11.25.2009

Q&A: Miranda Lehman

© Miranda Lehman


Miranda is a wonderfully inspiring photographer who currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

For further viewing of her inspiring photographs please look here.


Autumn Clark: Where do you find your inspiration?


Miranda Lehman:

When I was just starting out, everything was an inspiration, it was just so fun to look through a camera and photograph anything. Now that I have been doing it awhile, I feel pictures are inspired by very specific desires: namely, a particular feeling I look for when I photograph. I can't describe it entirely, but I know it when I see it, and it makes me feel like I am being connected with some beautiful, more pure or wild part of myself. This is especially true for the project I am currently working on. Also, I am a lot more inspired by movies than by the work of other photographers... but of course my tumblr is endless inspiration. I've saved hundreds of pictures to my desktop. I think overall it is much more interesting than websites like flickr.


© Miranda Lehman


Autumn Clark: You also tend to avoid photographing people's faces in your photos, how come?


Miranda Lehman:

People are just so preoccupied with beauty and creating celebrities out of artists and the subjects of photographs, especially images of women, that I find it more interesting to withhold that information. At least that's how I've felt for the past few years. Recently I feel much more open to photographing people's faces. I just think it's dangerous -- I might take images of other, but I am never going to photograph myself.


© Miranda Lehman


Autumn Clark: What photographs do you tend to look at?


Miranda Lehman:

I go back to Uta Barth, Bill Henson, and Todd Hido over and over. I love Vija Celmins the most, though she is not a photographer. Overall, I don't look at other photographers work too much. The internet provides so much contemporary photography that I am usually burnt out on "looking".


Autumn Clark: Does your personal life inspire your work?


Miranda Lehman:

Yeah, I can't help it, but it does. It's absurd to think a photographer can divorce their pictures from their own life. Sometimes you can't see it, but it's there. That being said, I don't think my pictures are especially diaristic. Some people photograph their daily life... and I do too... a little bit. More and more I like to mix really staged scenes with very personal photos taken in my daily life. It's been invigorating putting all the ways I work into one project.


Autumn Clark: Do you prefer to work traditionally or digitally?


Miranda Lehman:

I love film totally and completely. I like how high the output is (you can make such big prints with film), but I also like how secret it is. It's like the fantasy of the movie Blowup is still there -- that is, that something hidden and mysterious can be recorded and found later. I think digital is great too, I just haven't found the right way to integrate it into my own practice... yet. But, I love when digital photos becomes degraded and noisy, it has a beauty of it's own.












© Miranda Lehman


Autumn Clark: What advice would you give to someone working towards their BFA in photography?


Miranda Lehman:

Oh man, I wish someone told me to be prepared for an artistic slump after graduating and that it's totally natural and nothing to feel bad about! Also, explain things in your natural voice. It took me four years of art school to finally talk about my artwork in a non bullshitty way. I think what's important is to find an art practice that works for you and will keep you motivated outside of school... much more important than getting a fine grade. And make the work you want to make, not what you think you "should".


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