Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
A local Coastal Woman’s Magazine was looking to feature a female artist from the area so needless to say I submitted the following interview that I did with my daughter during dinner the other night. It will be published next month. Here is a sneak peak. Enjoy!
An Interview with Andei Keough
We both had our cameras out one summer evening as the crimson sun was setting over the Bogue Sound. I had my Canon EOS Digital camera and my daughter Andei had her medium format plastic camera called a Holga loaded with color film.
It was an extremely majestic Crystal Coast sunset. I positioned myself to capture a wide angle shot of the glowing orange sun melting into the water with some trees framed in the foreground of my composition. As I got ready to expose my photographs I looked over and noticed Andei lying down on the ground with Holga in hand shooting the sunset through a white, picket fence. I thought to myself there is no way she can get a decent shot from that angle and vantage point. I mentioned my concern to her, but she brushed me off and took her photographs through that fence. I framed up some nice traditional scenic pictures and was able to view my images immediately because I was shooting digitally. However…we had to wait a few days to get Andei’s film developed and make a print of her sunset.
Long story short…her pictures were visually dynamic and much more unique and interesting than my traditional “post card” approach to photographing the scene. In fact, Andei sold that photograph during an Arts Council exhibition a few months later.
That same scenario has played out time and time again as we traveled and photographed all across Ireland 2 years ago. Andie looks at potential subjects to photograph and sees so many creative possibilities and is not afraid to experiment and take risks whenever she pulls out her camera.
Even though I’ve been photographing for 40+ years, I must admit Andei has taught me a few things about breaking out of my box and SEEING potential subject matter for my pictures a little differently.
The following is an interview I conducted with my daughter over dinner.
1. When did you first start becoming interested in photography?
I’ve been taking pictures from an early age considering both my parents are serious photographers, however the first time I truly realized just how much I loved photography was when I was living in Sicily and my mother let me use her 35 mm Minolta film camera that had a broken light meeter. She taught me how to use it and explained the shutter speeds and f/stops to me before I went outside and shot my first roll. The pictures came out great and I was hooked from that moment on. Since that time I’ve fallen in love with medium format film photography and have experimented with a variety of plastic cameras such as the Holga and Diana Camera, in addition to more recently shooting with a Hasselblad 2/14 format camera.
2. What do you think it means to be an artist?
To be an artist is kind of like being a philosopher. I make photographs because I am curious about the world around me. I want my pictures to make people think. Everybody brings there own insights, experiences and perspectives to the work and I am well aware that my pictures may communicate different things to different viewers. Artists and fine art photographers should make you think in new ways about the world around you. I love photographically exploring colors, patterns, textures and I like to incorporate symbolic references in my pictures – especially when I work with models in setting up a photograph.
3. Where do your ideas for your photographs come from?
I love traveling to new places and exploring those new environments and the people with my camera. I’ve been lucky to have done a lot of traveling over the past 10 years. I have photographed in the Bahamas, Ireland, Sicily, Rome, France, El Salvador and Amsterdam. I don’t really specialize in any one type of image making or subject matter. I love documentary, fine art, travel photography and portraiture, in addition to coming up with visually interesting environments, outfits and props for my models.
I am still young and realize my work and personal style is still evolving and that’s the way it should be with art and photography. I have noticed a lot of my landscape work is minimal when it comes to my compositions. I like to focus in on or isolate certain colors, textures and shapes in my photographs and that takes being hyper sensitive and in tune with my surroundings. This is just one aspect of my personal style however – not my only approach.
4. What are the situations when you feel a strong urge to photograph?
I just love light and color and I also enjoy going out with my friends and just seeing what can happen when we find a cool location and just start making photographs and having some fun with it. Sometimes I’ll get an idea for a picture and then I try to find the best setting, model and props to bring my concept to life. That’s a real challenge for me as a photographer, but it is also very satisfying when it all comes together and my idea comes to realization.
What was it like to study art and photography in Rome, Italy for your first year of college? Share with us a little bit about how studying and living in Rome and how those experiences influenced the type of photography you explore as an artist?
It was very difficult for me to photograph in Rome because it is such a congested and chaotic city. I did however learn a great deal about studio lighting, creative collaboration and setting up photographs with models while studying at the International Design Institute. This was really the first time I got interested in creating my own environments and controlling all aspects of the photograph. I did love photographing in Sicily. The landscape is absolutely beautiful and the light is like nothing I have ever seen before. Living in Sicily is what got me interested in nature / landscape photography as well as doing environmental portraits. Living and going to college in Rome was an incredible learning and growing experience for me and I’m glad I had to opportunity to study art and photography in the city of Michelangelo, Raphael and Da Vinci.
5. Why do you like shooting film over digital photography?
I find shooting with film is more of an alchemical experience. To me there is something mysterious about the photographic process and that makes it more of an art form to me. I believe there are more layers of meaning in film photography and it’s more of painstaking process when you are developing and printing your images in the darkroom, instead of just downloading your pictures into the computer. I’m excited about the “subtle magic” in traditional film photography and it compliments my personal style better than digital imaging.
I know it sounds weird, but I consider myself a bit of a Renaissance woman. I enjoy trying my hand at a variety of artistic mediums and just love to create whether it be with photography, pottery, sewing or painting, Its all about learning and experimenting for me. Art and photography are mediums that help me understand and make some sense of the world around me.
Making pictures is what I really enjoy and I try to make it a part of my daily life. I’m still young and very enthralled and excited about life and all its possibilities. Art helps us ask and sometimes answer the WHY’s of life.
Check out Andei’s photo blog to see more of her work. Click Here!