Photography touches many aspects of our lives. We hire photographers to document special occasions and purchase fine art photography to decorate our homes. And while these two categories of photography are viewed as completely different from one another, Terrain Director’s Choice winner Amanda Schilling has become quite proficient in both. Aspects of her personal work influencing her event work and vice versa.
I think my wedding and event experience, having to capture the “perfect” moment before it slips away, never to return again, has influenced my personal work in that I often make quick decisions and take an abundance of shots. [...] At the same time, I believe the most interesting fine art photographs are often those that tell a story, capture natural beauty, or are unexpected. I try to bring all of these aspects to my wedding and event photography.
Tire Swing - Director's Choice
Schilling’s process tends to be fairly instinctual: “While I may have a general idea of what I’m looking for or a certain iconic place I want to go, I never really know what I’m going to find until I get there.” For instance, her winning image, Tire Swing, was a found image in Jamaica. “That photo screams more Southeast Texas or Louisiana bayou than Jamaica, but at that moment the empty tire swing in that scene caught my interest.” Schilling has also had success with carefully composed shoots as well, as in her image Vanishing Presence. “I think it captured perfectly the story I wanted to tell.”
Finding a talent for the arts at a young age, Schilling participated in many contests and art shows growing up. “However, I was also often reminded of the ‘starving artist’ stigma growing up and as the class valedictorian thought that I had to follow a more financially lucrative degree path in college.” Majoring in architecture, Schilling had the opportunity to participate in a study abroad program in Italy that presented her with her first introduction to photography. “It was my first time developing film and watching my prints appear before me, and I fell in love.”
Though she knew that photography was her dream, she began to build a different career while pursuing her passion for photography on the side. After 10 years of additional training, and an infusion of inspiration from photographer Keith Carter, Schilling finally decided to focus on photography full-time. And while she finds it surreal at times to be able to call herself a photographer or an artist, that doesn’t keep her from striving to be her best. “I think success would mean being represented by well known galleries and having my prints in the collections of great museums and art collectors. Making a good living doing something I love wouldn’t be too bad either.”
Terrain is currently on view through September 29, 2012.