When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?
I was a late starter – must have been roughly when I was 25. I was studying graphic design, but spent most of my time in the dark room, discovering BW, or painting on my kitchen table. Thirteen years ago I didn’t know one could be a fine art photographer. I did various stints with studios helping out and assisting, but in the end I didn’t think that commercial photography was for me. I thought I would lose my passion for photography rather quickly, being stuck in a studio, making car batteries, mars bars or kitchen displays look appealing.
Which photographers are currently inspiring you?
I am inspired by many artists, for very different reasons, and here are a few: Sugimoto, Weston, Minor White, Siskind, Mark Brautigam, Andrés Marroquín Wnkelmann, Roger Ballen, Todd Hido.
Many of your photos have an almost dream-like quality to them. Do you plan what sort of shots you have before you get them or are they morespontaneous?
I have to confess I don’t think I have ever set out to make a work with a very clear beginning in mind. Most of the times I start and then try to push through what is familiar, try to find a way to make something I see every day look a bit different… try to find a new way….
I think the dreamlike quality you mention is from the painting days. I only decided 2.5 years ago that I did not have enough time to paint & photograph seriously, plus make a living, so I decided to throw myself whole heartedly into photography and have not touched a brush since (sometimes I do long for the messy process of painting, or look at my easel and wonder when I will have time for it again).
With most of my projects I try to find that painterly/dreamy quality. A few years ago I experimented with printing images on canvas, but that did not quite work for me – it looked cheap, or like I was trying too hard, something was not quite right, so when I discovered the archival pigment printing process I was thrilled. Personally I do not like frames (actually I don’t mind the frames, it’s the glass I don’t like) very much, so now I am experimenting with ways around that, by playing with different varnishes, oils and wax.
I love your online photography journal, UYW. What inspired you to start it andhow long have you been running it?
Thanks – I am happy you like UYW. It started out as a blog where I showcased photographers, but I was not happy with the layout and the limitations of displaying photography on a blog/internet. So I came up with a photographic online journal (by uploading a pdf for the viewer), where I could design and present the images in a more experimental format. The last couple of months I have been trying to find a way to restructure & redesign UYW, so hopefully by the time UYW turns two in December we won’t be far away from presenting a new look.
Who would your dream subject, or location be?
I would love to go back to Kyoto and spend a couple of months in a Zen Buddhist monastery. In 09 I spent a week in Kyoto (not a monastery) and was in love with their perfect little gardens, the culture, the food, simply everything. But one week is simply not enough to engage and make the small landscapes your own.
(Heidi is based in Melbourne, Australia. See more of her work,here.)