How did you become a photographer? Because I am largely self-taught, I’ve always felt a little weird about that title, acknowledging that those who qualify as “photographers” in my mind are those who have invested years and endless dollars into honing their skill. I’d always say, “I’m just a girl with a Nikon who is in love with the details.” I do my fair share of goofing off and photoshop fun, but I want my art to be important and to be distinguishable from the scads of fauxtographers out there. I’m always confounded when people encourage glaring examples of fauxtography, I suspect they just don’t know much about photographic composition, or they are just being nice. To clarify, fauxtographers are phonies who jump on the “I’m so artsy and creative” identity bandwagon, calling themselves professional photographers though they largely shoot a bunch of garbage in auto or presets, throw it in black and white and then call it art. They have limited actual technical knowledge about photography and their true colors come out in situations that require technical savvy. If you see someone who can’t shoot in manual, someone who only owns one camera and who uses the built in flash…you have got yourself a fauxtographer. Their “work” is generally poorly composed and exposed and color compensated and is lacking in dimension. Since they don’t know what the f an f stop is, they can’t pull off depth of field. I do think having a great eye for the story and the composition is by far the most important skill. I know “professionals” with studios and all the best in equipment with expert technical know-how but their actual photographs are uninspired. I think it crucial to have that artistic sensibility while having the technical skill to back it up and execute your vision. Otherwise, to me, it seems pointless. I am continuously trying to improve my craft. I have a lot of room to grow. Weekend art school classes and conferences go a long way, as does forcing myself to shoot in technically challenging situations and being increasingly hyper-critical of my own work. Still, I don’t take myself too seriously.
What do you shoot with? A Nikon D80, I have a D5000 for back up and assorted lenses (always lusting for more). I adore my latest acquisition, a prime lens that gives gorgeous bokeh.
Who did you last kiss? The last boy to kiss me was Banjo, my dog.
How do you choose your subjects? Generally speaking, they chose me. I like to shoot organically as events unfold. I photograph my family the most because they are the people I am with the most. My children are by far the coolest, most interesting people I know. I think my photography reflects who I am, a weird, romantic, dreamy, poetic girl who savors the details.
What advice to you have for being a Mom? Trust your self. You are exactly the Mom your kids need and they are exactly the children you are supposed to raise. The universe makes sure of that. Don’t compare yourself to other Moms or anyone else’s expectations. Play! Have fun! What a gift it is to behold their wonderment and imagination. Be flexible. Waffles for dinner? Brilliant! Try not to stress out about the jelly fingerprints on the wall and endless mountains of laundry when there are piles of golden leaves to jump in. But it is THE priority in your life. The most important job, in my estimation that you have been charged with. As Jackie O once said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.”
What are your guilty pleasures? Spa treatments. Junk food. I love peanut M&Ms, milkshakes and french fries. I have an addiction to moisturizer and of course, shoes. I work in a photography studio and the attire is “business comfortable” – polished, but where you are able to climb up on stepladders and get on the floor. I need to buy more sensible shoes, but damn it, those slick 4 inch red sling-back stilettos are always the ones calling out to me.
When are you at your happiest? I find things to be happy about every day. The last time I remember saying to myself, “boy I am really happy right now” was a few weeks ago at a camping trip on the Saco River. A severe thunderstorm had sent the crowds packing and we woke up to an empty beach and endless late summer sunshine. After sipping campfire coffee while watching blue herons in tall grasses frisk out silvery fish, I dove in, naked, washed my hair in the cool river water and later, stretching out, letting the morning sun warm my skin, I felt completely wonderful.
If you had only five dollars what would you buy? Either a cup of really good coffee or some lip gloss and atomic fireballs.
What is your favorite song? Sir Duke, Stevie Wonder. I really can feel it all over.
Besides photography what are you good at? Cooking. I have perfected crème brûlée. It’s actually really easy but sounds impressive when company arrives. The sugar scorching blow torch is way fun.
What do you stink at? Bowling. Even with bumpers, I’m a sad sack.
What would I find in your refrigerator right now? That is a great question. That tells you a lot about a person. Once upon a time I’d probably have said, half a bottle of wine, assorted takeout containers and soy sauce packets. Nowadays: milk, juice, bread, eggs, cheese sticks, yogurt tubes, juice boxes, oranges, red peppers, baby spinach, grapes, carrots, limes, hummus, jam, seltzer, salad dressing, a wedge of gorgonzola cheese…I’m a Mommy type now. My refrigerator certainly reflects that!
What do you think is the important thing in a romantic partner? Honesty, respect, being with someone who encourages you and helps you become the best version of yourself while striving to be the best that they can be. Someone fun so that a trip to the grocery store becomes a grand adventure. Most importantly, I believe that you have to love and trust yourself, otherwise you end up inviting garbage into your life.
What do you like about yourself? That I’m creative and genuine and funny, though admittedly with a quirky sense of humor. That I am a good Mommy. I like that I see things differently from most and that I am becoming increasingly more comfortable in my own skin and care less and less about other people’s judgements. I find myself increasingly less interested in people pleasing.
What do you dislike about yourself? That I can be very impatient and stubborn. That I can either verbally eviscerate or freeze someone out when I feel wounded.
Who can always cheer you up? My brother. He just has to start talking like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets and I’m in stitches. He just gets me.
Do you still talk to any of your exs? Not really. I sometimes see my old high school boyfriend at BBQs, he is a sweet guy. Generally speaking I maintain good feelings and memories towards people I once loved, acknowledging that all relationships are meant to help you grow and evolve. Sometimes growing means outgrowing, but you maintain affection for the people you once were. I will confess that I have also been involved with an assclown or two and wouldn’t mind hearing that someone had set them on fire and put it out with an ice pick, but that kind of disdain is reserved for the worst of the worst. Trust me. They deserve it.
What does your 8th text message say and who was it from? It’s from my cousin Shelly, wanting to know if I can swing dinner at the Cheesecake Factory next week.
What makes you really mad? Dishonesty. Phonies. Littering…people who throw their trash or flick their cigarette butts out of their car windows make me feel stabby.
What was the last thing you purchased? A handmade beaded necklace and two bracelets from Toko Indo in Provincetown, MA.
What’s your bag right now? Lets’s see…lipgloss, mascara, wallet, mints, cough drops, hairbrush, dry shampoo, body spray, cute business card holder with the Eiffel Tower (a lovely and thoughtful birthday gift), my datebook, atomic fireballs, a Lara Bar wrapper, Aveda hand lotion, receipts, pens, the last can of Who Hash…
What’s your favorite color? It’s sort of a orangy-red, saffron meets paprika meets ripe summer peaches…there was a nearby florist when I lived in Newton that carried roses in this exact shade and my apartment was always filled with them.
Do you have many close friends? I have many, many wonderful friends but I would say only a few close friends. I think it’s hard to get in like that with me. I am super friendly but admittedly guarded. My best friend (Brian) has known me for over twenty years. There is something incredibly good about having someone in your life who has witnessed you changing skins, who has seen you at your very best and at your very worst, and still says, without hesitation, that they love you and think you are pretty terrific. I don’t have many examples of unconditional love in my life, so I am grateful for his.
Besides being a photographer or artist, if you could have any job what would it be? Food critic. Being paid to consume and describe delicious food and wine? Sign me up.
What traits do you notice in the opposite sex? Smile, eyes, I like tall men with great hair and beautifully-shaped lips. But really I am drawn in by someone with creativity, talent, an adventurous spirit, someone kind but with a sardonic sense of humor.
What do you notice in the same sex? Footwear.
Who do you like working with? My art group, SNAC. It is a great collection of talented, funny, motivated people. We just organically click. Our shows are a blast.
Who don’t you like working with? People that lack artistic integrity. I used to know someone who I would qualify as a fauxtographer (shot on auto with a point and shoot camera) and stole a number of my compositions (shooting over my shoulder) and ideas for projects that I shared with him, but boy did he get his panties in a twist when I shot a landscape that he (and many others) had photographed before, though the place had become inedibly important to me. I’d always cite him in shoots we had worked on together, he never returned the courtesy. It used to irk me but then I realized that the work speaks for itself and his being, generally speaking, poorly executed point and shoot shite, it’s laughable and nothing to be threatened by.
Who do you want to work with? Anyone that will let me play with their collection of Nikkor lenses.
What is the best gift you have ever received? That’s a hard one. I love giving and getting gifts, but want to receive things that tell me the person really knows me and my heart. Yankee candles are pleasant and all but a hand knitted orange scarf, vintage camera, great art book, collection of Mary Oliver poems, a favorite quote rendered in graceful calligraphy, tickets to see the Black Keys, a homegrown tomato, all tell me that you really know and love me.
What are you wearing right now? Ummm…black leggings, gray sweater, my naked feet.
How do you decompress? Yoga, reading poetry, meditation, taking in nature and art, hiking…I take long walks daily with my dog Banjo. I also find underpants dancing with the iPod volume turned way up, shoe therapy, head rubs from the one you love and many bottles of red wine with good friends to be wonderful coping mechanisms.
What photographers do you admire? So many. The classics of course like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Stieglitz, Richard Avedon, but also contemporary artists like photographer Tierney Gearon, who picked up a camera much like I did: to simply document her children and capture various vibrant and interesting stories, not personally conceiving herself as an artist until it became clear to the world at large she was very much one.