Adapted from an article by: Joseph Block
Artist Statement: My images suggest an alternate reality to the common everyday things we see. Almost depicting a dream, I like to show others how I envision the world, embracing tranquil simplicity, rustic elegance and imperfect beauty as perfect.
When I look at a landscape, I no longer see just the subject in front of me, I see its potential. Peering through the lens allows me to see the beauty beyond the mundane where an image transcends into an emotion.
Artist Bio: I was born and raised in Erie and spent most of my childhood at Presque Isle. As I got older I found that I was always drawn to the mysterious beauty of the trees and landscapes surrounding it, photography then became my way of life. I attended Villa Maria Academy then traveled to Oakbridge Academy of Arts outside of Pittsburgh to receive my Associate Degree in Photography. I dabbled in wedding photography, senior portraits, and custom framing, but found that my real passion was photography in nature. Currently, I travel with my business The Copper Twig as a vendor at local and regional art festivals.
Q: How long have you been in photography?
A: Professionally, for about 5 years, but have been obsessed for about 30 years.
Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer and what made you realize it?
A: I have been taking pictures since I was a kid, but then I took a photography class in high school and found it was the one thing that constantly inspired & challenged me, so I wanted to continue to explore the possibilities of expression through photography.
Q: What is the purpose or message of your photography?
A: I use my photography simply as a way to show people a different way to see things, to appreciate the little things, and to find beauty in everything.
Q: What makes your photography stand out from others?
A: I feel my photography stands out purely because it’s my personal view of what’s around me. I try to translate an emotion into the image, so it’s not just a photo, it’s a feeling.
Q: What inspires you to take a photograph?
A: For me, inspiration in photography is essentially whatever moves me, whether a landscape or a simple leaf on the ground. But what I truly love is that everyone interprets my photos in their own way, some have said that it reminds them of a person in their life, something they love, or a reminder of a place they grew up. It’s important to me to translate my emotions into a photograph, in hopes that people will feel it too and be equally inspired.
Q: What is your favorite photograph that you have ever taken? Why is it your favorite?
A: My favorite photo is called “Liberate”, it was taken during a rough time in my life, when everything around me was changing. But in the end it was one that expressed the liberating feeling of letting go and transforming into something beautiful.
Q: Are there certain steps when taking a photograph that you have to follow to get what you would consider the ‘perfect photograph’?
A: I don’t really follow any steps, all I know is when I capture something, it just feels perfect to me. Sometimes an image pops into my head of what I want as a photograph, and I keep an eye out until I come across it. Other times there’s just something I see that stops me and moves me.
Q: What would you say to someone who is trying to be a photographer?
A: Photography is such an amazingly creative way to express emotions, and your personal views of the world are so unique. I would absolutely say go for it, whether as a hobby or business. As artists, we feel inspired by other artists and appreciate seeing their versions of what’s around them.
Q: Have you, as a photographer, been impacted by COVID-19? If so, how?
A: This pandemic definitely impacted me in many ways. I found my creativity and inspiration disappeared and I didn’t feel like taking pictures. I found myself drifting away from seeing things like I did before and I didn’t take many pictures for about a year and a half. I find that my emotions in life trigger emotions in images, and with the constant feeling of being distanced from everything and everyone, it truly sucked the life out of me.