Runner, not only

In conversation with Dennis Ogburn

Give us a short bio 
I'm from Eugene, Oregon (a town who relishes its self-appointed title of "Track Town USA” - they hold the Olympic trials for US track and field there each year). I moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school at Art Center College of Design, where I study film - directing to be specific. That's primarily what I do, sometimes I listen to music and/or skateboard.

Dennis Ogburn running in Los AngelesWhen did you start taking photos of people and what about the process of making images or films excites you?
I started taking photos of people in the manner I do now after discovering that my phone's camera shutter can be accessed by the volume button on its side. It makes it possible for me to take photos and shoot video undetected which is often important. There's something I find very fulfilling about willing images and films into existence; imagining something from nothing; a certain type of total creation, whether a character or some sort of world. It’s thrilling. It feels like my very own voice from which to speak and it makes me feel romantic about the world.

You shoot images of people when you run - can you tell us more about this?
Overtime it just occurred to me that the opportunity for human observation is inherently present while running. You're out in the world, but not only that, you move through it momentously in a more intimate way than driving through it like you often do in Los Angeles. Because you're always brushing shoulders, peering in doorways, looking for moments. I double back constantly while running to snap photos of people if I don't recognize them early enough. And if someone is angry about having their picture taken, I am poised and prepared to run away… although that's never actually happened. It's such a momentary thing - passing people while running - photographing them allows me to document not only them but my own life as well. I suppose these are the people and instances I choose to define my days by, the memories of those days at least. It's the synthesis of my life in LA and a reflection of my perception of the world.

Dennis Ogburn checking records

What is the relationship between running and creativity?
Sources of my own creative inspiration are hard-pressed for definition yet ultimately elusive in my experience. Running appears to work for me. Something within the process of running is very clarifying and illuminating; it cleans out all the cobwebs in my head. Given my creative outlet is film and image, the bond between running and creative discovery feels lush and highly conducive, because I find running to be incredibly cinematic. When I am running my eyes feel like a movie camera - they can dolly forward, pull focus on any singularity, and pan endlessly across whatever distance. And the illusion is cemented by music - it becomes the soundtrack, provides mood. The harmony between the two becomes the movie each time I run, and keeps me running.

Dennis Ogburn after running in Los AngelesWhen we were running we talked about The High - this moment that exists in music, art and running. Can you tell me more about your personal experience with this?
The High to me, seems some sort of beautiful mystery. It's tapping into something… a certain consciousness, that while inherently present dwells in obscurity and so must be uncovered and thankfully not easily so. The push necessary to find The High is so important to what it actually means. Once achieved, The High feels like this incredible moment of discovery - a chance to see what's beyond the horizon.

Follow Dennis at @dennis_ogburn.

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