October 31, 2017

An Interview With David Lynch

Featured B&W 8×10 Portrait of David Lynch © Andy Reaser, 2017. Article submitted to the Polaroid Originals Magazine by Amy Heaton.

To look at a Polaroid photograph is to immerse yourself fully in another time and place – much like the experience of diving into the fictional mountain town of Twin Peaks. As part of David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption in Los Angeles, we presented The Red Room: a physical reproduction of the iconic space portrayed in his seminal TV series. Visitors to the festival could pose for their very own Polaroid picture in Lynch’s iconic set throughout the weekend. Afterwards, we invited Lynch to shoot with our 8×10 camera, and he shared his thoughts on the importance of Transcendental Meditation for creativity, and how to catch original ideas.

The festival was a huge success, congratulations. What was your highlight of the weekend?

Yeah, everybody seemed to enjoy it, it was real good. I think it was just, the good feeling in the air.

How did you like the experience of working with the 8×10 camera? Have you ever shot large-format Polaroid photographs before?

One time I was working with a really good photographer but telling him what to shoot, for a commercial spread in a magazine in Huntington Gardens. Before he took the picture, he shot some of the 8×10 Polaroids, and they were incredible looking, so I got to see it then. But that was many years ago. I think it’s incredible, you know, there’s digital photographs now, but in the old days you had to take your film to the lab and get it developed. Polaroid, it developed right where you are, then you’d see the pictures. It’s closer to the digital experience because you see what you got right away but it’s organic, and I love organic phenomena. I think that it’s a medium that I’d like to experiment with.

Photo Credit: @jacobboll // @yeahfieldtrip

In terms of the regular Polaroid film, did you ever make use of the medium in your art?

The regular Polaroids yes. I would use the one where it would roll out and you peeled it off, and then you had a little sponge and you ran it over the top of thing to seal it. Like a fixing agent.

How did your creative process differ when you were working all analog? Did the advent of digital alter your creative process?

It’s the same exact thing. It’s just one is on celluloid and one is digital. Either way you’re telling a story. The thing about digital is it’s not organic, but it’s getting better all the time, so you can get that film look. Now you have a million different tools to alter the picture later and do things with it, so in that way it’s a really great world.

You chose to host the festival in L.A., and there was a really magnetic energy in the air there. What is it about Los Angeles that inspires you to keep creating?

Yeah, I love L.A. I’ve always said the same thing: I love the light, and the light is very special in L.A., that’s why they came out here to start making films, because it’s sunny here. And then also, the city is like the opposite of New York. It’s not claustrophobic, it’s wide open and it has these areas in it that are so different from one from another. There’s so many textures in L.A., all underneath this beautiful light.

Photo Credit: @jacobboll // @yeahfieldtrip

Our mission is to restore Edwin Land’s original idea. What is the true essence of an original idea for you, and how do you know when you’ve found one?

You know, I love ideas, ideas are everything. I always say human beings don’t do anything without an idea. And ideas for me, the ones that are important to me, are ones that come along and pop in. You see the thing, like a cinema idea. I only get them in fragments but you see it, in the mind, like on a screen. First you see the thing, then you hear the thing, you feel the mood of the thing, and you know it. But it’s a gift, it’s a thrill, it wasn’t there and now it’s there. It’s even hardly anything to do with imagination. It just pops in, then you know it, and you should write it down. It’s a beautiful thing to catch an idea that you love.

For people who’ve never seen a polaroid before it can seem like magic when the photo is just developing there right in front of you. Do you feel this kind of mystery still has a place in our world today?

Yeah, it is. It is beautiful. Well you know, our world is filled with mystery and clues, and it’s there for everybody to experience and think about. Part of that is like new inventions, and scientific discoveries, or discoveries in painting or photography, going deeper into the mediums and discovering more and more, so you know it’s always been going on. And I think we’re in a great time in the world with quantum leaps in scientific discoveries. It’ll change everything. But there’s the ultimate mystery: how come we’re here and what’s it all about? And that gets answered by diving deep and transcending every day.

Duochrome Polaroid pictures shot by David Lynch in 2016. Courtesy of the David Lynch Foundation.

Much of the festival program was focused on and around Transcendental Meditation. Can you share with us a little more about the method?

Transcendental Meditation is an ancient form of meditation, brought back for this time by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It’s a technique that allows the human being to transcend. That means experiencing the deepest level of life, ocean of pure consciousness, eternal level. Everything in the field of relativity has a lifespan. Underlying it is this field that’s eternal. Always and forever been there. And you experience that, it’s an all positive field, when you transcend.

As with meditation, the process of working with a Polaroid camera forces a person to slow down and really be in the moment. What do you think it is about this motion of slowing down that allows us to have new channels of creativity open up?

Whenever a human being transcends they infuse some of that and they grow in the amount of consciousness they have. So that means they grow in intelligence, creativity, happiness, love, energy, power and peace. It changes the life for the good, and every human being has the potential. The potential of every human being is supreme enlightenment, it just needs to be unfolded. And you unfold it by transcending.

You become more and more and more you, and you unfold this potential and one day you become totality. Totality. It’s every human being’s birthright to one day enjoy supreme enlightenment, and on the way to enlightenment life just gets better and better and better. The torment goes away, the suffering stops, you know, bit by bit. And people start enjoying life. On the way to enlightenment which is total fulfillment. Total liberation. So, you know, it’s erm, in a way you could say that you stop two times a day, and dive within, and that is sort of slowing things down, you know to dive deep and transcend. And it’s quite a bit different from working with the Polaroid, [smiles], but I always say like a water skier, they go fast and they stay on the surface, and sometimes you’ve got to slow down to get to the deeper levels. And when you start expanding consciousness you’re literally making the subconscious conscious, and so whole new worlds open up, and you can catch ideas on a deeper and deeper level.

You can focus more clearly, and more understanding of things come, and so it just opens up the possibility of every medium to get deeper into every medium. And to more and more possibilities if you’re transcending everyday, and so it’s a beautiful thing. You put that to work on the world of Polaroid, who knows what will happen.

Photo Credit: @jacobboll // @yeahfieldtrip

Interested to find out more about the festival, or the practice of Transcendental Meditation?

Visit ➜ https://festivalofdisruption.com

Featured portrait of David Lynch shot on October 15, 2017, at the Festival of Disruption by IG: @AndyReaser made with a Deardorff 8×10 field camera, using a 14-inch dagor-style lens and our black and white film.