Sometimes I feel like a kid looking inside a candy store when it comes to some situations. I can admire, but I can never have it or be a part of it. The past few months, the bloggers and photographers I have eulogized are becoming a part of this blog. I feel as if I don't give the amount of charter deserved to the amazing people on this series, and this photographer is no exception.
I had admired her work from afar and finally had to courage to shoot a quick email. I'm amazed at how modest these awesome people are. She is just as excited for this as I am and I would love to introduce you to Dr. Nancy L. Stockdale, aka, Futurowoman.
There has always been an unspoken ethos on academia and arts. You just can't mix the two. I've always been brought up that way and always struggled with these but Nancy is someone I greatly admire who loves both of her jobs- her job as a photographer and her job as a professor at a reputable university. Academia and arts-amazing! I always learn something new in my own hobby but this interview hit a little too close to home.
I like to think that my photography embodies the best elements of vernacular photography. As a self-taught photographer, I don't worry about perfection or any of the "right" ways to take photos. I don't want anyone to teach me the "proper" way to hold my camera or to rigidly follow the "rule of thirds" etc! Instead, I aim my camera and shoot it! I want to take photos that have an immediate feel, an authentic sense of composition, and everyday subject matter. Most of the photos that I take are simply of scenes I find around me, be they urban details I encounter, botanicals sprouting up in my environment, or places I visit. I try not to think too hard about the image, but instead, I just shoot and accept what I get, even if its radically different from what I expect.
I am inspired by the small details of everyday life. I love to take photos of quick moments in time, like beautiful skies or ephemeral flowers, before they disappear forever. Because I am an historian by trade, I am also obsessed with cataloguing the cultural productions of
everyday life, such as signs, graffiti, and architectural details. The natural world is constantly changing, but so is the human-constructed world. I love to take photos of old roadside attractions, the doors and windows of people's homes, and other little mementos of the societies we build around us, because you never know when those things will be torn down or otherwise disappear.
I am a completely self-taught photographer, so I don't have a starting point for when I began to "learn" photography. However, I got my first camera sometime when I was a child. It was a Kodak Instamatic that took 110 film! I've always loved to take photographs, but really got
serious about it in the late 1990s. My obsession with photography, however, became full-blown in early 2005. It was at that time that I got my first SLR, a digital Olympus e-300 Evolt. With the limitless nature of digital photography and the ability to take as many photos as I wanted, I learned a lot about my own style. That same year, I realized that, while I adore the immediacy of digital cameras, I am very partial to analog photography. I got deeply involved with Soviet
and other Eastern European cameras, like the Lomo LC-A and the Praktica, toy cameras like the Holga and Fujipet, and the amazing world of Polaroid. Now I mostly shoot analog and have become best known for my work with instant film and toy cameras. I love the grain of film and the beauty of holding a photo in your hand.
That is so hard!!! I adore my Polaroid SX-70, because there is simply nothing like its sharp-yet-dreamy optics and the thrill of instant integral photography! However, I also love my Lomo LC-A, especially using cross-processed slide film. I'm also very partial to my Holga, especially my CFN (I have several Holga, including one with a Polaroid back), because its particular lens has an amazing blur in the right-hand bottom corner of each frame I shoot that I simply adore!
ALL! I think the key is developing your own style, not necessarily relying on the medium. In my humble opinion, a photographer's style should shine through her photos regardless of the medium. I have no idea if I've achieved this, but I'd love for people to be able to see one of my Holga shots or digital shots or Polaroid shots or what have you and say, "Ah, that's a photo by Nancy Stockdale." To have a definitive style is more important to me than the specific type of
camera I'm shooting.
It's really impossible for me to select one photo of all of the ones I've taken as an ultimate favorite, especially since my love for images often has to do with my memories of taking the image, and that may have nothing to do with the quality of the image. However, if I had to choose one *today*, it would probably be "Portrait of a Lazy Whippet"
This was a simple Sunday-afternoon Polaroid that I took of my dog, Laika, and it really embodies for me some of the best qualities of Instant Photography: spontaneity, but also subtle light and instant gratification via the tiny objet d'art that pops out of the camera and develops in your hand!
you harmonize the two different hobbies?
Well, academia isn't really my "hobby" per se, as I am a university professor. I am a professional historian of the Middle East; it is my passion, and it is also how I make my living. However, photography is a perfect hobby for an historian and academic, because I can always find new photographic material in my travels for research and conferences. Also, I believe that my love of learning about the past has given me a special appreciation for the need to archive my personal and professional experiences, and what better way to do that than with visual evidence? While being a professor is a very demanding job, I have a lot more control over my daily schedule than people who work rigid 9-5 type jobs. It is sometimes easier for me to take an afternoon "off" and go shooting, because so much of my work is solitary and can be done at any time of the day or night. Finally, I believe that everyone needs an outlet that brings some balance into her life. For me, photography has become a very relaxing hobby, and one that helps me find creative expression in ways that are different than research, teaching, and the other elements of the academic life.
To learn more about Nancy...
The winner will be able to choose any photo they want and trust me, you will spend a good few minutes looking and another good amount of time deciding which one you would love to own.
*Leave a comment with your favorite photo from the shop and your name will be entered once
*Visit Nancy's blog and say hello from our.city.lights and I will make sure to enter you four times! (but pretty please let me know)
The winner will be chosen via Excel then Random.org
on midnight (Los Angeles time) on June 28.
Thanks and good luck!