Mina Lucia is Lesly Deschler, a photographer I have admired for some time. Funny thing, we befriended each other through the internet, and through emails, I've discovered a new form of inspiration. She doesn't call herself a professional photographer, but I think a "professional" photographer is someone who gives a new light to professional, amateur (or like me amateur-amateur) photographers. I asked her a couple questions and her answers bring emotion behind the lens.
Interesting choice. I thought with our shared interest in archives and libraries you would choose another. I like to say this is my Laura Palmer (Twin Peaks) picture. But really it is a still from a performance piece I did many years ago called Ice Bed. It was inspired by the work of Laurie Anderson and Ana Mendieta. I actually found this image recently and realized it was the last time I turned the camera on myself. It was made during a difficult time in my life after my mom left this world and I was living in a place where I felt stuck physically, emotionally and creatively.
Not inspiration, more like a need to get the images out into the world. I do not consider myself to be a professional photographer. I would say that I am a working artist. I make images, show in galleries on occasion, teach, edit for reviews and make editorial work. My boyfriend (a media artist and photographer) and I produce beautiful wide format archival ink jets for photographers. Somehow it all comes together. I also have two degrees in photo – a BFA and MFA so after that kind of insane financial commitment I have to make it work. I have had some really rewarding jobs outside of photo but despite my enthusiasm and effort I was never satisfied. I had to do it I suppose.
One photo? The work of contemporary photographers like Sebastião Salgado (especially his work at Serra Pelada) and James Nachtwey blow me away. To me this is photography at is most epic and precise practice. The romantic pictures of Georgia O’Keeffe by Alfred Stieglitz grab me every time. They are full of lust and are beautiful Palladium prints. Robert Frank’s The Americans, Atget’s disappearing Paris, Belloq’s prostitutes. Too many!
As for my own it is pretty simple really. A picture of my mom. She was thoughtful and strong and I hope this picture conveys that sentiment.
I thought about this one for a while. I think amateurs have opportunity to express themselves in a way that is lost once you go to photo school or start getting paid.
I would say if you are happy as an amateur -stay an amateur. Of course if you have a fire in your belly you cannot quench you should push yourself further. Part of the reason I enjoy teaching is to let young photographers know there are other options. While there is art school there are also internships at local papers, journalism, workshops and professional programs. Show at a local joint, enter contests and form photo groups. Just inform yourself on the history of photo and try not to romanticize one camera or process too much. I think this can be creatively limiting and can result in a lot of work that all looks very similar. Take an intro to black and white darkroom class. Being in the dark and experiencing the process as it appears on paper is amazing. Shoot full frame, no cropping when you are learning to compose. Makes you accountable for everything.
more of Lesly
also, she has offered to giveaway an 8x10 of her "Butterflies" print, one of my favorites.
In order to enter, visit the etsy shop and comment on which print is your favorite.
Feel free to comment on the interview and any of Lesly's photographs, but if the comment doesn't have a favorite from her shop, you won't be entered.
(also, i know i haven't announced any winners of the past couple giveaway, but i promise i will this week!!)