April 25, 2011

Interview with: Elizabeth Duvivier

In early 2005, when I had no idea what a blog was, I followed a series of links from a parenting discussion board and landed on a most fascinating page.  It was a diary of sorts (a blog, as I came to learn) of a woman who described herself as a drowsy fabulist.  Her stories and her writing intrigued me and it wasn't until I began blogging myself later that year that I worked up the courage to leave a comment on one of her posts.

That woman was Elizabeth Duvivier and since that time, she has become my trusted friend and a huge supporter of my dreams and creative visions.  For years, Elizabeth has shared slices of her life through her blog, along with photos of dreamy sunsets blanketing the lakes of New Hampshire and her beloved dogs (the brombies).  She's recently been delving deeper into photography, capturing nature and light in a most ethereal way.

It is my pleasure to share with you this first interview with a creative artist, photographer, and a friend I so admire:

 Elizabeth Duvivier photo by Denise Andrade

1.  Can you remember when photography began to play a more important role in your creative life?  Could you describe that time for me, specifically when you realized that taking photos was no longer just a hobby, but something you felt a deeper passion for?

"Taking pictures shifted for me when I built mysticvixen as I gave it much more space for a large photo and, living at the farm definitely had a big impact, too.  So, the short answer is — very recently— since about August/September 2010, I would say.  The feeling of deep joy I get taking pictures really came to the fore in the past few months as I gained a certain confidence about my own eye and the pleasure that comes when you really like a snap you have taken.  Also, the process of walking around fields and up mountains with a camera in my hand pulls me into a magic world where everything else all drops off and I love that sensation."

Hello Autumn by: Elizabeth Duvivier

2.  What do you feel most comfortable taking photos of?  If you could step outside of your comfort zone for a day, tell me what you would photograph?

"I like to photograph flowers, plants, colors— outdoor vistas.  I am least comfortable photographing people and, as much as I admire “interesting” shots that are all about composition— like lines and shapes— I don’t really enjoy creating those pictures myself.  If I were to step out of my comfort zone— I suppose it would be to do a portrait session, but I really would not enjoy that."

QA Lace by: Elizabeth Duvivier

3.  Picture in your mind's eye the most beautiful picture you haven't yet taken.  What does that photo look like?

"If I could ever capture my dogs the way I see them at wonderful moments— snuggling on the bed with me, or running ahead on our walks— that would be the photo I would love.  But they change the moment the camera comes out.  Some images are for the mind’s eye only, I guess."

From Under the Apple Tree by: Elizabeth Duvivier

4.  Is there a favorite time of day or year that you prefer to take photos?

"I am very much an early morning or late afternoon/evening photog.  That’s when the light is really fun to play with.  I don’t really have a season— it’s much more about the light.  I won’t even bother on an overcast day because I don’t like the results."

Flowers, feet by: Elizabeth Duvivier

5.  Describe for me your process.  Do you carry your camera with you at all times or do you take it with you when the mood calls for it?  Do you have a post editing process to enhance your photos or do you prefer SOOC (straight our of the camera).

"I don’t carry my camera with me because I shift into a totally different head space when I have it in my hands.  There are many times I wished I had my camera with me— but I let that go because I can’t be normal and have a camera— it’s like on/off for me.  I sink into a very different place.  I used to use photoshop because someone showed me how to use the “curves” feature when I first started posting images to the web— circa 2005.  But I don’t have photoshop on my laptop and, more to the point, when I look back at older photos of mine I really cringe at the color shifts.  Now, I do the SOOC.  That’s how I get the greatest satisfaction— I will crop a shot, however, if I feel there is an element in the frame that needs to be gone— but that’s about all I do."

Lovely Lagan by: Elizabeth Duvivier

6.  Who or what has inspired you to dig deeper into this medium?  Can you share any names or links to photographers you admire or to some of your favorite photos?

"YOU<---!  You got me to take Susannah Conway’s class--- and then, I think people have been so incredibly generous to me on the blog about liking my shots— it boosted me and gave me confidence in something I never even thought about— I only started taking photos to put up pictures of my dogs.  I tend to thrive with encouragement— so I would say the fact that I regularly take photos and now have two cameras (<--!  That blows my mind) is due to the sweet and positive feedback I have received from people who read my blog."

"There are SO. MANY. Incredible — and I do not use that word lightly— photographers sharing photos on line that if I were to truly list ALL that I savor— it would fill a phone book.  For purposes of this small interview— I will share my fave bloggy photogs who are all people I am lucky enough to know in real life:  Jeanine Caron,  Susannah Conway,  Amanda Soule,  Leonie Wise,  Lisa Field-Elliot,  Denise Andrade,  Amy Maher  and of course, although it seems incredibly nepotistic to say since she and I are Lov-ahs . . But Thea Coughlin rules my world."

Thank you, Elizabeth for sharing your process, your insight, and your inspirations here with us.  On a personal note, thank you for your encouragement, your love, and for helping me learn how to dream BIG.

Bio:  Elizabeth Duvivier is the founder and director of Squam Art Workshops. When she is not sprawled across a window seat dreaming up new projects, she can often be found somewhere out on the mountain wandering about with her three dogs. Or, you might find her scribbling and posting snapshots here.

She uses two cameras:  a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 and a Canon EOS Rebel T1i
She blogs at: www.mysticvixen.com

img-0523 by: Elizabeth Duvivier


jeanine said...

i LOVE this woman so much. and this project? FABULOUS! xoxoxo

scamp (aka Shirley) said...

Seconding jeanine's comment!

Arabella said...

Bella...LOVING this already. Elizabeth...you KNOW how I feel about you...and your photographs are just beautiful. SO much goodness in one place! xo xo xo xo to both of you.

*michelle said...

loveloveloveing this...so much beauty on a monday morning...xo

deb did it said...

Bella, thank you for introducing me to Elizabeth.Her photos are stunning and she has such an interesting thought process about taking photographs..."shifting and sinking into that different head space" WOW...I guess I do it too and she put words to it. Thanks Elizabeth. I am happy to meet you here!

Georgia said...

Loving this!


Gill said...

So nice to meet new like-minded souls! Her views are beautiful. xo

lisa field-elliot said...

love all around.
well done, bella.
elizabeth, honored to be in that line-up and love you even more now.

stefanierenee said...

amazing interview with a truly amazing woman and YOU, well this project is awesome!!! xoxo

Sam said...

I love it! The interview and EVERYTHING! I know it's been fun to watch Elizabeth grow as a photographer - I love seeing the world through her eyes. Hooray for this amazing new endeavor!

Mel said...

Oh Bella, this is so wonderful, I can see this becoming one of my favourite places on the web.

Love you Lady<3 xxx

leonie wise said...

You're right. Elizabeth is the *perfect* person to begin your interview series with. I adore her, I adore you, and I'm totally in awe of this amazing project.

Astonished to be included in such a delight-full list.

Love to you both

Christine C. said...

Oh my goodness..."From Under the Apple Tree" and the last shot of the cherry blossoms are so incredible.

It has been amazing to watch Elizabeth's photography bloom with her move to the farm, and her new camera. I can only imagine what the next few years will hold for her photography skills! So exciting.

Great interview Bella!!

thea said...

Oh how absolutely divine...I absolutely LOVE Elizabeth's photography. She has an incredible eye and natural talent. Great interview! xoxo