Garrett graduated from Grinnell College, where he studied economics and political science. He completed his MFA in photography at Indiana University and has taught at several universities in the United States and in Asia; he is now an Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Kentucky. Garrett has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, Indonesia, and Japan.
Why do you photograph on film?
There are numerous reasons I continue to use film, but in regards to this particular project it would simply be impossible to create these images digitally. This series came out of over a year of experimenting in the darkroom. I worked with various materials and processes to create images, pushing myself to find new ways to work with “outdated” technology. The orthographic film I ended up using to create these images had been donated by the FBI over a decade ago and had been sitting in a freezer ever since. Film allows for direct hands on experimentation and the happy accidents that lead us to new places in our work.
What is your work about?
Roughly 40% of the population in the US owns a gun and there are enough guns – approximately 300 million – to arm nearly every man, woman, and child in the country. At the core of The Void series is a desire to consider these facts and to create a set of images that speaks to their implications. Each of the images is created from individual bullet holes. While shooting is fundamentally a destructive act, by bringing these holes into the darkroom, enlarging them and then processing and printing the results, I am able to balance this destruction with creation. The viewer is presented with something that speaks to the sublime – they are both attractive and terrifying at the same time. In many ways this reflects our own opinions of guns in America, a country where the debate between rights and controls continues to rage.