'My earliest desire to be a photographer was caused by an astonishing scene I witnessed as a child during a visit to my grandparents, in one of the spring holidays. A unique landscape where elements of Winter and Spring seemed to merge and create in my mind a sort of "living" painting, which I couldn’t preserve but rather I kept in my heart and mind. '
'For me, the best thing about still life photos is that you don’t need so many things to create an engaging story! In every single thing, there is a sense of human presence, emotions and stories. There is something invisible but very clear. I can portray emotions and tell stories without even using a human model. That's what makes me so interested in still life. '
'I just follow my instinct and I approach only people who have something interesting, it can be anything ranging from an accessory to a haircut to an outfit to the way they sit down or stand. There’s very little rational thinking behind the choice of the subject and I like it that way. It’s supposed to be fun and improvised. The real challenge is my introverted nature, it’s difficult for me to approach a stranger and I work really hard at forcing myself and do that. I know I’ll never feel comfortable at approaching a stranger, but I definitely think it’s gotten a lot easier since I moved to NYC.'
'Much of my work is spontaneous. When I go out I shoot whatever object catches my eye through its light and shadows, textures and colors. Sometimes an idea comes out of nowhere, and I try to focus long enough to make a whole series based on that idea. It could be a certain color, topic or style or something else that connects the images. '
'When I’m out, I actually work in a very small area, concentrating on the composition and framing of the image I’m making. I try to visualise the finished print and try and get as much right on the camera as possible. I will take a test shot using the metering within the camera, but I use manual settings all the time, so I have complete control, even focussing.'
'Right now the biggest challenge I've set for myself is to capture even more diversity in my portraits. My current limitations are time and an ongoing quest to find more people who will allow me to paint them. I explore a very small percentage of the queer-identified and allied population in my work. Androgyny, body art, gender confirmation surgery and piercings are not uncommon among the people you see in my work.'
'I'm not always consciously aware of decisions I make regarding the use of colour or composition exactly. I used to meditate quite a lot and that coupled with a lifetime of daydreaming has a profound influence on the way I work. I suppose it's a bit like deliberately shutting down the rational side of the brain in favour of intuition and emotion. I often paint with my feelings rather than making analytical choices, those come later on when I decide the time is right to abandon a piece or continue working with it.'
'The paintings, even the smallest ones, take a lot of time and materials to create. In no particular order, I use pencil, colored pencils, charcoal, inks, pastels, acrylic paint, gouache, oil pastels, and permanent markers. Each layer is sealed. I then use a shellac to protect the painting overall and allow the work to be handled. '
'I have been doodling all my life but started getting serious after retiring in 2011 from a long career as a registered nurse. I am basically a self-taught artist, but I have read several reference books on acrylics and watercolor techniques. From 2000-2011 I was the Director of Quality and Risk Management at a small hospital in York, Maine.'
'My work is inspired by the artists I've tried to learn from Classical artists Holbein, Vermeer Bartoli and Velázquez. And contemporary artists Yugoslavian-born Bill Vuksanovitch Australian artist Yong Su and photographer Yousef Karsh whose understanding of the use of shadows is second to none.'
'Amy shoots with a Nikon D7100. Her favorite lens for portraits is a “Nifty Fifty” Nikon 50mm, 1.8. She also uses a Nikon 18-140mm 3.5-5.6 lens depending on where she is shooting. For fast action sports, like rodeos, her lens of choice is the Nikon 70-300mm 4.5-6.3.'
'Gina Collins has experience with various photography genres. Her beautiful work ranges from stunningly colourful landscape images, elegant flower photography, majestic big cats and other wildlife, beautifully composed Still Life photography and much more. She also creates exquisite watercolour artwork too.'