portrait

Josephine Dvorken

photographer
Location: Ridgewood, New Jersey
LinkedIn Profile

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Interview

2008

How did you become a photographer?
I first found an interest in photography in the sixth grade when I was doing an experiment on facial asymmetry. My dad and I used my grandpa’s darkroom.

Where are you from originally?
I grew up in a small town in New Mexico called Los Alamos.

Who were your main influences growing up?
My mom and dad were always very supportive of me. My grandparents always gave me plenty of art supplies.

Did you go to art school/college or are you self-taught?
Stared at the University of Hartford as a ceramics major.
Transferred to University of New Mexico and earned a BFA in photography.
I am currently studying at the International Center of Photography in NYC.

Any advice or tips to novice photographers?
Be a good listener.

What has been the most rewarding and challenging project you have worked on?
I am working on a completely different body of work right now. I am having the time of my life. The most challenging part about it is being patient enough to not show it until I am done.

What is your favorite portfolio piece? Why?
I have two favorites. The first one is the picture of my daughter’s back. She was three years old. I had conceptualized a picture that I wanted. I was down to my last shot and I was getting picky. I didn’t want to waste it. She decided she was done, stood up and twirled off the little set I had made. That is when I got that picture. That is when I learned not to think so much.

The second was of my son Jakob. He was four years old and very seldom sat still long enough for me to take a nice portrait of him. I was taking pictures of my cousin Cathy and her daughter Sara in my living room. He would not leave us alone. He kept throwing pillows over the backdrop. Finally the backdrop fell over on all of us and I was forced to give him a little attention. It occurred to me that maybe he was ready to have his picture taken. I asked him and he said yes. I took 3 pictures and he jumped up to go play. This is when I learned the best way to deal with people who don’t want their picture taken is to honor them when they say no and trust that they will come around if it is meant to be.

What American art or artist inspires you most?
I recently found a book on Helen Levitt. She is amazing! I stood there in the Museum of Modern art bookstore and giggled to myself every time I turned another page. Her work is so funny and beautiful and free and cute and grand and important. I would love to see more of her work. I think she must be really nice.