Hello, Ivy Thank you sitting down with me today.
Let’s start with how you started in photography!
Hello! And thank you!
I’ve always loved art, but what really got me started in photography was when I had the opportunity to shoot and develop film with a pinhole camera in middle school. I fell in love with photography instantly!
So you started shooting film?
I was in an advanced art class at the time and about five students from the class were chosen to take a really short film class, taught by a teacher from our local Fine Art Center. It was a really short class so I didn’t get a chance to do a lot of film, but I would love to do more. After that my uncle gave me my first camera, which was a Sony point and shoot, and I got into digital photography from that point on.
What was the next step in your journey when did you know this was your dream?
For a while I took pictures of places and things, such as abandoned houses and animals, nature, etc. When I started doing self portraits and portraiture in general, I think that is when I realized how much I really loved photography. I wanted to create stories out of my photographs by combining nature, portraiture, animals, and abandoned locations for both beautiful photos and conceptual pieces.
Throughout my life I have had several different loves, dancing, drawing, writing, etc. but photography is really the one thing I have been able to stick with and always have passion in.
Seems like as artists we all have a similar desire…to tell stories…. to have a voice.
Well, I have been a fan of your work for a while now. The first photo that caught my eye was the birdcage over the head photo. As simple as the concept seems to be it creates an impact. Can you tell me about what inspires you?
Thank you! That is actually one of my favorite concepts.
A lot of my conceptual photos are inspired by things going on in my life, sometimes good things, sometimes bad things. One of the great things about being an artist is that we can view bad things as inspiration, which almost turns it into a positive thing, even though that sounds like a contradiction haha!
I’ve always been very observant, my mom calls me a dawdler, because I always take my time and take everything in everywhere that I go. So many things that I see inspires me, whether it’s a location, or a pretty dress, the way the sun shines through a window, or the way the grass grows through the cracks of an old street, there is so much beauty in the world whether it’s something simple or something complex.
Your work has a fashion inspired feeling. Which genre of photography is your favorite to shoot?
That’s definitely a hard one, because I love so many! I love mixing things together, rather than sticking to one style or one look. It also depends on the mood I am in, sometimes I will start off with one idea and then it turns into something completely different! I really like to combine prettiness with conceptual. I keep trying to think of ways to explain how I feel about my work, but it’s complicated because I never stick to one style. My work is very eclectic and I don’t know if I will ever be able to choose one genre.
Where do you find your models, clothing and makeup artist?
I started off doing self portraits and taking photos of my little sister. After that I started to dress my friends up and meet new ones online, mostly from facebook. Once my work started getting out there more, people would find me and contact me through their friends or they would email me or message me on facebook and it just kept going from there!
Where do you get your clothes you use in shoots? What about hair and makeup?
I get most of my clothes from thrift shops, antique shops, yard sales, and even other artists and friends. Most of the time I do the makeup for my photography, I’ve always loved doing makeup and playing dress up. I have worked with other makeup artists, hair stylists and even a dress designer, to help us all gain more exposure, but I really love creating everything right down to the nitty gritty details.
What is your dream photography job?
I would love to get paid for what I’m doing now, haha! Even though I love weddings (which is my only source of income at the moment), I would rather get paid for creating the art pieces that I do. I would love to sell more prints and go to more fun and creative art galleries.
I hear ya!
I love that you have a clear vision and even though you say you are all over the place. Any advice for someone starting out in fine art photography?
Haha, I am definitely all over the place! But the one thing that I know for sure is that I will always, always be who I am no matter what. That is the biggest piece of advice that I would give to anyone. I have had people say negative things to and about me before, but I never ever let that stand in my way. It’s so important as a person, and as an artist to stay true to yourself, no matter what life or other people may throw your way. If you like something, even if it isn’t popular, even if everyone else thinks it’s stupid, do it anyway!
There are many times when I have an idea in my head and when I try to explain it I get weird looks from those that don’t see my vision, but once my vision is created in a photograph the looks change. Sometimes there are still negative people and rude comments-there always will be-but it’s important to keep going. Although it’s great to have people support and love your work, you have to keep in mind that this art was created by you and for you. We aren’t here to create art that we dislike just to appease others. It has to be from your heart, or you won’t really be happy with it in the end.I could go on forever, but I’m trying not to take up too much of your time haha!
One last question. I read that you got into a gallery show recently. Can you tell about that?
Yes! It was called Apocalyptic Wonderland by Fete. I entered the gallery on a whim, not thinking that I would be accepted. When I got the email saying I was accepted I was full of mixed emotions. I had to figure everything out because I had never done anything like this before, but it was an exciting and fun learning experience that I will never forget!
Being a girl in a small country town in South Carolina, traveling all the way to St Louis for an art gallery was huge for me! It was so much fun because everyone-artists, performers, and the guests-all dressed up in crazy fun outfits to go with the theme! Three of my pieces were chosen and we also got to decorate the section where our art would be displayed. I brought in an old shutter from an abandoned house I photographed, and a mummified opossum in a shadow box that my dad and I built because we couldn’t find one that would work in any store haha!
I had tons of fun creating the costumes my fiance and I wore, putting the display together, traveling all the way there, meeting new people, and everything came together so well in the end. It was definitely an exhilarating experience!
(Here’s the link in case you want to see!)
Thank you so much Ivy for letting me interview you. You are truly an inspiration.