Interview with Duncan Hill

SR conducted this interview with Issue 9 contributor Duncan Hill.

Duncan Hill

Superstition Review: Please give some examples of your past projects and published pieces. Where were they published and when were they published?

Duncan Hill: Based in Washington, DC, many of my projects focus on activism and multiculturalism in the city. I have recently had photos from my project “A Capital City” published in F8 Magazine, and Photography Monthly, and scheduled for publication in SB Quarterly.

SR: How have you grown as an artist? If you could give your past self any advice what would it be?

DH: Over the last few years I have learned so much about the photography and arts industries. One of the most important traits I have learned as a photographer is perseverance. The art/photography world can be a rough place, and if you give up the first time your work is denied, or criticized, you won’t make it far. If I could go back in time and give myself advice, I would tell 16-year-old me to start exploring the photography of Garry Winogrand and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Their photographs have had a great impact on my work and I wish I would have been familiar with them at a younger age.

SR: How did you first get involved in your field? What sort of challenges have you faced? What do you believe have been your greatest achievements?

DH: My interest in photography started as a kid, my father was an avid photographer and gave me a 35mm SLR when I was in middle school. I went to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for Film, and minored in Digital Arts. Throughout my college career I studied cinematography as well as still photography. A challenge for me has been my shyness. In today’s world of social media, you have to be comfortable promoting yourself. My two greatest/favorite achievements would be: Being named a finalist in the “Under 30” category of Black + White Photography Magazine’s, “Black + White Photographer of the Year” awards; and being awarded “Best in Show” in UNCW’s 2009 Student Art Show and having my winning photo “Metro” added to the school’s permanent art collection.

SR: Have you ever tried to work in other creative areas (e.g., publishing, illustrating, etc.)?

DH: My father is a painter, and my mother is a librarian and avid reader. So I was influenced by both visual and literary arts growing up. I have written extensively about cinematography and other film topics in the past. I also enjoy drawing and painting occasionally. I am hoping to publish a book of my “A Capital City” series sometime in the near future.

SR: Please give us some background biographical information. 

DH: Born and raised in High Point, North Carolina, the “Furniture Capital of the World.” I lived in Wilmington, NC for five years, moved to DC in 2010. I’m a huge Washington Nationals fan and unfortunately, a Charlotte Bobcats fan as well. I collect cameras, and especially love old rangefinders and folding cameras. Some of my favorite: TV Shows: Flight of the Conchords, Arrested Development; Movies: Midnight in Paris, The Fall, The Usual Suspects; Music: Bob Dylan, John Coltrane, Flaming Lips; Books: Bob Dylan: Chronicles, 1984, Confederacy of Dunces

SR: What awards or recognition have you received for past or present work? 

DH: 2011  Shortlisted, Black + White Photographer of the Year (Under 30 Category), B+W Photography Magazine
2011  Best Cinematography, Reel Teal Film Festival, Wilmington, NC
2010  Honorable Mention, Digital Photo Magazine’s Art of Photography Competition
2009  Finalist, Digital SLR Photography Magazine, Worlds Apart Photo Competition
2009  Finalist, Digital Photo Magazine, Perfect Portraits Competition
2009  Best of Show, University of North Carolina at Wilmington Annual Art Show

SR: What inspired you to create your piece for Issue 9 of Superstition Review? Why did you choose our publication for your submission? How would you describe your Issue 9 contribution? 

DH: Although much of my work is documentary in nature, I always aim to capture interesting scenes of lines and light. My four images for Issue 9 are studies of converging lines and visually pleasing geometry. I chose to submit to Superstition Review because I was impressed by past issues and I liked the viewer friendly website. Also, I liked the fact that Superstition Review promotes itself well and is involved in social media outlets.

Read more about Duncan Hill’s work at his website.


Are eBooks Pushing Print to Extinction?

There is something about the aroma of a worn book that induces a sense of nostalgia. Print aficionados have fought to maintain the sanctity of printed press, but as the popularity of eReaders and tablets continues to rise, how long can book-advocates withstand the pressures of a technology-driven society?

With Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook leading the revolution, more and more readers are turning to the instant gratification of eBooks and digital readers over more traditional mediums. They can now hold entire libraries in their hands, buy a book with the tap of a finger, and read until their screens go dark. So what’s not to love?

Some argue the experience is not the same. A book’s battery never goes dead. Browsing an App Store can’t compete with wandering the shelves of a bookstore and running your fingers along the spines. Holding a book in your hands, with its binding and tangible pages, doesn’t feel the same as holding plastic, aluminum, or glass. Books are permanent entities whereas digital media feels ephemeral; an ebook you own could be there one day and gone the next, but a printed media will withstand decades. Actor and journalist Stephen Fry said recently, “Books are no more threatened by the Kindle than stairs by elevators.” Other authors would agree that while eBooks are convenient, they will never replace print.

However, some statistics show that the move towards eReaders is happening more aggressively. In a recent article, The Wall Street Journal estimated that one in six Americans now uses an eReader, a number that has nearly doubled since 2010. That statistic is estimated to more than triple in these next few years, which leads to the question, what will become of print?

The bright side to this new trend is that eReaders aren’t entirely replacing books in American households; many readers own both an eReader and a hearty bookshelf filled with volumes of print. According to the Wall Street Journal, amongst eReader users only 6% admit to not purchasing a single book in the past year, which is a much better percentage than the 32% of Americans who haven’t purchased a book at all in the past year. Perhaps the accessibility of books on an eReader increases not only book sales, but also reading and literacy rates.

Both book lovers and eReader advocates have strong feelings on the topic. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for both print books and their digital counterparts.