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How did you become a photographer?
I went to art school because I wanted to learn how paint. Then later I thought that it might be a lot easier to just take a photograph. Now I combine the two. I am really a painter at heart and even though my technique may first be perceived as strictly reportage, I do skew the viewers perception by “painting” on the photos using light and shadow in post-production, creating scenes that are at the same time real and fabricated.
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Columbus, Ohio.
Who were your main influences growing up?
My grandmother was a painter. When I was little I would go over to her apartment and she would set up an easel in her studio for me to draw on right next to hers. She would paint, and I would take my crayons and do these abstract drawings that were kind of like a six year old’s version of cubism. We had a wonderful time together and it was hugely influential in me wanting to become an artist.
Later in life working at the Swanstock agency had a huge influence on me. I was able to personally work with a huge collection of current fine art photography as well and the photo editors and art directors who were selecting photography for their projects and campaigns. I saw all of the different work being created and how it was being used which had a tremendous impact on me and still does.
Did you go to art school/college for photography or are you self-taught?
I received my BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio in 1991. I majored in both fine art and commercial photography and minored in painting and illustration.
Any advice or tips to novice photographers?
Don’t give up. Develop your own personal style and a strong cohesive body of work. Find themes that you love and that matter to you and explore them. Have fun. If it’s not fun, stop and figure out how to make it fun.
What has been the most rewarding and challenging project you have worked on?
I think every project is both equally challenging and rewarding in it’s own way. There is a certain wonderful feeling that I get when I am creating an image that I know I am going to love. I can just feel it as I am making it and I find the photos that come out of those events the most rewarding.
What is your favorite portfolio piece? Why?
I can’t say that I have a single favorite portfolio image because all of my images are autobiographical in one way or another. Each one is a page in the journal of my life. My favorites being the ones that evoke the most memories. For example, I have a photo that I took one morning while making french toast. I loved the way the bread looked floating in the batter, so I ran and got my camera. It’s one of my favorites because it reminds me of how spontaneous and fun that morning was and how much I love being at home with my husband and cats.
What art or artist inspires you most?
Keith Carter continues to be an inspiration. Years ago his book Mojo showed me that photos could also be poems. And a couple of weeks ago I attended a presentation that he gave at Center for Creative Photography here in Tucson. Afterwards, I went home and immediately ordered his equally inspirational video which is available through Anthropy Arts.