De Re Gallery in Los Angeles will debut its Photo Femmes group exhibition by 3 emerging female photographers from April 13-May 17. Exhibiting the work of Bojana Novakovic, Ashley Noelle and Monroe Alvarez, De Re Gallery seeks to find voices for female photographers in a fine art world with so few of them.
See BASIC chat with three emerging fine art photographers below
Hi Basic Magazine. I love your content. It’s very cool to share this with you.
I’m really loyal to me. It has taken some time to trust my gut, on a dime, and I’m glad it took time. Some artists are literally born with their talent. Others have a journey to learn from. The range of exposure I’ve had, from modeling to mentors and clients, gave me a foundation in creativity that I use when I work. I know what I like. I will listen to others, but I always go with me.
Your work evokes a look and feel that are timeless and classic. What inspires you to go back and capture this era?
This is a great question. I don’t know, I just feel it. When I first started working, I tried to be commercial and it was weird. I kept going, making mistakes (gifts) and learning. I think everyone knows that feeling they have when something is just right. I started to focus on moments when I felt that. Now it’s a habit. Once it is a habit, the thinking stops and being an artist takes over.
I’m obsessed with Los Angeles so I’m always looking. I have places I love to look at, but will never photograph. What I do photograph, it’s like meeting a stranger and feeling that spark. If I can’t take my eyes off of it, or if I wake up at 4 am to daydream about it, it’s happening. Sometimes, I feel like the city knows I’m doing this. She always shares little gems in her ever-changing landscape.
You have seen both the height of Hollywood and third world devastation through your lens, giving you a well-rounded sense of the highs and lows of our world. How do you center yourself on your off-time?
On my off time, I do not center myself. Off time is for chaos and madness. Off time is unplanned road trips with my boyfriend and sleeping in his truck while it’s -20 degrees outside. Off time is for board game nights and arguments with friends and binge watching Friday Night Lights or The Wire. However, if you mean how I center myself on a daily basis in the moments that I am not working (even though generally work can be 16 hour days), I do very simple things that have been proven to work. I meditate two times a day, I call friends and check in with them, see how they’re doing and ask advice or give advice when it’s needed and I do therapy. There’s no way to do what I do and be sane without some kind of therapy.
Your White Girl In Nepal series is both captivating and inspiring. What was your motivation to travel and take on this project?
Thank you so much for saying that. The series of photos had literally no motivation behind it – it was a complete accident. The motivation of the trip to Nepal was to help with the rebuilding efforts in my friend Maya’s village, following the devastating earthquake in April 2015. I happened to take my camera in order to film some of the work we were doing there, in the hope of raising money, but filming proved too impersonal. However, with photography, I could capture a moment quickly and reconnect with the people around me within seconds. So I took photos of the classes I conducted, the homes I lived in and the people I met.
I realized that I was spending time with people who, even though they were confused, tired and homeless, were also beautiful, ego-less and often times happy. They were busy working – re-building, cooking, teaching, learning, organizing and helping each other and they did this slowly, with no sense of urgency. No panic. I was expecting chaos, disaster, and drama. Instead, what I encountered was so much simpler and all about problem solving.
So in the end the motivation for exhibiting the photos, which I never expected would be an exhibit, is to show what I saw – free of the drama I expected – and full of the life that was present.
This is a hard question to answer because it wasn’t about a single moment. It was really about the experience of living with the villagers and living in their way, at their pace, with their outlook on life, which is calm, ego-less and honest.
There was a special moment though when I realized that the work we were doing at the village was crucial. I was teaching a 7th grade English class. It was about 3 hours before school was over and I only had the patience and focus to teach for an hour. However, once the hour was up, the students would not let me go. They wanted to learn more. There were no other teachers at the school, as most of them were suffering severe PTSD or building shelter after their homes had been destroyed. I of course stayed, and taught, making up lessons as fast as I could. I realized in that moment how desperate these kids were for an education and how much they wanted to learn. If this was 7th grade when I was at school, we would all be rejoicing that we could go home. These kids wanted to stay and learn more. This moment made me realize that the work we are doing in Bhotenamland and the surrounding areas of Sindhopalchok, Nepal, is crucial. This was so important to me.
Your photographic works capture an edginess that is modern and refreshing. What drives your style?
I’m highly influenced by all things natural. When it comes down to shooting, whether I’m shooting myself or someone else, I am inspired by who I am shooting and want to capture their essence. So, what drives my style? The soul of what’s in front of my camera.
Your Selfie Series, highlightingbeautiful landscapes and nude self-portraits, evokes a feeling of being free. What was the motivation behind this project?
Life is always about finding yourself. The goal of these trips was to be alone and sit with myself and, in that, I organically stumbled into shooting myself nude. I’ve always been a fan of tastefully done nude photos and wondered how I could enter into that world. I didn’t want my nudes to be so much about the nudity and more about the beauty that is evoked around me. My body is meant to blend in with nature. I found a lot of strength and independence from doing this series and am grateful for that journey.
How did you determine which landscapes you would feature in this series?