We explored a resident photographer series, which featured different posts called Behind The Lens. I would like to thank Jay Schimpf for her hard work and interesting pieces over the last year. We look to explore new resident photographers down the line, for now, we will turn our focus to music, leaving the rest to ponder until it feels right again. Thanks again Jay!
Nationally exhibiting sculptor and photographer Jessica Schimpf graduated in 2010 with her B.F.A. Degree from The Maryland Institute College of Art. Jessica is a recipient of MICA’s departmental grants, scholarships and academic achievment awards. At MICA she studied the art of metal fabrication and traditional lost wax casting in the school’s metal foundry. After graduation she started working with hand blown glass and opened her first business called Mantra Glass (CEO, co-owner and Glass Designer).
Jessica is an exhibiting artist that shows her work through public installations, gallery exhibitions and private collections across the U.S. She has worked at The Sculpture Foundation, where she and her team fabricated “The Seven Year Itch” (monumental sculpture of Marilyn Monroe for the city of Chicago), and “American Gothic” (sculpture for the city of Rome). She has also worked for Oxman Studios to create a monumental bronze sculpture “Dignity” for a horse farm in Kentucky, and “Encore” a stainless steel monumental sculpture (for the city of Washington, DC). Several large public installation projects of her personal work include North Bennington Art Park, VT., Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center Reisterstown, MD., and Salem Art Works Salem., NY.
Press notorioty includes The New York Times, Landscape Architecture Magazine, and MICA Juxtapositions.
Jessica’s work spanses several different mediums and forms. Her current work investigates the ephemeral qualities of living plants, organic matter, and the reproduction of organic materials drawn on paper. Her work offers a glimpse into the fleeting, dissapearing beauty of organic matter and energy that can be captured in the natural world. Her work stems from her childhood explorations where her home was surrounded by a large community of people, farms and hundreds of acres of protected land participating in The Farmland Preservation of Central New Jersey.
Jessica’s interest in preserving unique natural forms also stems from her studies on the impact of society on the landscape. To learn more about Jessica, have a look at her website and some of the amazing work she is currently doing.
Acres: Nicole, we really love your work and are excited to get the chance to ask you some questions about your photography experiences. To start, we’d like some info on your camera and equipment list. Are you using any new techniques, old cameras, interesting styles? We’d love to know about your digital and film cameras as well as what you really enjoy shooting with the most.
NF: I recently just upgraded to the Canon Mark 5D II (mainly used with the Canon Ultrasonic Zoom Lens EF 24-70mm). I was using a Canon Rebel Xsi for the past four years with the stock lens as I wasn’t in a financial position to upgrade to anything better at the time. I mainly shoot with my digital cameras, as it allows for quick and reliable shoots out in the field (a well as in studio). However, I learned photography mainly with traditional film on my grandfather’s old Pentax SLR. It was this big clunking thing I used in high school photography classes. I actually still have it for the fond memories but it has since been retired. In my inventory I keep a film model of the Canon Rebel Xsi in case I choose to do something with film or the darkroom.
Acres: Your work seems to inform surreal elements with realistic imagery. For example, I noticed this unique picture of the egg. You’ve really transformed a normal realistic photo into something with far more substance. Can you tell us a little bit about this photo? What were the key elements and was there a theme you were trying to follow? Is there a sense of surrealism or emotion in this image that I am catching onto?
NF: I was working in the studio with the main purpose of completing some still life images, but I wasn’t drawn to the typical flower or fruit bowl shots one might think of. I wanted to explore food up close and personal, and to push the viewer to see it in a different way. The series included pumpkins, mushrooms, peppers, and even a big slab of meet. But the eggs were the trickiest to shoot, mainly because they lacked any real visual interest besides their shape, but I felt like that was too cliché. So I decided to crack one open and look inside. What I think makes this photo powerful is the up close and personal view a person gets with the egg and the delicate yolk floating amidst the jagged edges. If you get a sense of emotion in reaction to the image then I feel like I did my job.
Acres: I really love how you’re investigating the idea of macro photography while still allowing the viewer to understand what the object is. Changing from your surreal subjects, please tell us a little bit about your fashion shooting experience – the photos from your site are really great.
NF: Thank you. Most of my fashion work has been done for private shoots, or for my college’s fashion blog “Loyola Looks.” (Loyola University) I have also done some product shots for Pauline Rader Jewelry. Most of the time I am approached and asked to do the shoots, but it is also great to have a lot of eager friends who aren’t camera-shy. Largely for the Loyola shoots I would have a rough idea of the concept, whether it would be outside or in studio and what would look good on the models in that setting. But once everything is set up, it’s like the shoot has a mind of its own and I love where it takes me. That could be said for most of my work.
Acres: The self-portrait of you hovering immediately caught my attention. To create a featured image for Behind The Lens I have taken this photo and added some design ideas to make a new collaboration. The intent behind our collaboration is to investigate the surreal imagery you present to your audience. What do you do to set up these scenes? Is it spur of the moment or extremely strategized? How do you develop your concepts?
NF: Actually this one was done with my film camera in the studio with a self timer. The basic set up of the shoot was to strategize the look and set, however I like to play and improvise, if I have some time to myself…so oftentimes some of the best shots aren’t planned. In this particular shot, I had been in the studio for a while playing with different props and poses. I could say that the setup of the studio lent itself to my inspiration.
Acres: At Acres we want to always inform our viewers about your professional strategies, experiences and exhibition history. We feel that as a diverse group of artists and musicians it’s really important to put the focus on how contemporary photographers are changing the path of the current art world. Please tell us a little bit about your current work and experiences.
NF: I am the owner and photographer for my freelance business, Nicole Ferrari Photography. I just graduated from Loyola University Maryland with a B.A. in Photography, Writing, and a minor in Art History. During my school years I interned at Maryland Art Place and Cosmopolitan Magazine. I also worked as the Director of Photography for “Loyola Looks.” My most recent exhibitions include a group show called “Survival” at the Baltimore Hostel, a group show called “Facemask” at Zhou B Art Center in Chicago, and in Photographer’s Forum annual “Best of Photography” 2001 book.
Acres: Where does your inspiration come from and how does it inform your work? For example with the egg, was it based off of an experience or is it something more profound?
NF: My inspiration comes from anything, really. Even something as small as a grocery store-bought egg can influence my work, and I am sure a lot of other artists would agree. I think that a lot of it is subconscious, that is why it is hard for a lot of artists to even explain their own work or where it came from. I probably draw a lot upon my past memories or experiences, or in response to certain artistic movements in present society or that I may have learned about through my studies as an Art History minor in college. We all play off of things that we see and even other people’s work. Nothing is sterile or unrelated.
Acres: As a recent graduate, what are your plans for the future and what are some things that are coming to fruition that will lead you there?
NF: I am planning to continue my freelance work while I expand my skills into other areas as well. I hope to break into the publishing industry, perhaps in the photo department of a newspaper or magazine in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. metro area. I also have interest in gallery work (in addition to exhibiting myself). Long term, I plan to become more established and eventually open my own commercial photography studio. Currently, I am in the early stages of planning my exhibition at the upcoming Parallax Art Fair in SoHo, New York City, from August 2nd-5th.
Acres: Thanks Nicole, it’s been great speaking with you and we hope that our viewers are just as intrigued by your artwork as we are!
~ Jay Schimpf
We proudly introduce our first choice for our Behind The Lens Series, featuring photographer Sarah Da Silva from Colorado Springs, C.O. Sarah has established herself on the east coast, originally from Springfield N.J. She obtained her Associates Degree in Photography and has worked as an concert, event, wedding and portrait photographer. She also creates beautiful nature photography that has been hung in several galleries including “Ephemera”, an exhibition in Salem, N.Y. in 2011.
Acres: We are interested in the artist behind the lens. This project is a simple look at who you are professionally and artistically. Sarah what is your current camera and equipment list?
SDS: The equipment I use are the Nikon D60 and the Nikon D90 with the SB 600 and 800 flash. However, it’s not how fancy the equipment is, it’s the eye of the beholder.
Acres: Yes I agree, it really comes down to what a photographer can do with available tools. There is no need for fancy high-tech gear to take beautiful, insightful photographs. You have a great eye for nature photography and i’ve noticed that your work is clearly balanced between shooting and meticulous editing, with your own artistic flare. As a photographer, how do you decide what and where to shoot, how do you get there? What do you look for through your lens?
SDS: I wouldn’t consider myself solely a ‘nature’ photographer, I’m open to anything and everything. Although my dream is to one day work for either national geographic or for my own company focusing on concert photography but I want to broaden my portfolio and explore every branch of photography.
How I decide what to shoot is always something that catches my eye, whether it’s symmetry, or asymmetry, I look for some kind of balance and unity through the lens. It could be an everyday appliance we pass by without thought or a breath taking mountainous landscape. My purpose is simple, I just want humans to take a second look and open their perspective to what is around us. I feel that if I can get people to become aware of the beauty on this planet and the people who are in it, we could do more to protect it and ourselves. I want to share a different perspective. Photography is an universal language that anyone can understand. A picture says a thousand words.
Acres: Very well said, it’s difficult to bring the attention of the viewer towards a global/universal acknowledgement that our environment is in serious need of protection at this point in history. One image that comes to mind is this photograph you took last year in Colorado, with several pieces of wheat in focus. The giant mountains in the background are blurred but still recognizable to the human eye. It immediately conveys your message of bringing that sense of awareness to the beauty and the need to value landscapes that are disappearing rapidly in this country.
Acres: So you do a range of outdoor shooting for nature photography as well as indoor shooting for music events (concerts of professional musicians) and weddings. There must be a lot of technical knowledge that comes with the use of your flash and setting up for various lighting situations. Tell me about the best moment you’ve ever had shooting. What aspects of this moment changed the way you see through your camera?
SDS: The best experience I’ve had with photography was when I shot for the band Imbala at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia P.A. this past February. It was such a rush! The bright lights, the music, the crowd. Snapping pictures to the rhythm of music. It was such a meditative experience.
Acres: Imbala is from the east coast and I know you have worked with them for quite some time taking shots at their concerts. You’re long time friends of the brothers Wirjo, Scott Zanon and Mike Delia. For those of you who don’t know Imbala, check out their music HERE. They won Battle of The Bands in 2011 in Philly and are an eclectic group creating junkcore music.
We want to thank Sarah for connecting with the collective here at Acres. We hope that promoting art and music through the site can become an accessible network for independent creators all over the world.
- Jay Schimpf
Special thanks to Ellen Epley for the photograph, I highly recommend visiting elleneply.com to see her other work. She captures the moment really well and her subjects never seem to force anything for the camera. I kept getting the sense that these photos snapped themselves, just by the way her collection sits naturally. I chose this particular photo b/c I felt it speaks to what we’re trying to do on Acres. The site is about people forming this community together. The feeling I get from the image is this acceptance to explore something new, to let your guard down and do something. The girl in the photo looks right at you, and for me it suggests purity, and the liberty to change course in life, even if it’s for a moment. There’s no doubt, that I tried to mimic the overall impression the weather had been leaving on me lately, with volume one. It’s not too hot or cold, its upbeat and chill at the same time. I think this mix has enough edge to keep you awake while also giving you the atmosphere to chill on the porch. Spring time is without a doubt one of my favorite times of the year. I was really excited to add these groups to my collection this last month. They’re all really amazing musical acts that offer up something special. Don’t forget to Download the mix for free, and take it with you wherever you are, and wherever you go. Lastly, thanks to the Artists who have submitted their voices for the Acres, Discovering You tag line. Keep sending them in, I think they really sound nice in the mix.
Sleep Party People “Chin”
Beaches Beaches “Got Feel”
Tea Leigh & Luke Reed “Rivers Of Love”
Sean Bones “Here Now”
Mountain Range “Evelyn(e)”
Bear Cubs “Cascade”
Everything Sleeps “Hold Me Down”
Jonas K.P. “You, I, Us”
Matt FX “Breezy”
~ Ryan Boos