Saturday, 9 August 2014

Catching up with Angela Butler

Angela was one of many talented photographers that I've had the opportunity to interview here on my blog, our previous interview was a little more than two years ago! I've came to know Angela through Phlearn and I'm happy to say we are good internet pals :)

So lets catch up with Angie... 

A lot have changed since our last interview, it's been almost two years! and coming from a person that been following your work for quite sometime I have to say I've witnessed you grow and seen your style transform beautifully.

So lets talk about school, you've recently graduated, how does it feel to finally be done with that?

Thank you Reem! It feels goooood!! Haha, as much as I enjoyed my overall experience of school, the people I met, the experiences I had, etc, I was very excited to get out of there during my last 4 months.

The pressure was on during the last semester of school, creating a portfolio (and the teachers really made the biggest deal ever out of this, if you screwed up - it was the end of your life), printing business cards and promotional pieces, as well as making a grad piece. It was a lot but it was definitely worth it.

It was very relieving to have Portfolio show over, I felt like I had a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. However, graduation itself didn't feel that way for me, more like a goodbye. But four years later it’s great to have my Bachelor of Design which now just sits on the floor… but you know!!

After I graduated in May, I moved on June the 1st (still in Calgary), and I decided to take a break for a few weeks, and then get right back into everything with a shoot with model Poison Ivy and make-up artist Jenni MacDonald. It’s been a little hard financially, but I've figured out a way to survive by modelling actually! It’s all good :)

Studying photography had force you -in away- to experiment different types of photography and create different series, did you love it or hate it?

I understand how people could feel this way about creating any types of work when attending an arts school, however I felt the projects were still relatively open.

One of our teachers last semester did something really cool, where he allowed us to have 3 open projects for the whole semester. We were in charge of who/what the shoot was about, what type of shoot it was… it worked out really great for me, I experimented first with a series of photos with Samantha Hefford, secondly I worked on my bathtub series with friends Miguel, Jenn, and Emilie, and third I created a new film still series: The Shining (yet to be released, trying to find child models!!)

However in another class, a different teacher simply gave us a list of one-liners to pick from to create a photo from, such as: “Dirty Bitch”, “DIY Fashion”, “Make it dirty/greasy”

Both approaches were fun and it was fun to do both in each classes, a little exhausting at times, but fun. The teachers projects were always really interesting, and you can create anything from these ideas anyways, I never found them very constricting.

Tell us about your "shower" series, how did it come to life?

The point of the project for me when I started it back in 2012 was to take photos of something I wasn't used to. The premise of the creation of this project at the time was, that in my work I'm very used to starting from scratch and really perfecting, and photoshopping my images. This time I decided to strip away all of those things, and leave me with hardly anything to use to my advantage.

In my first year of college I was hanging out with my roommates in residence (rez life) and talking to my roomie Lizz about ideas I had for photography projects, and I told her about how I thought it would be really cool to just take photos of people in the shower. Not sexual, just documenting them in the shower. It’s where we feel most calm, a shower can be so relaxing and of course it’s so intimate, I thought it would be fascinating to photograph.

A couple days later when I was home and Lizz was at the same time, she yelled “Hey mate! I’m getting in the shower now if you wanna take some pictures, yeah?”

So how I went about shooting these, was I went to the model's house with nothing but my camera and 50mm lens. In terms of photographing them in the shower- whether they wanted to be totally nude or wear underwear was up to them. I wanted them to feel as comfortable as possible, so I made the choice up to them.
The duration of the time that I took the photos was also dependent on the model, however long their shower usually was- was the length of time that I took the photos.
Every model's photos were different depending on the light in the bathroom, what they chose to wear/not wear, what they did in the shower (sing, brush their hair, shave, etc), and overall it was a very wonderful experience.

Was it awkward to take photos of naked people?

You know before I began the project, I thought it would be, but it wasn’t at all.

My first time photographing for this project was with Lizz as I said, and I remember us standing in the bathroom and I said “I thought this would be weird, but this isn’t weird at all!” And Lizz goes “Yeah I know what you mean! I feel like I’ve been naked in front of you 100s of times!!”

Most of the experiences go just about the same way. People tell me they were a little bit worried at the start, but after a couple minutes they felt right at home. Betsy sang in the shower, Taylor sat down naked and read poetry before hand, and Brianna and Sam left on all of their jewelry.

I’m working on adding more to this project as soon as I can :)

You also took nude self portrait, was it uncomfortable?

Nah! I’ve been uploading photos to Flickr for 5 years now, and I truly didn’t begin to do nude self-portraits until I was completely comfortable. I think my biggest inspiration for nude self-portraits is Miss Aniela, her work in nature is absolutely beautiful.

And after a year in art school…nudity is really no big thing.
In first year I went to my first “life drawing” class, and I drew some (really really bad) drawings of naked people. One time at lunch, there was a group of people wearing nothing but hats and ties and glasses, having a “tea party” in the cafeteria. And another time there was someone covered completely in serum wrap, with a bunch of buckets of different coloured paint around them with a sign that said “Paint Me”

After a year of that it wasn’t too hard for me to take off my clothes in front of the camera :P

One of the most successful series that you've created was with Betsy Hinze, what was your main inspiration?

Oh thank you so much! I loved that series with Betsy.. It was a lot of fun! It was created for an assignment for one of my classes where we needed to create a magazine editorial on whatever the heck we wanted.

So I contacted Betsy (who’s my friend and also a fabulous artist!!) and asked if she wanted to shoot with me for this project. Betsy was stoked and we got together at her house to shoot. It was really a collaboration, Betsy told me that she had all of these bugs that she bought at a flea market (haha) and would love to shoot with them. So we got her dressed in the best outfit and went around the house and shot.

I didn’t really go in there with any other huge concept other than “bugs”, and I of course brought flowers to shoot with too. And the blue water in the bathtub was a HUGE lucky mistake!!!! Betsy had just dyed her hair blue the night before, so all of the dye seeped into the water of the tub <3

Some of your photos tend to have a bit of creative humor "the photographer's assistant" is a great example, where do you get such ideas?

Thank you! That’s one of my favourite photos actually.. Myself and 4 big men hiked up one of the biggest hills in the city, Nose hill to get this picture. It’s funny cause once we got all the way up we realized we forgot like, 1 important thing in the car. One of the guys went down the hill to grab it it was pretty funny. This was inspired by the photo "Raising the Flag on Iwa Jima" by Joe Rosenthal.

I guess in general I try my best to be a funny person when you get to know me. Any one who shoots with me will say that I have a quirky sense of humour and always make them laugh. My dad was always a jokester, and in the worst of any situation he will try and make others smile and laugh. I guess it’s just a part of me that comes out in my photography :)

My personal favorite is the "Blue" series, you take such amazing film stills, is it something you're passionate about?

Thank you. I am definitely passionate about creating series of photos based on films. These films mean something to me, and have personally affected me in some way shape or form. Requiem for a Dream for example, that film shook me like no other has in my life. It made me cry, it made me scream, it made me laugh a bit (maybe out of insanity) but it’s by the far the most powerful movie I have ever seen. It’s very personal to me.
I love shooting these too. It’s such a process.
I watch the movie a couple times, and I pause and screenshot all of my favourite moments that stand out to me. And then I go on the internet and look up “famous movie stills” and see what others favourites are. I then paste all of these little thumbnail pictures into my sketchbook and pick and choose which ones to create when I’m shooting with the models.

I loved shooting Blue, Requiem, and Sunshine. The Shining is coming up next.

About Phlearn 

How long have you been working for phlearn?

I have been working for Phlearn now for about 2 years now! (what. haha I kind of just realized this myself now, wow!!)

How is it like?

Well, when I started working for Phlearn back in 2012 I applied for an internship where I would potentially have the opportunity to work with Phlearn and Aaron Nace. I got the internship and worked the Summer of 2012 in Chicago with Phlearn. During my time there I would help with photoshoots, recording episodes and even editing episodes, help conceptualize ideas for photoshoots/pro tutorials/episodes, and lots more.

I left in Sept 2012 to finish my last 2 years of school, but when I left I was a part of the ‘hired’ team and no longer an intern. I do interviews with professional photographers and I curate the weekly editions of weekend inspiration.

Is it hard gathering inspirational photos weekly?

Yep. There are so many amazing incredible photos out there, and you know what else is out there? TONS of lists of the “best” photos ever. It’s always hard to pick 25 photos to showcase every week, when you could really showcase 100 a week. But if it wasn’t challenging, there wouldn’t be a point for me to do it.

Curating weekend inspiration kind of makes me think in “portfolio mode”. When organizing the 25 photos in the post I try and organize each edition like it was a different portfolio of images to look at. People probably don’t realize but a lot of the time WI is organize by color scheme and/or theme, and sometimes I go back in and re-arrange the order anywhere from 2-5 times :P

What was your most memorable story of your internship at Phlearn?

Hahaha..I have a few. Going to Ikea with Amelia Fletcher and Jenna Petrone was kind of amazing. I had been to Ikea before, but it was just the funnest adventure ever. Taking pictures near the little tables with our crappy camera phones, and just screwing around. We were there to get desks for ourselves but we got distracted.

Also Aaron singing Kanye West around the studio is always fun (don’t kill me), and DEFINITELY the day Aaron showed up to the studio with a bunch of popsicles and a leaf blower on July 4th to do a “funAmerican july 4th photoshoot!!!!”

Is it hard to find photographers and interview them?

No, it’s only hard to keep up with it all!! Haha, there are so many amazing photographers out there and there’s so much to learn from all of them. I can’t wait to keep interviewing people because I truly learn a little bit more from each and every one.

I often get suggestions e-mailed to me by David, Chris, or Aaron at Phlearn, by fans, or by photographers contacting me themselves.

You seem to share a lot of somewhat personal information to your Flickr followers, do you feel that it makes you closer to your audience?

I think so. I mean when I’m putting things out there, I don’t feel super conscious of what I’m doing in the sense that I’m not thinking “should I put this up? Can I? I just post and write what I feel, all the time now.

I think it maybe comes from how I began to start posting things on Flickr. With my diagnosis of cancer I uploaded a photo of what happened that day, with a little blurb explaining everything. I wrote the good, the bad, and I even uploaded a picture of my piss in a jug. I don’t really care. :P

I am also just a very open person in general, so that’s probably why I’m like that too.

Being a member of an online community can make you a lot of friends and can also make you some haters, tell us about your experience, your favorite people that you came to know through the internet

I feel like I am a child of the internet. I don’t even know where I would be today if it wasn’t for all of the things we have access to today.  I have met an INCREDIBLE amount of amazing people all over the world thanks to Flickr mostly. Some of these people I have been friends with for years and years, since I joined flickr in 2009.

One day I want to meet everyone who I’ve connected with online. I would love to meet Natalie Harding, Sarah Allegra, Eddie Sebastian, Joel Robison, Sarah Ann Loreth, Elizabeth Gadd, HandyPandyAndy, Rob Cornelius, Myke (Hummer Commander on Flickr), You!!!! and seriously so so so many others.

I haven’t had really any bad experiences with “haters”. I’m relatively good at brushing things off if that happens anyways :)

I can't be done with this interview without asking you about the self portrait inside the fridge, Why? lol

Well, I was moving out of that place I was living in back in 2012, so I had to clean everything in the apartment. The rooms, the floors, the oven, and the fridge. Once I took out all of the shelves I was amazed at how big the fridge actually was and decided to see if I could fit in there. When I realized that I did I jumped up and down, got my camera and tripod took off my clothes and got in the fridge.

I thought it would look cool.

Any new projects coming up?

Yes! Always.
I don’t know if I want to talk about all of them, but I did a shoot with my friend Samantha Hefford who you’ve all seen many times before, and that came out great! Doing another shoot with model Poison Ivy tomorrow and I have a shoot with a model Persepherone Bleeds this week too. Things are planned going into September-October as well, so I am very excited!

find Angela at: 

No comments:

Post a Comment