religion arose as an indigenous reaction to the social stresses brought about in Gabrielino society by European diseases introduced by the Spaniards in the 16th century.
Practice Statement: How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
I use film because it necessitates a more measured approach to my subject. I must take in and understand the subject at hand completely before I make the photograph. The photograph I ultimately make will consequently be quite different and, I believe, superior to any in the range of shots I would take in a digital context. In short, film enables me to “see” differently.