Debbie is one of my longest-running flickr contacts, and for good reason. From her wonderful eye for photography, her inspiring desire to keep growing and learning as a photographer, to the ways she’s grown and changed and carved out her own awesome style, and the sincerity in her encouragement and support of the photographic community, she is definitely someone to follow. I was excited to have the opportunity to get to know her a little better through this conversation, as she’s always been a bit of a mystery, as active and engaging as she is. If you tumble, you can find her on tumblr, too, and Instagram as well. And she’s recently joined the ranks of collectives like Every Second Sunday on Film and the Film Shooters Collective. If you are looking for something new and different for some unique inspiration, look no further.
Nikon D90, 50mm nikkor lens
What is your style?
I feel like such a pompous you-know-what answering that question.
I am drawn to similar, sometimes even the same, subjects and themes time and again, and that creates a sense of continuity in my photography.
I shoot the things that make me look twice, and I’m always looking. It’s more of a feeling than a visual style, but there is a combination of whimsy and melancholy in most of my own favorite images.
What inspires you?
What a question! Since everything is a useless answer, I’ll give you a list instead, and long as it is, it isn’t nearly comprehensive:
my kids – always.
color, pattern, light
New York, Japan, Italy
the ephemeral nature of our man-made world
vintage aqua, museums
carnivals, diners, party lights
almost anything kitsch
packaging, typography, signs
tradition, play & discovery
paper lanterns & art supplies
formal gardens, mid-century modern design
the beach – any beach
old house with cluttered, dusty attics
the artwork in the books I loved as a child
roadside oddities & urban grit
nature, in general, and most especially sea shells, feathers and butterflies
Nikkormat, 50mm Sigma lens, lomo400 film
What is your favorite photographic subject?
See above. So ,obviously, that is a really tough one for me. My children at play tops the list, though, followed by vintage architecture and butterflies for a tie.
Nikon D90, 50mm nikkor lens
How did you find your way into photography?
I’ve taken pictures for as long as I can remember. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic with flash cubes, and there are pictures of me behind the lens my family’s Polaroid SX-70, as a tween. I moved on to a series of Minolta point and shoots that documented my exchange to Japan in high school, my college years and my early adulthood. Just before I had my first child, I transitioned to digital, but was still taking snapshots on auto.
It wasn’t until about five years ago when my husband convinced me that for a Mother’s Day gift we should trade up to a significantly better quality point and shoot – a Fuji Finepix F200exr – to replace our broken p&s, that the way I took pictures shifted.
The cost-free experimentation of digital, combined with a portable and powerful camera was a real game-changer for me. I’d been a pretty serious art student in my younger days, and for the first time in my many years of picture-taking, my camera could capture things the way I saw them. This was such a thrill! Soon after that I found Flickr, and all it really took was one dear contact to keep me at the 365 I started.
Nikon D90, 50mm nikkor lens, in-camera double exposure
In short time I realized that just ten minutes alone with my camera was therapy for me – a powerful antidote to the unrelenting physical demands and chatter of parenting young children. I didn’t have to be far from home, the backyard would suffice, I just had to focus on the activity of seeing and framing what I saw.
There’s a state of fully engaged creative thought that psychologists call “flow.” Children drift in and out quite easily, but adults with our worries and to-do lists, we find it much more difficult to get there. Photography was my key back to flow. After my daily practice I’d feel restored and I’d have pictures to share with an online community of photographers where I was making real friends.
Their work introduced me to new techniques, and they were all so eager to offer meaningful advice and support, which kept pushing me to learn more. Even though many of them now have busy lives as professional photographers, they still do.
Share with us a favorite recent photo?
Nikon f100, lensbaby edge80, lomo100 sunset strip slide film, x-pro
Share with us one of your all time most proud photos?
Nikon D90, 35mm nikkor lens
What would your superpower be?
Nothing to do with photography, but if it’s mine to dream, I would like to be able to regulate blood glucose with the touch of a finger. Better still, have the power to revive a damaged pancreas. Type1 diabetes is a reality in my family, and while I am very grateful for the advancements in insulin therapy, they are a far sight from a cure.
Nikon D90, Dreamy Diana lens
There’s an ever-growing list of places and events I’d love to photograph, but given where my life is right now, most of those farther afield plans have to wait. I recently came across this quote, and it has stayed with me. Perhaps it will provide your readers with some fresh inspiration too.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust
Nikkormat, Sigma 50mm lens, lomo redscale
Cara of tumbleweedineden