It's been far too long, but Approaching Velocity is back with its second interview, featuring photographer Keri-Anne Pink
Keri-Anne's vivid imagination and an unconventional approach of using over-exposure as an integral part of her photography create a dream-like state far removed from many of the every day scenes depicted in her work.
What is your background to photography?
I became interested in photography around five years ago. I had a little point and shoot camera and loved just shooting anything I saw. I loved being able to look back a few months later and remembering a particular moment. Eventually I became more and more passionate and realised that I could get so much more out of photography. I started reading magazines and pouring over peoples photos online and wishing that I had taken that photo. This gave me the determination to learn and learn.
What influences your photography?
Fairy tales, beautiful meadows, woods and streams. I have such a vivid imagination and ideas appear in my head so I carry a notebook around which I write these ideas down. It could just be a title or word or a full description of how I want a photograph to look.
Is there a particular subject that you find yourself continually returning to and photographing?
I tend to always return to childhood memories - rocking horses, paper boats, dolls houses - I like to bring an innocent fairytale like feel to my work.
Your use of over-exposure creates very dream-like photographs that seem removed from the 'real' world. How did you develop a preference for this kind of photography? Is this something you always set out to achieve in your photography?
I don't think this was ever the look I set out to achieve for my work. It just kind of fell into place. When I take photos, this is just how they end up becoming. It must be subconscious. I am happier with my work when it has a dreamy quality to it. I feel more connected to it.
Equally, whilst your photographs seem removed from the real world, so too does any relationship to the people in your photographs. You seem to purposely 'cut off' limbs and heads, making the people rather detached from the rest of the photograph and the viewer. Are you aware of doing this, and why do you do so?
Yes I am. I actually had a comment on a photograph this week from a girl saying that it seems to be a trademark of mine. Half hidden faces, half hidden bodies. When I first started out, I wasn't interested in using people. I wanted to take photos of nature and any scene that I found beautiful or inspiring. I am very self-conscious and never really dreamed of having myself in my photographs. The more and more I grew up and the more my photos developed and the more my imagination took over, I realised that to tell the story, I needed to be confident to get in front of the camera. Eventually I hope to be confident enough to include my whole self. It has only been the last six months or so where I have felt the confidence needed to not only be the subject of my photograph but also to share it with other people.
You recently stated that you're starting a new project entitled 'lonely dresses' – tell us more about it!
This is very exciting for me. At the end of 2007, I was shown by a very dear friend a series of photographs by Belén Dezzi and Remo Bianchedi called La mariée mise à nu y el regreso del Sr. Lafuente, incluso. The photographs were so beautiful and were really engraved into my mind for months. It was a series of floating dresses in beautiful places such as staircases of grand mansions. I tried to do my own take and took some photographs but my technical knowledge was minimal and I wasn't really happy with the outcome - I had a brand new SLR camera and didn't really understand it or its functions!. Around three months ago, I came back to these photographs and knew that I had to re-do them. I have pondered over them and want to see how far I can push my imagination.
Do you have a format preference for your photography? How do you feel a film or digital approach makes a difference to your final images?
I have always either used digital or a polaroid for my work. I have used film a few times but I have only just got my head around digital photography and the developed photographs were not what I wanted or expected. This, along with lomo cameras (a Holga and an Anny camera) are what I really want to start exploring. I love the idea of film. With digital, you can tweak pictures using editing software but with film and lomos, it's all done beforehand, which really excites me. Right now I am a full time mother to a baby girl and I would really love to explore film so much more. I just need to find that time and hopefully in a few years, I can build my knowledge (and confidence) with film.
How much would you say digital photography and extensive post-processing applications has affected you as a photographer?
It has only been recently that I have learnt about post-processing. I went through a phrase of using it a lot but I got so frustrated that I couldn't produce an effect without using post-processing. I am learning so much more now about my camera and different things I can use before and during the photo to achieve the look I want without having to use editing software.
The Internet has transformed the way people create, disseminate and consume art. How do you feel this has affected your photography?
Having the internet is like travelling. When you go to a different country, you can become inspired by the architecture and culture of that country. It is the same with photographs. Seeing so many varied styles and so many different peoples work from different countries can inspire most artists. I have a Flickr account where I can view work from people all over the world and I get really inspired. Some of my photos have been inspired by others and without having the internet, I would never have seen that work so my photograph would never exist.
What do you like most/least about photography?
I can become so frustrated with trying to get the camera set up for a shot beforehand. No matter how many books and tutorials I have read, for some reason I sometimes just don't understand apertures, f-stops and exposures - they still really confuse me but I never give up and I do get my shot in the end. I get a great sense of achievement when I have my completed shot as I know I worked it all out myself. I have never had a photography lesson and have had to learn everything myself. My most favourite part of photography is imagining up all the photos before hand in my head and then seeing the final outcome just makes me extra happy.
Does your photography say anything about you, or speak for you?
I have a passion for anything dreamy and nostalgic. I tend to live in my own fairytale half the time and I try to create work that I would love to stare at all day myself.
In an ideal world, if there was anything you could shoot, regardless of expenses (money, time etc.) what would you choose to photograph?
I would love to do an underwater mermaid shoot. Long floaty dresses, long floaty hair and a lovely sun beam straight onto the model. It is a dream shoot and I WILL do it one day. I just need to find a big swimming pool or have the confidence to plunge myself in the middle of the sea and having a willing model, a boat, a wetsuit, a good waterproof camera etc. I would also love to do a Grimm's fairytale series. Having one shot for every fairytale. And also I would love love to do a shoot based on the nutcracker. Oversized mice, dolls, soldiers, tin drums! The Nutcracker is my most favourite ballet and to do a shoot based on it would be a dream.
Do you have a favorite photographer?
Tim Walker! His work is like a dream. I aspire to have work that amazing! He is such a big inspiration. http://www.thomastreuhaft.com/Tim_Walker/tw.html
In the future, where do you wish to go with photography?
I actually want to write and illustrate children's stories and fairy tales. The illustrations will actually be my own photographs instead of paintings or drawings. I love having stories in my head and then being able to do a photo shoot based on that. I would love to sell these books but I also want to make private ones for my daughter when she is older.
I find with my photography that I am constantly learning from other photographers; with this is mind, do you have any advice for other young photographers as to how to approach the art?
Yes. When I started, I was scared to ask other photographers for help or ask how they created a certain photograph. Eventually, I plucked up the courage and asked people's help and was so surprised with how lovely and helpful people were! I have learnt so much from others. If I get a message now asking about my work, I am more than happy to help out as much as I can. If you want to ask a question, you should just ask! You will be surprised with how willing people are to help you out. Everyone started with no knowledge in this industry and even the most famous photographers wouldn't have gotten where they are today without others help.
Bella Kotak, our last interviewee, asks, 'What is your favourite time of day to shoot photographs?'
Sunset! The light is so rich and pure. I love the feel it gives to my photographs.
What would you like to ask the next photographer interviewee?
How would you describe your work in three words?
See more of Keri-Anne Pink's work at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gingerlillytea & buy prints here http://www.gingerlillytea.etsy.com
If you'd like to be considered for an interview, or know someone talented, get in touch with Approaching Velocity at approachingvelocity AT googlemail.com explaining why and with links where appropriate.
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Words (c) 2009 Keri-Anne Pink / Nicholas Blake / Approaching Velocity.
All images in 'Interview #2' (c) 2009 Keri-Anne Pink.
Approaching Velocity's editor is Nicholas Blake who is unbelievably out there.