DA Simple Question
"We try to make the impossible possible," notes West, whose fine-art and commercial work often blurs that line between the real and the imagined. They’re images that may not reflect how the world actually is, but how we sometimes imagine it could be.
Even when an assignment involves a commercial job where the needs of the client have to be met, West is still asking himself the very same questions he would ask when producing his personal work.
"I don’t think I’m completely happy with anything I put out there unless it somehow challenges the audience to ask questions," he says.
West’s ability to consistently produce such a successful string of work likely lies in the question he asks himself before committing to his next image.
"Why? It’s a question that I always ask," he says. "It’s incredibly important before I begin a large composite to understand the reasons I’m beginning this quest. With images sometimes taking over three months to produce, the last thing I want is to get to the finish line and realize the images just didn’t have all the values I had hoped for."
The comparison to a quest isn’t a light one for West, who explains that because of the length of time involved with the creation of his images, it can result in moments where doubt and insecurity rear their ugly heads and make him question whether all the work will prove worth it.
"When I have such moments, I always have to go back to why I’m doing this," says West. "Why is it important that I make this photograph? There are moments when I’m working on an idea and then I have this desire to back out from it. But I’m always pushing myself and thinking that I started this and I can make it work. I believe that if I push myself during those moments when I don’t think it’s working that somehow I can do it. It’s a commitment, but that’s why the research and the planning are so critical even before I get into production."
Using Creativity To Serve Others
Even when an assignment involves a commercial job where the needs of the client have to be met, West is still asking himself the very same questions he would ask when producing his personal work. For him, there’s little to distinguish between his commercial and fine-art work other than the budgets.