I had a great childhood, really. I grew up Texas and then Arkansas. We lived in Houston until I was 12. I went from living in the middle of a bustling area of Houston to living in the rural outskirts of Little Rock, Arkansas, in the middle of trees, creeks, and horses nearby.
I was a tomboy and so this change suited me well. I’m an only child, and we joke that I was my father’s only son, so I learned a lot of handy things about carpentry and power tools from following him around.
In college, we built my first darkroom together in a little building on my parents’ land, which including digging a trench to the septic tank and nearly electrocuting ourselves wiring the building.
I have great parents and am still very close to them. They were always extremely supportive in whatever I chose to pursue (including my 10-minute interests in piano, woodworking, sidewalk-chalk artistry, beauty pageants, stamp-collecting, and basketball). Over the course of my life, my family has had times of great abundance, and then has also had very lean times, which I think has left me with the empathy to relate to a wide range of the ways people live economically and socially. Both of my parents are hardworking, and have completely changed careers several times during their lives. As an adult, I find myself unusually comfortable with change and adaption. I think their example has had a big impact on me because these were always such courageous risks they took, and it taught me to always challenge myself and to remember that we never stop changing or growing.
As a child I was into painting and drawing, due largely to my mother’s example. My mom painted as a hobby and I began taking classes with her, and then continued with art electives in high school and early college. I became a bit more practical in college when I had to decide on a career and I somehow ended up in the business department studying finance. (I know. What was I thinking?) At some point, my roommate brought home an old SLR that a relative had given her and it intrigued me. I bought a crappy camera and started taking bad pictures and was completely in love with the process of it. By my senior year, I was working in a local photo lab, and was also in a serious relationship with a very talented musician whose own career plans were making the prospects for my finance degree look extremely boring. During a summer internship in London (at a now defunct financial institution that I won’t name), I called my boyfriend and announced I was “Going To Be A Photographer”.
I bought a crappy camera and started taking bad pictures and was completely in love with the process of it.
I finished the degree, married the musician, and we moved to Nashville where I turned my focus toward matching my skills to the level of my enthusiasm. I assisted other photographers, I shot for the local paper, and then worked nights in my own little darkroom and eventually started showing my artwork locally. The early influences of painting and drawing have always stayed with me, and I still love to experiment mixing mediums, manipulating photographs, or taking them beyond documentation, and into the realm of my own emotion and imagination.
We are featuring your Farm series, what draws you to this theme and why?
It’s (The Farm Series) about the things that tie us together, and the things that bring us back.
What is your favorite subject to shoot?
Wow, that is hard to say. I shoot such a wide range of subject matter – people, animals, environment and landscapes. I guess I am drawn to subjects that have a poetic or lyrical quality and that offer several layers of metaphor that present different directions that the viewer can go within the image. I notice I am often drawn to things that have character and have been around a while, which explains my fascination with ‘old stuff’.
Who are some of your photographic influences and inspirations?
I think I draw creative inspiration from a wide range of sources – music, film, painting, even nature. My husband, Jared, is a singer-songwriter so music is a big part of my life and creates a bit of a creative soundtrack for my own work. I am drawn to a lot of work from latin artists – painters, sculptors, mixed media artists. One of my favorite museums ins the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach, CA. I always see so much work that is rich and bold and full of life. Some of my favorite contemporary photographers are Sebastiao Salgado, Raymond Meeks, Debbie Caffrey, Todd Hido, Pentti Sammallahti.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned about being an artist?
That living a full and creative life is part of being an artist and is the first step to actually making art. The work we make has to flow from who we are and what we love. Life and art are inextricably linked.