10.26.2005

Interview with Flickr's Solea

This week's interview is with Flickr's Solea. She is a talented hobbist photographer with an extensive range of work. We cut the interview short on account of extreme time conflicts (she's in Holland), but will resume our discussion in the following weeks. Enjoy!


Christopher: Tell me who "Solea" is.

Solea:

a woman living in The Netherlands, my name is actually Carmen, I live there alone with my two cats. I am working in a crappy office with a multinational but I am trying to start a study photography this year.

Christopher:

Yes, lets hope no one at the office gets wind of this! Do your cats have names?

Solea:

ah I don't care actually

the names of my cats are Phoebe and Figaro

named after friends and the cat of the barber of Seville

Christopher:

So Carmen, how did your love affair with photography begin?

Solea:

well as long as I remember I have seen cameras in my life. My grandfather was a fanatic amateur photographer and my uncle picked up this hobby but turned professional. He always used me and my cousins as models, I can remember I did not like this at all, but we were use to it. When I grew older I more and more became interested in making photos. Always collecting fashion adds from Elle, Cosmo etc

and trying to get inspiration from it. Always hanging around at my uncles studio, photographing girlfriends.. that is the start (and I did not discovered digital photography yet)

Christopher:

What did you not like about being photographed by someone else?

Solea:

well it's about vulnerability I guess

I could never pose for another like I pose for myself.

no control

Christopher:

So how long have you been fascinated with self portraits? Other forms of photography?

Solea:

well I guess a few years now..

first of all, I don't consider myself as a model

I consider myself as an artist who uses myself as an 'object d'art'

I have so many ideas in my head, when I listen to a song. I can have an image and I want to express that immediately. So I am taking the camera and I am starting to create that image

it's an urge

it can be a scene in a movie, a book, a video clip,

I am always with ideas, it never stops. People in flickr wonder how I do it. How I have the time. But it's easy, I have no family to take care of and it's my biggest passion so I am able to make this my first priority

well music is also a big passion for me btw.. I am a total music freak

I can listen to a song by Depeche Mode for example and have great ideas

http://www.flickr.com/photos/solea/32893608/in/set-60573/

I was also inspired by a band named "16 horsepower" who shoot their video clips mostly with a little Bolex camera. Super fantastic material.. nostalgia with capital N.

Christopher:

I have noticed that your talent extends into many areas of photography but most seem to be self portraits. Where is the separation from "object d' art" and a simple love affair with the camera?

Solea:

hahaha

love affair with the camera?

hmm yes it is a love affair, the most satisfying one I ever had!

Christopher:

so the art is derived from this? or is it different somehow?

Solea:

well the love affair is also showing when I photograph nature or animals or my cousins so it does not goes 1 on 1 with the SP's

it's a total love affair I think

but the camera is my tool to be creative, to express my feelings my ideas

I can only remember that I was always creating even as a little child

Christopher:

would you describe your art style as Goth in some cases?

Solea:

it can be described as dark, moody, melancholic...

so if that is Goth than yes.. but I have lots of styles

not only the dark side

Christopher:

Oh yes, you have great range as an artist.

Solea:

that is because I am a very diverse person myself I think

I can see things in life in so many different ways

Christopher:

why photography? Is this what you see as your "calling" Do you see a career in it?

Solea:

because it's more easy than drawing or painting

and I don't know if there is a career, I certainly hope so

Christopher:

So photography because its easier than painting or drawing?

Solea:

yes but also because photography is such a fascinating tool. You can reflect the world around you exactly how it is

so not only because it is easier

actually it's not easier, it can be really difficult haha

Christopher:

so your creative talents extend into any other fields of art?

Solea:

yes drawing but I have been neglecting that talent

and I love to make music with friends

Christopher:

Really, what do you play?

Solea:

the voice

I am a singer

Christopher:

what are you shooting with currently? what did you start with?

Solea:

at the moment I use a semi professional; the Canon powershot G6

I started with a little compact one the Kodak easy share CX 6330

actually my whole winter collection I shoot with the little camera

I am not really a photographer who is much into perfect techniques you know, I rather want to feel a photo... to be touched by it. The most beautiful photos are made with toy cameras for instance, the Holga camera and the Diana...

Christopher:

when was the last time you used film? also, what applications do you find best for your post processing?

Solea:

the last time I used film is this year. I have a holga camera and a diana camera and a lomo

but I have to admit, digital is more fun because it's so much quicker

I am an impatient person

I use Photoshop CS2

Christopher:

have you had many scanned, can any be viewed on Flickr?

Solea:

no I have not posted any of that as I don't have a scanner (yet)

Christopher:

lets talk a bout the photo "Persephone". It was the photo of yours that caught my eye. Can you detail the shoot from idea to finished product?

Solea:

it's a manipulation

that is all I am saying

Christopher:

not sure I understand

Solea:

well there are so many people who want to know how I did it but I rather keep that one to myself

sorry

Christopher:

very well. Is there a particular shot you'd like to discuss?

Solea:

for the rest I want to discuss every photo

Persephone is just something I would like to keep a secret because everyone wonders how I did it.. and I enjoy that.. it's the same about my age. Everyone is wondering about that and think it's funny

maybe it's strange for you

Christopher:

So, I noticed a lot of your photos have a film like grain to them, is this intentional?

Solea:

yes

Christopher:

what do you feel it adds to the photo

Solea:

I love that effect on photos... it gives it some kind of nostalgia I think.. like you re watching an old still movie

I love old photos .. photography of the late 19th century

Christopher:

now, you are , as we discussed earlier, a very private person. You had talked about the vulnerability of being photographed by others. Yet, your self portraits tend to be very provocative, how, when displaying to thousands do you still feel private or guarded? Is this the result of the free spirited nature or has your interest in subject always been artistic nudes?

Solea:

yes yes you are right

I love the forms of the female body so there has always been a fascination with artistic nudes. As I was saying I am mainly using myself as an 'object d'art'. When the photo is finished .. it's not me anymore.. it's a piece of art with a woman on it. Of course I know it is me but I can see it apart from that fact. Not all photos of course, some of them are indeed ego shots (as people call it) but th

the provocative ones, the artsy ones are much much more than that

Christopher:

So what do you mean by "ego shots"

Solea:

a photo from myself to show people

a photo with Solea on it

http://www.flickr.com/photos/solea/54575593/

Christopher: and you'd rather not reveal your age?

Solea:

rather not

Christopher:

(women!)

Solea:

hahahahaha

it's not that I am ashamed or anything like that, I am very proud of my age! but it's just so funny when people are guessing

Christopher:

ahhh, okay. You use varied forms of lighting. Do you have a studio set up in your home?

Solea:

yes but not a professional one, I use mostly natural light and in the evening a .. how do you call that in English.. the lights used at construction sides

Christopher:

I can't think of the word but I understand. What is you keeper ratio like? how many photos do you take against how many you actually like and post?

Solea:

I think appr. from 10 photos I like 3

I am very “perfectionistic”

Christopher:

wow, 3/10 is incredible. I would think most of our numbers are like 1/10, I know mine are

where do you want photography to take you? what is your dream

Solea:

to be able to live from my art

to have my own gallery

maybe to expand it with photojournalism

(every photographer's dream I guess)

Christopher:

hmmm, that seems far and away from the form of art we've seen from you. why photojournalism?

Solea:

because it has such deeper impact on people, on me..

it's a very difficult part of photography so therefore a challenge too

and it's a great way to show people what is going on in the world

Christopher:

Here is the tough question. I believe you have exceptional talent behind the camera. You have been posting your work on Flickr for nearly a year now, You are probably one of the most viewed and acclaimed artists there. what role do you think that your self portraits play in your popularity? I have noticed that this is a bit of a controversy as per a previous interview. What are your thoughts?

Solea:

a big role I think. People love to see other people I think that is psychological. But in my case it's a combination I think because there are lots of women and men who post portraits on flickr but don't get so much attention as I do ( I have to admit that sometimes I am stunned about all the visits too. The comments, the people who are faving my photos, the testimonials). I think in my stream

there is a thing for everything both men and women. I have provocative sexy photos but also landscapes (real ones and surreal ones) I have macro photos, cats, dogs, little children

so with every photo there is a different group I attract

(my theory)

Christopher:

indeed

Solea:

and yes I get hate mail too

but mostly very sweet ones

Christopher:

any professional artists you admire or imitate?

Solea:

I love Anton Corbijn

guy bourdin

Christopher:

I’m not familiar with them, I will have to check them out.

any techniques you’d like to share with readers?

Solea:

I love so many, lots of them are unknown

Anton Corbijn shot a lot of photos from U2 and Depeche Mode

actually U2 only want to be photographed by him

this one is a photo made by him

miles Davis

guy bourdin has some really suffocating work..

Madonna is accused of plagiary

she has made this video clip (Hollywood) and the images are copied 1 on 1

anyway you should check them out yes

a friend of mine of flickr also introduced me to some photographers of beginning 20th century, Gertrude Kasebeir, Anne Brigman

Christopher:

so as we wrap do you have any secrets you want to reveal or words of wisdom you'd like to share, or even a camera technique or two?

Solea:

secrets.... ah they remain secrets

but..

I would recommend everybody to join the clone trend

it so much fun and so easy to do

there was actually someone on flickr who send me a sweet mail that he never thought that I was a twin.

Christopher:

Well, thank you so much for talking with me Carmen. I’ll be looking forward to seeing whatever it is you create next!