Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Interview: Amalia Sieber (Amalia Chimera)
Name: Amalia Sieber
Where are you from?:
I currently live in San Francisco. Before that, I went to a 5-year college in Cincinnati, and grew up in Durham, NC.
Tools of the trade:
My favorite cameras are the Polaroid SX-70 and Polaroid 600SE. I also use a Pentax k1000 when I don't want the bulk of the 600SE but still have a wider format.
Artisitic influences and how much does it influence your work?:
I look at a lot of fashion magazines and blogs - I love fashion photography, although you couldn't tell from my work probably. My favorite photographer is Paolo Roversi and I love the sets and whimsy of anything shot by Tim Walker. My favorites on flickr revolve around things with beautiful, spectacular, out-of-this-world light or color. It is magic. I love my influences because it's what I try to shoot, too, strange and wonderful beauty and light and color. But the influence stops there, because I don't want to (accidentally or on purpose) copy something I love from too much influence. Light/color/magic seems to be a broad enough subject that I can love it by other people and still do my own thing.
Why do you like photography/art and what do you get out of it?:
I've loved visual things since my early childhood. I was very talkative but still always expressed myself better with imagery. I went to an arts middle school and high school, and it continued into college where I studied design and eventually motion graphics...art isn't just something cathartic anymore, but my only connection into "the real world." Which is funny because I get paid to create dreams.
What motivates and inspires you?(films/music/people ect):
I am very easily moved by things I see or hear, so I could hear a song that strikes a lot of emotions in me and feel inspired to create a world around it for a photo or animation. For example, I was listening to the song "I'm On Fire," originally by Bruce Springsteen but covered by Bat for Lashes, who turned it into a slow, evocative, somewhat mournful song. I immediately wanted to make something out of it that conveyed the sadness and desire of the song, and for a school project I came up with this : vimeo.com/1626988
So anyway, music, books, movies, and others' artwork that either shows me someone's visions or allows me to get something dreamy out of it - those are my favorite, and inspire me to do what I do. Fashion designers: Jean-Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, Sonia Rykiel. Illustrators: Lynn Olofsdottir, Caitlin Quiet, Kozyndan. Movies: The Fifth Element, Crybaby, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Books: Still Life with Woodpecker, House of Leaves, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Anything in Lula Magazine.
Where do you see yourself in the future?:
I would love to get some jump into professional photography, specifically fashion or portraiture (NOT family portraits and stuff, but...the good, simple, non-cheesy kind.) If that doesn't happen, I'd at least like to move towards a top motion graphics company that either does a lot of title sequences, like Digital Kitchen, or some place that does stop animation.
Where did you learn how to edit and do you have any tips?:
I pretty much just taught myself photo-related editing, although we also learned the entire Adobe suite in school for design purposes. My main editing revolves around getting my scans to match the real-life photo, with levels, selective color, and the healing brush as my main helpers.
As for tips, THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I HAVE LEARNED REGARDING PUTTING PHOTOS ON THE WEB! So, you may have noticed that you edit a photo in PS to look a certain way, but when you upload it to flickr/your website/whatever, the colors are lighter or desaturated or just not right. But you may not know that while you were editing it, the proof setup was for CMYK/print, whose color profile is naturally darker and also is the default proof. So, when uploaded, having been mis-managed to begin with, the photo's colors shift to a web setting. So, to be able to edit a photo a certain way and have people on the internet see it that way too, go to View > Proof Setup > Monitor RGB. Then, make sure that you have Proof Colors turned on, also in View. You will probably have to turn this on for every photo or every time you launch the program.
Who/what/where are important parts of your photographic process?:
I can be inspired by anything I see, so I like to write down ideas in a little notepad my boyfriend made specifically for photo ideas (it's made to look like the old rainbow Polaroid branding from the 60's-70's). I also sketch out ideas a lot if it has a complex scene I want to create. But the most important parts of the process are creating proper and beautiful lighting, and me being happy (along with anyone I'm shooting.) The excitement of creating and having fun is the driving force into making something good!
Film or digital?:
Film. It records light much better, in my opinion, without a lot of crazy editing.
Anything else you'd like to share? (favorite bands/movies ect.):
Well, I guess I listed a lot of those in inspiration already, but some music I love is as follows: Bat for Lashes, Ivana XL, Bowerbirds, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Rilo Kiley, Taken By Trees, The Dø, and any French 60's pop star. I like girl singers because I can harmonize with them best :)