February 27, 2012

Interview: Christina Rosalie

Because I love how she captures her everyday life through the lens, I invited Christina Rosalie to chat about all things photography. I am super delighted to share her work with you today. Please welcome:

When did you begin to develop an interest in photography? Take me back to those first years and if you could, tell me about the paths you explored to expand on your craft.

KathreenRicketson, who has gone on to Whip Up some incredible projects, started Self Portrait Tuesday the same year I started blogging and it was the perfect storm. I’d just gotten my first digital camera, and felt emboldened by the medium (I could take 100 terrible pictures for every 2 great ones, without it costing a thing) and by her weekly SPT challenges to start really looking, aiming with intention, and thinking in a visually creative way that I’d previously only applied to words or paint.

Since then, I’ve continued to be interested and inspired by the act of taking self portraits: by getting the smallest glimpse of self, from the perspective of the other; and by the self-actualizing process of witnessing oneself in a moment in time. Like my writing process, my photography is very much about daily documentary; about using the lens as a tool for harnessing attention. When I walk with my camera I think of it as an invitation and a challenge: What can I see that’s unusual, that’s different than I’ve seen before, that’s striking or illustrative of the moment or circumstance.

Do you feel as though your photos reflect or reveal pages of your own story? How so?

My process for taking pictures is very similar to my writing process. I begin both with paying attention the texture and detail of what’s right in front of me. I’m drawn to color, to nature, and to the simple things I encounter daily: dishes and dinner, my boys, my long dirt road, the sky and the seasons passing me by. These are the same things, of course, that I pay homage to again and again in my writing. They are documentary in nature: the red cardinal in flight out the window just after dawn on a Tuesday; the sunlight falling across the floor in uneven golden lines in the middle of a quiet afternoon; the grass newly mowed in the middle of summer; the sky full of clouds, and my lens hopefully following the promise of birds just lifting off in flight.

What do you love to photograph most? If you had to step out of your comfort zone, what would you photograph?

I love to photograph in cities. I think its because I’m surrounded by nature at the end of a two mile dirt road in Vermont. Here there are alders and maples and bright yellow coltsfoot in the spring, and my eye is drawn to these with a certain familiarity. I find it harder to be surprised after a while, shooting among the flora and topography of an ordinary day. In the city there is always something that surprises; always the unexpected juxtaposition of light and shadow; people rushing about, lights, contour, color.

If I stepped out of my comfort zone it would be to do portraits of strangers. To have the courage to just go ask: “Can I take your picture?” As an introvert, I’m still somehow terrified by that transaction.

Would you share three of your own tips to capture a great photo with the readers?

Pay attention to the light. Learn how to adjust your camera manually—even if it means every third photo is solid black, or completely burnt out white. It’s so worth it to be able to capture the golden-purple hue of twilight, or the silver slant of sun on sand at the beach.

When do you feel most inspired to go shooting?

Other than that, any time I have my camera I’m inspired. The magic is having the camera. The magic is in the lens, and the permission it grants me linger, to adjust the light, to get up close, to shoot and re-shoot, and to notice my world intimately.

Would you share the links to the photographers or books that have guided or inspired you?

Thea Coughlin captures incredible energy in the portraits she does. There is a remarkable choreography that takes place between her and her subject. She makes you laugh, and delight, and feel totally trusting and brave in the process of being photographed. And she has this intuitive, beautiful way of seeing you exactly as you long to be seen.

Brian Ferry’s photos always convey a certain honesty. They are in-the-moment, and real, yet gorgeously composed. He is also a master of light. He’ll post whole sets of photos that are simply the play of light on the walls, or across a crumpled shirt hanging on the back of a chair and it feels like looking at poetry.

I’m also really loving Jillian Lukiwaski’s photos. She is a tremendously, stupendously multi-talented person (her jewelry is exquisite), and she takes these gorgeous from a distance self portraits that convey the spirit of her daily life in a way that is both honest, exquisite, and whimsical.

Thank you Christina, for sharing parts of your photographic journey here with us today :)


CHRISTINA ROSALIE is a writer, mixed media artist, stalker of wonder, finder of four leaf clovers, and mama of boys. Her first book, A FIELD GUIDE TO NOW: Notes on Mindfulness and Life In The Present Tense will be published by SKIRT! Books in September, 2012. You can find out more about her creative process and adventures at my web site, or on twitter: @christina_write

*All photos have been posted with the permission of Christina Rosalie
*Artist photo by: Thea Coughlin


michelle gd said...

lovely interview. so much of what christina has said resonates so. so. much...

carol l mckenna said...

Excellent interview of a very creative photographer ~ thanks, Bella and Christina ~ happy pic taking ~ namaste, carol (A Creative Harbor)

The Noisy Plume said...

I found Christina about six months ago and have grown a second set of wings for the knowing of her. She's a beautiful soul, watching her life unfold is a blessing and this is a wonderful interview!

lizardek said...

Great questions, and as always, great answers! :)