Issue Three - March 2013
Who are you and what type of creative are you?
My name is Kalie Garrett, I am twenty-three years old and am finishing up my final year at Dickinson college studying studio art and art history. I’m an artist; I’m a photographer, a sculptor, a designer, and a creator.
How did you get started in self-portrait photography and photography in general?
I really took to self-portraiture once I realized how therapeutic the process was for me. My childhood and high school years were perfect in many ways, but like so many people, I also experienced some really painful times. I wouldn’t say I’m incredibly open about my emotions since I tend to deal with them internally, but there’s something about shooting myself that seemed so natural to me and even from the beginning, I couldn’t help but be honest in front of my camera. Photography became a coping mechanism and that’s something I hadn't really thought about until very recently. I shoot to figure out why I am the way that I am, why I feel certain emotions, and how I deal with them.
There are a lot of people who know your name and or your self-portrait photography online. Why do you think your self-portraits grabbed people's attention?
I’m honest in front of the camera and people respond to that. The whole “internet fame” (as some people call it) has been a snowball effect because I was initially really hesitant to reveal so much of myself to complete strangers, but the more people reacted and connected to my work, the stronger I became. It still amazes me how powerful photography can be; people see something in me that reminds them of something in themselves and I believe that’s what art is meant to do.
What made you interested in sculpture and design?
When I began college I found that I was tired of working solely two dimensionally and that I wanted people to experience my work in a more physical sense. Because photography is such direct medium, it’s easy to translate my emotions into a photo since I am the subject matter of the work so I wanted to push myself further. When I started working with more abstract materials, I had to learn an entirely new language and I had to learn how to create an object that reflected me. Easier said than done. So while it’s been a challenge, I’ve really enjoyed connecting with people in a completely different way.
Who/what inspires you?
I’ve never been happy with how I answer this question because my answer is never enough and who/what I admire is a constant, growing list. I won’t list everyone here but I will mention Duane Michals: a photographer I always come back to for both his striking photo narratives and his profound insight. I read this quote of his the other day and it hit home, “I don’t believe in the eyes, I believe in the mind...I’m not interested in what things look like, I’m much more interested in what things feel like.”
What is your artistic process?
Sometimes I’ll have some sort of narrative in my mind before I start shooting, but I’ve never been one to fully plan out my scenes because of how my narratives tend to evolve as I am shooting. Since I work with natural lighting that is always changing and because my self-portraits are so emotionally charged, I can’t over think a concept beforehand because it’s completely dependent upon so many variables. Often, I’ll get this sudden urge to shoot when I least expect it and I love that about photography-it’s such an easily accessible art form. In contrast to my sculpture work, which takes more time and patience, photography is an incredibly quick release for me. It’s spontaneous and I find value in the fact that I cannot ever recreate those moments.
What pieces from your portfolio work are you most proud of and why?
I really enjoy the sculpture work I created this past semester. The large woven box, the light box, and the smaller egg-shaped piece represent this breakthrough moment I had when I was trying to figure out how to really connect with my work. I also love my little ceramics pieces. I’ve never worked with clay before, so it was really humbling as I learned my way around the wheel but I ended up loving how hands-on the process has to be. As for my photography, I’ve never really had one photo I love more than the other; I see them all as a body of collective work that’s constantly changing.