From "Mother Don't Worry", 2012. A series shot in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Jamie wanted to feature Tessa Chesser, one of her best friends. They created the featured dress from lots of tulle fabric. Jamie's favorite thing about the photos from this series is that a first glance, most people think the background is the ocean when it's actually nothing but dreary atmosphere.Darling Magazine intellect piece. This image was photographed at the Tulsa Garden Center and features set decorating by Stacy Suvino.
Each week I do an outfit post set in beautiful and interesting places. The artist responsible for these gorgeous and cinematic images is my friend and fine art photographer Jamie Alsabrook. This past year Jamie's work was published in Darling Magazine as well as Okiemama Magazine and in February, she will put her new series on display at Living Arts in Tulsa. With an exceptional eye for detail, thought provoking imagery and the ability to create emotion with her images, Jamie is an artist on the rise with a very bright future. I thought it would be fun to share an interview I conducted with her recently to provide an insight to her work.
SS: Where are you From?
JA: Tulsa, Oklahoma. Born and raised.
SS: How long have you been a photographer?
JA: Roughly four years.
SS: Which photographer(s) influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing and career path?
JA: The first time I was ever moved by a photograph was in 2006. It was the cover art for an album called "The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me" by a band called Brand New. The image, "Untitled 44", shows two men wearing knee-length reaper Halloween costumes, jeans and fuzzy blue slippers on the porch of a small, worn down, white colonial-style house. Around the corner, unbeknownst to the two figures, a young girl stands wearing black tights, a plaid skirt and her arms pulled inside a blue fur coat. It perfectly visualized everything the album expressed lyrically. Innocence and corruption, good and evil, simple and complex, curiosity and disinterest...and not necessarily applied to the expected subjects. The other twenty five images in Nicholas Prior's series "Age of Man" cunningly and eerily follow suit. It examines the psychology of childhood as a complex item and as something that an adult removed by time cannot understand. I had always known I wanted to be an artist, but this series made me want to be a photographer, a psychological photographer. I was able to gain much more insight and advice over a three hour lunch with him in February last year in NYC. The images say so much that I, to this day, understand at first glance but find hard to explain. This is the goal in my own career-to evoke in others as much complex thought and wonder as he did in me, even in fashion work. This career path seems to be the least traveled in the realm of photography, near invisible even, so advice from him and others has been quite helpful, that advice being "shoot what you love". I am influenced by the photographers around me and the different ways they approach the medium. Other photographers I like are Steven Meisel, Sarah Hobbs(recommended by Nick Prior), Kyle Thompson(Chicago), and Alex Prager.
SS: Exactly what is it you want to say with your photographs, and how do you get your photographs to do that?
JA: Most of the concepts that I get tend deal with exploring corruption in situations. Even my fashion work has a sad look. So far, I have dealt with corruption in relationships the most because it's what I have the most experience in. For instance, I did a series titled "Losing Game" wherein the goal was exactly that-to highlight different problems in relationships. One image showed distance by having the characters stand facing each other on each side of a bed,a sort of literal symbol(these words seem contradictory) of a relationship. I aimed at showing literal and emotional distance simultaneously. I tried to make the emotional distance/anger/exhaustion felt in the space between them share the space on a bed, a space where love should be made. I get lots of comments on this photo in particular telling me one can feel the emotion very strongly from the characters. That always makes me happy because the couples faces are basically blank and emotionless. In the future I would like to show corruption or sadness in different areas such as adolescence, political systems, friendships, parent/children, etc.
SS: What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to becoming one?
JA; I used to have a job in health care which is not where I was supposed to be. I always took pictures as a hobby but one day I read something that made me take the leap of quitting health care and pursuing learning and working in photography along side different photographers-at first with Zane Yost, who taught me about cameras and photoshop. I learned quite a bit from Nathan Presley on the possibility of dreaming, the importance of doing what you love, and the art of aesthetic. I continue to learn everyday from Jeremy Charles on motivational, artistic, and technical levels I couldn't begin to list out! Along the way, as a photographer in my own right, people have started to come to me for my artistic vision.
SS: Do you have a certain technique you prefer to use in your photography? Do you have a certain camera/equipment you prefer?
JA: I've been all over the shop as far as technique. When it comes to lighting, I try to mimic natural light and possibly highlight certain key objects. I also prefer a dark image. Also, no technological preferences as far as brand...I like a full frame camera. I enjoy both film and digital as there are pros to each format-digital allows one to perfect and composite images, and film teaches one to be a better photographer. It also, especially in a darkroom setting, has a more craft-by-hand feel that I love.
SS: What does your creative process consist of?
JA: I always have the same process. I'll get an idea of what I would like to explore psychologically, think about it, ask others about it, research it, gather visual cues, and then story board. Then it's plan, shoot, edit and reveal.
SS: What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
JA: Mostly just to execute complex ideas in concise ways. Always creating statements or visualizing psychological ideas. Becoming much more politically motivated the older I get as there is so much corruption for me to visualize there!
Photography by Jamie Alsabrook