Saturday, 11 February 2012

Aspiring photographer Angela Mary Butler interview

Angela Mary Butler is a 20 year old photographer from Canada, from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. she
currently live in Calgary, Alberta and attending the Alberta College of Art & Design. she will graduate in 2014 with a bachelor of design in Photography.

Lets get a closer look to Angela's personality, work and more,

Who has inspired you the most in terms of photography?
My list of inspirations in terms of photography could really go on forever. One of the biggest is Aaron Nace, he’s well known now since Phlearn has started up. I’ve been a fan of his work since the early days that he posted on Flickr, his photoshop skills are just incredible.Other photographers who I really love are Joel Robinson, Rosie Hardy, Brooke Shaden, Nan Goldin, Jeremy Cowart…the list could go on forever!

What is your favourite style of photography?
I don’t think I have one, but there are definitely ones that I am drawn to more than others. I love portrait photography, fine art photography, advertising photography, and nude photography. I also love photoshopped images that don’t look photoshopped. You know what I mean right? The images that make you say “Wow! How did they do that?” rather than “This image is photoshopped.”

What style of photography do you find challenging?
I never would of even known the answer to this question if I wasn’t in arts school and had assignments all the time, but architectural photography, and product shots.For architectural I just couldn’t find a way to make it interesting! It was just boring for me to shoot. For product shots, it’s just tough. I definitely enjoy doing product shots of sculpture,perfume, etc.. it just takes a while to figure out, it’s definitely worth it in the end!

Where do you hope to go with your photography?
I’m not too sure yet. The only thing I know for sure is that photography is what I want to do with my life. I have another 2 years of school to figure that out, so ask me again in 2 years!! Ha ha.

Do you regret sharing all of these private details about your life online?
Absolutely not! No way! I’m an extremely open person, and I’ll answer about anything
people want to know! I took these photos as documentation, but they also acted as a
therapeutic experience, and not just to me but to others as well. It was exciting for me to
come home and upload my photos to Flickr and then write about it, I loved to write and to share with people. From the time of uploading my first photo “Day 1”

 I received messages from people thanking me for posting. It’s hard to find information on the internet about Cancer that’s not going to scare the crap out of you. For a lot of people seeing stuff that I had posted was a relief, and informing. I still get messages to this day about the set helping people. I’m thrilled that I have this information online, and I don’t really know where I’d be if I didn’t post this stuff! Great things have come to me from posting this online.
A man named James Burns from a non profit organization called PhotoSensitive saw my
work and asked if he could feature 5 of my photos on their website
Photosensitive , and feature 1 in the exhibition that toured around
Canada. Later in 2011 a book called Cancer Connections was launched which all 6 of those
photos were featured in.

Also, from posting my photos online I came into contact with Dean Stairs, who has become such an important person in my life. He is a family man (10 children!), record producer,musician, and photographer from Lewisporte, Newfoundland. He was searching for photos of the Janeway Hospital on Flickr for a project he was working on and he stumbled upon my photostream. Upon doing so him and his family sent me a care package of cards made by his children, chocolate, and an iTunes gift card. He later came to St.Johns (where the hospital I stayed in was located) to visit me, and we became really great friends. In October of 2009 I ended up going to Lewisporte for a few days to record a song called “Happy” on a CD titled “Hope” which all profits went towards cancer research. Through this I met one of Dean’s close friends Kay Burns, who is an artist from Newfoundland who used to teach at the Alberta College of Art & Design. After getting to know her, she decided to have a look at my work. She loved my work, offered to meet up with me, and help me get a portfolio together to apply to the best arts school around Canada. My initial plan was to take a 6 month photography course in Newfoundland, but since Kay introduced these other options to me I decided to go for it! So I applied to all of the schools, and got accepted to all of them! I chose to go to ACAD because after some research I felt that they had the best photography program.
IN SHORT, I owe a lot to flickr. I wouldn’t of had any of these opportunities, or met any of
these amazing people if it weren’t for my posts online. I couldn’t be happier about my
decision to do so.

Going through cancer in such a young age can have so many effects on a person! how would you say that experience had effected you?
I think I accidentally answered this question in the answer above, but just to shorten it here, I’ll say in the most positive way possible.

6 of your photos were featured on you were the first person under 18 to have a selfie posted and the first person under 18 to be interviewed how does it feel?
I’m very grateful. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of such a brilliant organization. Having my photos featured amongst other photographers who were either going through the same thing as me, or their family were, was just incredible. Cancer will affect you in some point in your life, directly or indirectly, and Cancer Connections really brings that message out in a beautiful way.

Name other photographers you admire.
Alexander McQueen, Miss Aniela, Dave Brosha, Karrah Kobus, Alex Stoddard, Rob
Woodcox, Phillip Schumacher, Dean Bradshaw, the list could honestly go on forever!

who are your biggest supporters?
I am surrounded by positive energy and wonderful people, pretty much everyone in my life support me. From my friends in real life to in the flickr, twitter, and facebook fan page world.My biggest supporters consist of my boyfriend Jeromy, my parents, and my classmates.Everyone is just so wonderful to me and I truly am very lucky.

what do you enjoy doing other than photography ?
Photoshop! I guess that still has to do with photography though… I love to research, and
read about other artists and photographers work, it’s so interesting. I also play video games quite a lot (Legend Of Zelda being my favourite) and I love to cook. As well I like to spend time outside going on walks and just enjoying the city, still kind of new to Calgary!

What are some of your favourite films, books and musicians that keep you inspired?
I don’t have the most amazing taste, but you asked for it!
My favourite movies are the Mask, White Chicks, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, The
Nightmare On Elm Street series… I basically am a huge fan of comedy and horror films.
I don’t really have a favourite book; I kind of just rent out books from the library and read
about photography. Other than that I’m a huge fan of the Post Secret books.
As for music, I’ve always been a huge fan of Good Charlotte, Blink 182, and Eminem.
Recently though I’ve been listening to a lot of Noah and the Whale, and music from the
Legend of Zelda soundtracks done by orchestras. I also love to listen to playlists on

when did you decide to start your 365 project? how did it go?
I decided to do my 365 days photo project the day after I was told that I was cancer free.
The first one went pretty fantastic, I didn’t miss a day but it definitely was a challenge.
I started my second 365 days project on January 1st of 2010 and I’m still not done! I took a
few breaks due to moving from Newfoundland to Calgary, and then moving to a different
apartment in Calgary over Christmas break, and just from my workload in school going way up! Such a busy year, but I don’t really mind so much. At first it really bothered me but it’s my project so why not? :)

In your opinion what is your best photo series you've made?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one! I haven’t really done too many series so probably my
“Countdown to you” series. My boyfriend Jeromy and I lived across the country from each
other over the Summer, and he had planned to visit in the middle of the Summer. I was so excited I decided to do a 14 day countdown in the form of photographs. It made him and I even more exciting, and made that moment when we saw each other in the airport for the first time that bit more special.

One thing I can say is what some of my favourite photos are!
This is a self portrait that I took in September to introduce myself to my photography class
that I was going to spend the next 3 years with! It was a self portrait assignment, and I was so pleased with it.

Another one of my favourites that I shot in 2011.

and here’s some from this year that I was just really happy with!
This is the photo that I used to tell everyone about my fantastic opportunity over the
Summer. I will be travelling to Chicago to work with Aaron Nace and the team at Phlearn,
and I couldn’t be more excited!

This is a photo that I did for my photo classes exhibition called “Color Blind” which will be showing at Resolution Gallery in Calgary, Alberta from February 2 2012 – February 12 2012.

This one I did for an assignment called “Dreams” which was unintentionally inspired by the
amazing Brooke Shaden.

and my birthday self-portrait which I also really like!

I guess I’m just really happy with the work I’ve been creating as of late. Which is also a
reason why I’m not posting everyday into my 365 days photo project, spending more time
on the photos therefore I am much happier with them.

You're doing an amazing job both in front and behind the camera, would you be interested in modelling?
Well thank you! I would never do it full time or anything but yes I can’t see why not! I think it’d be fun! I’ve definitely modelled for some of my classmates last year and I found it to be pretty fun!

You lost your hair after your chemo, how did you cope with that? you know how girls feel about their hair.
Haha this may sound silly but I didn’t really care! There really was no coping system other
than just taking photos and posting and writing about it online. I thought I looked awesome.It’s kind of crazy how positive I managed to keep myself. I was worried about it at first of course, but when it came to the moment where I had to shave my head I was more excited about it then anything else!
Before I shaved my hair off

I got my hair cut before I shaved my head so that when I lost my hair it wouldn’t be so bad.

Hair in my hands after a shower

My half shaved head!

Me shaving my own head

No hair, my first “fine art” photo called The Bald Princess.

My blond wig

what is your definition of beauty?
Beauty is happiness. Beauty is laughing. Beauty is sharing. Beauty is loving.Beauty is the homeless man who only has a jacket but he still shares it with his dog. Beauty is everywhere.

Tell us a weird fact about you,
Whenever I’m full I get really cold.

If you could create the perfect camera what features would it have?
I’ll leave that one to the experts! Or the ability to capture my dreams.

Do you like answering questions regarding your photography or do you like to keep your secrets to yourself ?
I don’t mind answering questions! I’ll help anyone out as much as I can. As long as they’re
willing to learn, and don’t expect me to do all the work for them. :)

Going through your stream I can see how your photography has improved,also I can see that you were influenced strongly by! how would you say joining Phlearn changed you as a photographer?
Phlearn is a huge influence on my work. I’ve been a fan of Aaron Nace for years, and I’ve
been watching since day 1 of Phlearn. I’ve seen the good times and the bad, and I’m so
glad to be part of the Phamily. Such a fantastic community! Before Aaron came out with
Phlearn Pro’s he taught online photoshop classes, and he sold the streaming recorded
classes! I bought the classes to watch online, and those definitely healed a lot of my
techniques and has taught me a lot. Since Phlearn has started, and the Phlearn pro’s I’ve
just been learning more and more every day. Whether it be about lighting, making eyes turn black, or about pure work ethic everything that man says is of value. He’s brilliant.
I was also one of the winners of the Halloween contest they put on in October 2011.

I’m going to be working with him and the team at Phlearn this summer from the end of April to the end of August, and I really couldn’t be more excited.

Do you recommend any websites for photoshop tutorials?
Phlearn I would recommend other ones but to be totally honest Phlearn is the only one I visit fairly regularly.

Do you read books about photography? if you do, what's your favourite?
Yes I do, and I don’t really have a favourite yet. I don’t actually own any as I usually just sign them out at the library at my school and browse.

what is your favourite photo taken by another photographer?
Of all time? That’s such a hard one since I have over 2,500 photos favourites on Flickr alone.A few that come to mind though is the photo by Alex Stoddard in a fish tank, so incredible A photo of Rosie Hardy emerged in water, recently posted by her and Poe’s Angel by Aaron Nace

what is your favourite photo taken by you?
Probably The Bald Princess. This was the photo that formed the rest of my life, in the
photography world. This was the first time I attempted something creative with my photography.

How do you manage to stay creative?
I’m constantly trying to increase my knowledge, so through research, reading, and watching online videos and tutorials. I also stay creative and inspired from every day things like conversations with people, listening to music, reading books, and walking around the city.

Do you prefer shooting indoors or outdoors?
Indoors just because it’s what I’m more used to, and I also like to be more in control of what light is available to me.

what were the mistakes you made a lot as a photographer?
The biggest mistake I’ve made as a photographer is refusing to shoot in Raw until last year.Such a stubborn child I was!

Name people you enjoy working with models or other photographers, people you wish to work with both models or photographers.
The models and photographers that I work with are all my classmates, and I think they’re
wonderful. Where I’m so confined in school and I only moved to Calgary in 2010 I’m still
pretty new here, so I’m grateful to have these people to work aside with, and work with as models as well.
Someone who I would love to photograph, it’s a dream more than anything is Brooke Shaden. I’d also love to work with Alex Stoddard one day. One can only dream!

Is there a photo you regret posting online?
Nope! Everything I posted I posted for a reason, no point going back on it now.

Do you recommend contacting other photographers for advice?
Only if you feel it’s worth their time. I know that professional photographers are incredibly busy, so I wouldn’t really e-mail somebody unless I was really desperate to know. If you’re at a meet and greet, or happen to run into them somewhere then couldn’t see why not!

Any new project you're working on?
I’m always working on new projects! I’m currently still working on my 365 days project, and I always have interesting assignments for class that I’m working on.

Links you should know:

first you should vote for Angela here

 Angie's  facebook fan page -- Twitter -- Flickr -- youtube channel -- blog


  1. I really love your photos, they're so inspiring to me ! very creative, love this style of photography :)

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  3. This is a great Interview... Very in depth.... Loved it, Interviewer with no name... :) and as for Angela. Absolutely lovely, and I agree whole heartedly, You were beautiful without the hair as well... You're a very strong woman ( I just want to give you a big hug for that) and I know the toll chemo therapy can take on your body... in the words of an amazing Vulcan... "Live long and prosper"

    1. thank you! I just realized that my name isn't written!

    2. It's all Good, Reem! Just keep doin' what you're doin', cause you're doin' a fantastic job...