Do you have a basic understanding of your DSLR camera and want to learn more in-depth techniques for improving your photography? Check out The Photographic Tool Box on July 22–27, 2018 with instructor Stephanie Gross. Summertime at the Folk School provides an abundance of photographic material: pastoral landscapes, interesting folks, gardens, old buildings, barns, music, dance, craft studios. Stephanie has a BFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and has been making and thinking about photography for 25 years. Enjoy our interview!CP:How did you get started in photography?SG: I had an amazing photography teacher in high school who is an incredible photographer and was also a great teacher (not always the case). We're still friends and I occasionally shoot with him. I assisted him after I graduated high school, through college.
I was interested in both photography and ceramics. I chose RISD because I could do both. I could make pots, but they were a creative dead end for me. Photography was scary and I had to struggle to learn to make pictures, but it's been that struggle that's kept me interested for 30+ years.
CP: What is your favorite subject matter to shoot?SG: Stories, specifically people with stories. I suppose that's anyone from the right point of view, but it's more the search for what makes someone or some place interesting that's my favorite.
Even in the most boring situations, I start to look at faces, at the light, playing with the background, composition, etc. It's like a game. You know something fascinating is going on, but how do you show it?
If turning your vacation to the Folk School into an exploration of travel photography sounds like a dream exploration, be sure to check out our upcoming class Wanderlust: The Art of Travel Photography taught by Elizabeth Larson. Elizabeth has been a professional photographer for 26 years. She specializes in documentary wedding photography, lifestyles, natural portraiture, travel, and editorial work. Join Elizabeth on our pastoral 300-acre campus in the Appalachian Mountains and learn how to capture the spirit of your travels through the camera lens. Enjoy our interview and find out a little more about Elizabeth!
[caption id="attachment_17399" align="aligncenter" width="630"] Courtyard at Castello di Colognole, Greve in Chianti, Tuscany. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.[/caption]
CP:How did you get started in photography?EL: Inspired by my dad, who is a retired travel writer & photojournalist now, I decided to take a semester of beginning photography in college & started working part-time in a camera store. Then I moved into assisting well-established photographers, both commercial & wedding/portrait and the rest is history. I got hooked!
[caption id="attachment_17400" align="alignright" width="286"] View from gardens at Castello di Colognole overlooking vineyards and olive groves. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.[/caption]
CP:What is your favorite subject matter to shoot? EL: In my spare time, I love to photograph flowers/plants/gardens and travel photography, whenever I get the opportunity. I enjoy photographing people too, but this is what I do professionally full time (weddings, portraits, headshots, events). The other aspect of photography is what I do for fun and inspiration. However, I have been paid for some of my work when it comes to travel & garden photography. I also have a current show of my travel photography at a local winery, and those prints are for sale. In addition, I have a photo on the same NC Winery/Vineyard’s wine label & they’ve used it every year since 2009. I’m an avid gardener and I love to travel and photography is another love so putting them together makes sense.
CP:Nikon or Canon?
EL: Canon photographer. I had the opportunity to shoot with a Nikon earlier this summer and I admit I liked it! However, it’s too late to switch. I have too much invested in Canon! I still love my Leica CL film camera and I have a Pentax K1000 that I occasionally run B&W infrared film through.
CP:What is your favorite lens? What is always in your gear bag?EL: I use my 24-70mm/f2.8 “L” lens most often but also love my 80-200mm/f 2.8 “L” lens but it’s so heavy! Also an old favorite is my 100mm Macro 2.8 lens for close ups. I always have back-up equipment in my bag, plenty of batteries, and memory cards. Back-up equipment is crucial when you photograph weddings.
The intricate paper cuts of Ingrid Lavoie draw you into a fantastic world of whimsy, nature, and storytelling. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) who fell in love with papercutting while on vacations visiting family in Denmark. Self-taught, she found her rhythm and style by using an X-Acto knife to "draw" images, instead of scissors. She enjoys unfolding a new work to reveal the paper's transformation, and has been teaching others this delightful art form for several years. Enjoy our interview!
[caption id="attachment_12188" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Painting by Sara Boggs[/caption]
Every time I see Sara Boggs around campus, like a giddy child, I ask her: "Can I see your sketchbook?" She always says "yes." You see, Sara is one of those artists who constantly carries her handmade sketchbook around, capturing tiny moments of life here and there - taking the time to practice and develop her drawing ability everyday. It has been incredible to see her book grow with the faces, places, and the spirit of the Folk School during her host term this fall. She permitted me to scan in some pages from her book to share with you. We also sat down over cookies and tea to talk about her experience as host and artistic journaler.
[caption id="attachment_12174" align="alignright" width="229"] Sara in the Folk School Painting Studio[/caption]
CP:You were recently a character in the night of Holiday Revelry hosted by David Vowell. Who did you play?SB:I got to play a couple of different characters: an all around reveler drinking wassail, the Little Pickle Boy in one of the tales about St. Nicholas, and Jack the Green in the mummer’s play. Jack’s character is traditionally full of mischief! In our play, Jack the Green saves the day in the story of St. George and the Dragon.CP: Very nice. So you are wrapping up your host term at the Folk School? What's been your favorite part of being host? SB: It’s the people… it’s for sure the people. Every week, I get to meet all of these wonderful people with amazing stories and wonderful things that they have done. They are all so sweet and encouraging – they make me feel like this world we have here that’s not quite real life – this fairy tale world that’s all fiddle music and blacksmith coal – is something that we can carry always. It’s been really wonderful to meet them all.CP:Do you have any specific memories that resonate with you?
SB: There have been quite a few. Maybe it was because it was so early on in my time here, but one that sticks out is a magical cooking class dinner party. The class was a wood fired cooking class and they had their Thursday night dinner outside on picnic tables, with candle light torches. There was wine, and ukelele music, and a beautiful pink sunset overhead… little dogs came wandering through. It was slow and delicious. I wasn’t even supposed to be there, I was just crashing, but they let me crash. It was a lovely evening and I felt like it was the right way to start off my foot here.
[caption id="attachment_12175" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Page from Sara's sketchbook: Thursday night dinner party for the Cooking Class[/caption]