Spotlight for Inspiration- Robin Spalding
First things first. Where are you from? Do you do photography for a living or do you have a "real" job?
Robin Spalding Right now I live in Chincoteague, Va, but me and my husband will be moving to San Diego this July. So, I am pretty excited about that. He's in the Navy so we move alot. We aren't from here. I wish I did photography for a living and hopefully one day can make that a reality. But for right now no.
Heather Moreau Arsement When did you first pick up a camera?
Robin Spalding When I was in high school. Funny, I read a thriller and the main character was a photographer trying to solve her friend's murder. After I finished it I found my mom's old dslr in the attic and literally a week later the school's list of classes was sent out and photography was on it... so, I signed up to do that. With no real knowledge or anything of if I even liked it lol. But it turns out I had a knack and I fell in LOVE with it.
Heather Moreau Arsement What kinds of things did you start out photographing?
Robin Spalding It's funny, I set up tools in a still life. Yeah just tools on a blanket. train tracks (I feel like this is a law when you start off you must photograph train tracks lol). Random stuff. I did do one of my friend in a cape though its horrible you see my backyard fence lol. My most "famous" piece I did which I thought was soo cool and genius was a double exposure (done in the dark room) of my toilet and a ceiling fan. lol. It did look kinda neat and I still have it. It won first place in the county fair. lol. I didn't quite find my niche until college and then I lost it but found it again about a year ago.
Heather Moreau Arsement Well hats a perfect way to ask about when you found Fine Art.
Robin Spalding Well when I went to college I didn't go in as a photography major. I don't know why I went in as graphic design. a year in I decided I don't want to do that. I switched schools and then changed my major to math which I LOVE. then when i got to calculus 3 (which is not calc I am pretty sure its geometry from hell) and foundations of math class. I realized I am not going to be a mathematician. So I finally went back to photography and it felt like home. At first I did random things but in my intermediate class I fell into a block. I didn't know what i wanted to do with it. Everyone around me at the time was into landscapes, fashion and product shooting. I hated my work a week after I did it. I was sooooo stuck. Then I got a weird image in my head from flipping channels to fast. so i did a series with these girls holding balloons with their faces covered. i was soo excited and sooo hyper doing them. It was like a whole new side of myself exploded open. It was amazing. I immediately went out and did another series where the subjects had their faces covered and one had an umbrella and was all in black being passed by two girls all in white, when they pass... he falls to the ground but then gets up and turns in their direction with a white cover over his head. When I did it, I thought this would look cool. When I printed it (we were doing all film still when i went to college) I realized I did a series that represented my creative block, it was amazing. my teacher loved them and said welcome to conceptual photography. I still love that work even today. Fast forward to getting out of college, putting photography on a back burner to get a real job. Three years ago I had the chance to get back in and boy did times change. I thought I would do portraits and start a business. Omg I did NOT realize how hard that is, then I found Brooke Shaden and watched her creative live class which gave me the confidence to get back into doing conceptual images. It came back at the perfect time and was much needed. I gave up the portrait business which was going no where and have devoted myself into conceptual. Now I realize how important it is to me and that I can't give it up or let time go without pursuing it. THIS is who i am. THIS is what I do. I have to make time for it now.
Heather Moreau Arsement Well I am definitely a fan of your work. I remember the first image I saw of yours that made me in awe. It's the bathtub floating one. Your work is very constant in color and style. I know when I see an image of yours, that it is YOURS
Robin Spalding That is great to hear too! Sometimes I worry that I am too influenced by others I mean there is great stuff out there it's hard not to be influenced so I want to make work that's mine and not just an image that's been done a million times already. It's also why I avoid certain props.
Heather Moreau Arsement I think we all struggle with that from time to time. Tell me about what inspires you to create. I can tell that it's very personal to you.
Robin Spalding My inspiration definitely comes from my emotions and issues I am tying to deal with mentally. I am not good with explaining things or dealing with things. lol My husband says I am too emotional. My work is a way for me to cope, to work things out. It is funny sometimes I will do a shoot and then looking at it when it is done realize how subconsciously, I was dealing with an issue. My work is kinda dark because I am dealing with depression, anxiety, and infertility; so that comes out a lot. It does help me heal. I feel better after I do a piece, it is my journal. It gets this crazy chaotic mess in my head out and in order. I don't know what I would do right now going through the infertility without the art to help me calm down and get through it. It definitely keeps me sane. I also listen to music and find inspiration in that. You'll see a lot of lyrics and song titles in my titles and descriptions of many pieces.
Heather Arsement You had something recently exciting happen. You won a ticket to After Dark by entering a contest by Brooke Shaden. Can you tell us more about that?
Robin Spalding OK OMG!!!!!! lol It was AMAZING and LIFE CHANGING. So, Brooke posted about After Dark and giving away a pass for it... you had to tell her what it would mean to you. Well you can read what I wrote on her blog as it was a reply to the post. But when I got the message from her. Omg, first off I just saw her name in the message and I flipped out. Like hyperventilating. immediate crying, screaming jumping. I think I blacked out a sec. Then I read the message and I am pretty sure I did black out. It was the best thing in the world, going to after dark was sooo incredible. I said hello to every person I saw that had a camera. I am not shy let me tell you. I was soo hyper and excited. I cried when I saw Brooke approaching me. I mean this is real life! I couldn't believe it! I met sooooooooooooooooooooo many people and became great friends with all of them. (I even got to meet the lovely Rocio who runs the guild). I could be totally be myself which is loud, weird, odd and crazy and it was totally normal and fine for everyone! I loved it. There is NOTHING like being surrounded by 200 photographers! The classes were amazing, learning and meeting Brooke was a DREAM come true! She is sooo sweet and genuine and caring. I love her even more. I can't even describe my time there it actually leaves me speechless. I will never forget it and I hope to do it again and again! Working with models, shooting with photographers. talking non stop on gear... lol It is just sooo much fun. It was huge for me to be able to have gone and I will be forever grateful to Brooke for choosing me. It really drove home the fact that no matter what happens I WILL make photography a reality for me. I WILL be doing this forever. I WILL make it as a photographer. In short, I loved it it was a dream come true.
Heather Moreau Arsement I love that you have that awesome opportunity! It was so nice talking with you. As I said, I am a fan of your work. It is genuine and truthful and beautiful. Do you have anything you would like to say before we go?
Robin Spalding Thank you soooo much for giving me this opportunity to share my story with you! It means soo much to me! If I could give advice to any one out there, it is to not be afraid and to make the time. You will never be given time to do what you love. If you want to do something, especially something you LOVE go out and make the time for it! Do not let time pass you by. pursue what you love. You can make dreams into reality.
Robin's Gift of Inspiration: