Once again, I’m so pleased to share that there are big changes in store for the downtown studio I share with Mikell, of Rebel Louise Photography. Together, we have created The Loft, a collaboration of our businesses, ideas and vision. Here is an interview with Mikell. Not only do I consider her a great friend and amazing photographer, but an inspiration in my own life and work. Without further ado … meet Mikell.
Why do you take images?
I take and make images because I want to create and to document. It is a creative outlet that takes me outside myself and into a place where my instincts take over. I get such a feeling of accomplishment when I get a shot I am proud of. When your mind, creativity and magic align…it is the best feeling.
Where did you grow up and how did that play a part in your photography?
I grew up in California and southern Oregon. I have always felt lucky to have the combination and contrast of living in the suburbs, the city and the country. I have been influenced by all the different places I have lived from the countryside of Williams, Oregon, to the beaches of Santa Barbara, California and the beauty of the Arizona desert. It has given me an open mind and an appreciation for diversity.
What inspires and motivates you?
I am inspired and motivated by things that are real and rich and genuine. For instance, I would much rather listen to music made with guitars and drums compared to a manufactured sound. I gravitate towards things that are real and not imitated. Inspiration comes from movies, music and music videos, art, my surroundings and my personal life experiences. Motivation comes from my desire to always be better than I was the day before, my curiosity to figure things out and my sense of adventure. I like to move forward and to push myself.
How do you know when a piece of your work is finished and needs no additional work?
I used to be an extreme perfectionist. So much so that I could never find satisfaction in feeling like something was finished. I recall working on a painting as a gift for my mother. I could not get it just the way I wanted it. Finally, my mother took the painting and proclaimed that I would never be satisfied. I became acutely aware that perfectionism was ruining my freedom to create and enjoy the process. From the moment on I have never “finished” a painting and I wholeheartedly embrace it. Now I know a piece of work is finished when I choose to give it up.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is from the Foo Fighters’ song Aurora. “I just kind of died for you” expresses the love I have for my hubby. It resonates with me so much that I have it tattooed around my wrist so it is with me every day.
If you could change one aspect of society through your work, what would it be?
It would be the perception of perfection. I believe people would be much happier if they could embrace their imperfections and know those imperfections make them beautifully unique. And, in opinion, imperfections are far more interesting and genuine. I would much rather talk with someone who has had an interesting life compared to a perfect life.
What are some of your favorites? Music – Hands down, the Foo Fighters.
Documentary – Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters. Film – Sleepless in Seattle. Book –
A Girl Names Zippy. Food – a really, really good cheeseburger.
Who is your favorite photographer?
I can not commit to just one as there are so many amazing photographers who move me. However, a short list includes Jill Greenberg, Gregory Crewdson, Mary Ellen Mathews (of Saturday Night Live), Linda McCartney, Gary Winogrand, Oli Sansom and Marshal Gray Photography.
What would be your dream photography experience?
I love shooting portraits of people and I would not change that, but I will add that it has been a dream of mine to be a music photographer. I have been inspired by the behind-the-scenes images and history of some of my favorite bands like the Beatles. I do have a bit of experience working closely with a few southern Oregon musicians including The Evening Shades…that has been a blast.
What turns you on creatively? What turns you off?
What turns me on creatively is when my clients trust me to do my thing. I flourish in that environment. What turns me off are arrogant and rude people.
If you could take a portrait of one person in the entire world, who would it be and why?
Oh, this is hard. Really, just one person? Right now I am going to say Angelina Jolie for her amazing range of emotion, bone structure and statuesque physique. She is like the human version of the Eiffel Tower.
What advice would you give potential clients when choosing a photographer?
Oh, I feel this passionately and I have said this to many clients…make sure you like your photographer and their work. Photography is an intimate experience and mutual trust and respect will help make your experience all that much better. Look at their work to ensure their style fits your style. I have heard stories where people were not happy with their photographer because their expectations were not in alignment with their photographer. Communication is key.
What kind of photography do you do and what is your style?
I shoot boudoir, portraits, weddings and engagement photos. I think my style is artistic. I’m definitely not a conventional or conservative photographer, but I am not super crazy either. My work has a nice blend of creativity and reality, mixed with a little edge and grit. I want my clients to look like themselves but even more so. I want them to play and have fun and to challenge themselves a bit.
What are your favorite lenses to use and why?
I primarily shoot with a 35mm lens because I love the photojournalist vibe. My other go to lens is a 50mm for the intimate look it gives my images. I recently got a 24mm lens that I love but I do not use it enough. You know, I think I will use it this weekend.
How can we find you?
website – http://www.rebellouisephoto.com
blog – http://www.rebellouiseblog.com
facebook – Rebel Louise Photography
Instagram – Rebel_Louise_Photography
studio – 111 SW H Street, Grants Pass, Oregon