Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meet Vivien

I've been using Flickr for some time now. Through it, I can share my photos, see other inspirational photos, and even meet new people through those photographs. There are a lot of amazing photographers, I got the oppurtunity to interview one of them, and share that interview with you. And as a side note, her pictures are really popular on Flickr. So what she has to say is really worth listening to. So here we go, my interview with the incredible Vivien!

Me: If it's not too intrusive, where do you live?

V: I live in New England. Massachusetts, to be exact. I like it here. The weather is constantly unpredictable but not too unbearable, which gives me a lot of freedom to shoot in any condition.
Me: How old are you?

V: I just turned fourteen this January.
Me: What got you into photography at such a young age?

V: To be honest, I wasn't that much into it earlier. I was more into drawing and painting, things like that. When I discovered photography, I realized it was kind of the same concept. Also, I was really lucky because my dad had a DSLR camera that he didn't use often so he gave it to me.
Me: Have you taken any photography classes, or are you self-taught?

V: Never. I've read books and articles online to learn about how to use aperature and things like that but I haven't officially taken any classes. Maybe I will in high school sometime for fun.
Me: I know it sounds cliche, but what inspires you to take your pictures?

V: This is probably one of the hardest questions since I don't really have one significant inspiration in my life. I can get inspiration anywhere--song lyrics, the people in my life, strangers, dreams, stories, quotes, nature, just seeing some fantastic photos on Flickr...sometimes I'll just be sitting in class doodling when an idea hits me spontaneously. Those are the best moments.
Me: Where do you tend to take your pictures?

V: My house/yard is where I take most of mine since it's so close and such. There's a nice little pond and bridge in the back. I also go over to my friend's houses. Lately, I've been walking to the park and taking photos there. It's just so spacious and beautiful. There's this secluded place in the back with magical forests, lakes, sand, hills and fields which is amazing to take photos in. Anywhere basically works for me. I take my camera everywhere with me.
Me: Your Flickr stream is quite popular! How did you achieve that success with your pictures?

V: Haha, that is still a mystery, even to me. When I first started, I commented a lot of people's work and gained a couple of contacts. There's kind of a chain going on, contacts of your contacts will add you and slowly, you're inside of the circle. I've been so wrapped up in my 365 that I didn't notice much. My contacts have been really loyal and I guess as I improved, more people found my stream. I'm extremely thankful for everything I have though, even if I don't know what happened.

Me: On your Flickr profile, it says, "I am not a photographer. I am simply a girl learning how to see." What do you mean by this?

V: It's weird to think of myself as a photographer. I don't know why, but whenever someone asks me, I just say that I like taking photos. I was inspired by this quote by Dorthea Lange, "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." This is exactly how I feel. Someday, I hope I will be able to see beauty everywhere through my own eyes, not my lens.
Me: Do you foresee yourself going into photography as a career?

V: I do in dreams. But being rational, probably not. It's one of my greatest passions and always will be, but sometimes we have to listen to reality.

Me: Any tips for beginning photographers?

V: Being a new photographer is a wonderful experience. You're so eager and full of inspiration that comes from a hidden world that seems like it was only just revealed to you. Take advantage of that. My advice is to learn what you can. Get to know your camera, look at a lot of photos. The most important thing is to get out there and take as many photos as you can. Try every style and eventually, find yours. Maybe even take up a project like a 365 days or a 52 weeks. There's nothing that's going to help you more than practice and experience. It will make you improve more than you will believe. Also, don't over edit your photos. I did that when I first started, and I occasionally still do, but you will realized that most of the time, photos close to or straight out of the camera are the most beautiful. Finally, the most important thing to remember is not to do photography for anyone else except for you.


Thanks Vivien for the interview!