I recently caught up with Wyoming-based photographer, Rebecca Stern. The result is the latest session of Five Questions For You (5Qs4U)!
Question 1: Would you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure. I am a landscape photographer and an avid outdoors enthusiast currently living in Jackson, Wyoming. I love to ski (downhill, tele-marking, cross-country), bike, hike, kayak, sail and spend time in cold climates as well as near the ocean! I also love to travel and have been lucky enough to travel with my parents for many exciting adventures to Japan, China, Taiwan, France, Italy, Switzerland, England and extensively throughout the US (including Alaska) and Canada. I studied in Dijon, France for 6 months during college and had the opportunity to explore Europe throughout that time.
These days, my photographic work strives to show the interactions between man and the land and highlights the symbiotic connections. I obtained my Bachelor of Arts degree from Colby College in 2003 with a major in history, a minor in photography and a pre-med concentration. Although medicine was always very appealing to me, my artistic inclination and true passion rested with photography. I was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography as the Excelsus Laureate at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta in 2008. My photography company, RS Photography, started in 2005 offers fine art, website design, personalized photographic instruction, workshops and consultations.
I have always liked to observe things before I dive in and perhaps that is one of the reasons photography has always interested me. My grandfather was an avid photographer in his spare time and created a darkroom in my home when I was quite young. Although he was not able to use it often nor work with me for very long as his old age interfered, it seems his motivation and love of photography was instilled in me as I started taking photographs. I always knew he was with me when I was in the darkroom for many, many hours throughout all of my schooling.
Question 2: So you graduated from one of the most prestigious art schools with a Master of Fine Arts, the most advanced art degree offered by Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). In 2008, you’re honored as SCAD – Atlanta’s very first Excelsus Laureate. That’s a record that can never be broken! SCAD Excelsus Laureates are chosen annually, but you will always be Atlanta’s first. Isn’t the rest of your life pretty much downhill from here?
Never thought about it exactly like that before, but probably! J Nah, I have my whole life in front of me to be great and to create great artwork and to be successful. Being the Excelsus Laureate was an honor and I am proud to be it, but when I become more successful and can survive off of my artwork completely, then I will be satisfied. So I’m still on the uphill and to me, haven’t reached the peak yet!
I am also honored at the moment to have many wonderful clients who force me to continue to think, contemplate and learn something new every day!
Question 3: Several MFA graduates have told me (and it’s my personal experience as well) that after graduation, it took some time and effort to return to the place of making art on a regular basis. Is that your experience as well, and if so, why do you think that is?
Absolutely my experience as well. It is still hard for me to create art on a regular basis for myself as I have to make a living too and that has been the hardest adjustment for me. Balancing my career, life, and my artistic passions is challenging. I have been lucky to have clients who want me to photograph with them; but that does not mean that I have any time to take my shots off my own camera or do anything with them. I am generally doing the work for my clients rather than for myself.
Question 4: What would people be most surprised to find out about you? And the more personal the reveal, the more $ I’ll include in your 5Qs4U interview paycheck!
I’ve been skiing since I was 18 months old; it’s one of my favorite activities. Actually, I had not thought about this in a very long time, and usually do not share this, but I was born with a rare condition; a portion of my body is de-pigmented, devoid of melanocytes; meaning it is paler than the rest of my skin. During my early bathing years, my mother and I would use these areas as Rorschach designs and would come up with different creative stories for each area of de-pigmentation. So when peers used to ask me about them, I was always ready, with oh, that’s Alaska, or that’s a chocolate dipped strawberry, or that’s a pig dancing… or whatever I might invent at that moment. It has not occurred to me before this, but perhaps that was what began, or at least what motivated me to pursue my interest in images and photography.
[OK, time-out! I can’t afford information that awesome! I will just make a tax-free donation in your name to my favorite cause, Mapping the Edge! No kidding, thanks very much for sharing. Sounds like great ammunition for a story. It’s interesting that the first photographic series I saw from Rebecca was a set of abstract water images. Could Rebecca’s search for meaning in the abstract have its origins in these childhood experiences with her mom? By the way, you can see that series and Rebecca’s other work from the links she provides in her answer to the next question.]
Question 5: How can people best follow you and your work online?
I have two websites, one for fine art and one for my company. You can check out my work at www.rebeccasternphotography.com and my company website is www.rs-photography.com. You can also follow me on Facebook with the RS Photography Fan Page at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/RS-Photography/58444934071 and on Twitter @photographybyrs.
Did I say that was Question 5? This is: Are you distracted by shiny things (like the latest photo gadgets), or are you the kind of photographer who finds something that works, then sticks with it?
Of course, isn’t everyone distracted by shiny objects?!? I may be distracted by them, but I do like to find equipment that works for my style and stick with it. I’ve been using Nikon photo equipment for many years now and like the inner workings of their camera bodies.
Thanks Rebecca! Best of luck in your art, and in all of your business-related endeavors!