Art Feature: The Light

Posted by on May 31, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Sabrina Grimes

The Light by Sabrina Grimes

Sabrina is a photographer, writer, and filmmaker who is currently attending the FSU College of Motion Picture Arts. She aspires to enter the film industry as a cinematographer after graduating.

Question 1: Your work does a great job of capturing powerful moments and fusing them with life. You mention on your website that you strive to “tell a story through visuals alone.” How does the idea of story factor into your photography? What helps you accomplish this?
Story has been an important part of my art for a few years now, especially since I am currently working on my Bachelor’s degree in Film Production at the Florida State College of Motion Picture Arts, where story is the heart of our studies.

I’ve taken a lot of cues from movies in regards to how I approach storytelling in my photographs. In movies, three things always defined the story for me: the character, the circumstance, and the theme. In my photography, I then tried to convey a unique character (usually through makeup/wardrobe) in an extraordinary or surreal circumstance (aided by the production design and setting), which together have the ability to display an underlying theme. This theme then gives me the power to convey whatever message I feel my audience needs to hear at the time. While this process is something I try to maintain in all of my work, I am always learning and growing, hopefully in order to become a better storyteller and convey more complex messages.

Q2: For me, “The Light” illustrates a powerful balance between black and white, colored in by rich textures.  What inspired this piece? Would you like to share what it means to you?

To be honest, this photograph was an improvisation. My friend (who is a model) and I were wandering around this old schoolhouse building turned museum when we came across this hallway with a brilliant window at the end. We were both taken aback by the beauty of such an ordinary and forgotten place. I happened to have my camera on me at the time and snapped a picture of my model basking in the light, which ended up becoming “The Light.” So for me, this photo has always been a memory of the light, and the treasures that can be found in the darkest and most unexpected places.

Q3: What’s most important to you when composing a photograph? What aspects of photography do you find most enthralling?

The two most important things about composing a photograph, in my experience, have been lighting and emotion in a model. Lighting is necessary to expose an image, obviously, but an artist’s lighting has the ability to establish a mood and even motion in a photograph. Since I do mainly portrait and editorial photography, I almost always have a model in every frame. The model is the figure that my audience will relate to emotionally, so it is important that he or she is conveying the emotion I want the finished photograph to inspire in my audience.  However, I will forever be amazed by the power of fate and luck in the world of photography, because sometimes the pieces just fall into place and create gorgeous images that I could have never lit or directed myself.

Q4: How has your work evolved over time? What have been the most challenging obstacles to overcome as you’ve grown as an artist?

When I first started doing “photography,” (I use the term loosely because my work was closer to graphic design,) I was extremely naïve and neglected making intelligent composition choices in my work. When I began working with my primary model (Blake Stafford, who also appears in “The Light,”) I learned what it was like to have a sounding board and to workshop my ideas. Collaborating with Blake and other artists really helped force me to plan out my compositions and make decisions about what I wanted my finished photographs to mean to people. Eventually I began fabricating my own props and costumes, which allowed me to create more intricate and unique characters. It was in this fabrication that the most logistical challenges arose for me because it was a new skill set that I had to learn and become good enough at that most costumes would sell on camera. However, finding my voice as an artist was the longest and most arduous journey, one that I have not even finished yet. Then again, I hope to never stop growing as an artist, so it will be a never-ending journey.

Q5: Do you have any tricks or rituals for finding inspiration or for embracing the creative process?

My inspiration for screenplays or photography sessions usually comes in a flash just while I’m doing random things. A lot of times an idea will begin to plant in my mind during long car rides or while I’m in the shower. When that happens, I try to jot down the idea or make a voice memo as soon as I can, so that I can develop the idea further when I have time. If I have time, I usually write a short story around the idea to start to flesh it out further. My inspirations, however, generally come from a single theme that I want to explore on screen or in a photograph.

Q6: Are you currently working on any projects that you’d like to share with our readers?

Because I’m in school, I’ve had to put my photography on the side burner in order to pursue my dreams as a filmmaker. I’m currently working on editing a documentary on the hardcore music scene that I shot this Spring. I’m also in the development phase for a short film that I will be directing in Spring of 2016.

Q7:  If you could turn the world on to one artist, who would it be?

Esao Andrews is an oil painter that was a huge influence to me during my fledgling years as an artist. He has an extraordinary eye for detail and creates unbelievable and bizarre scenes that are simultaneously beautiful and unsettling.

Q8: What’s the best book, poem, short story, or other literature you’ve read recently?

I just reread Ray Bradbury’s short story “Kaleidoscope” for what must be the tenth time. It is a beautiful story (as is all of Bradbury’s literature) and has a real power to influence it’s readers into appreciating their own lives and really living in the present.

Q9: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’d just like to encourage all of your young readers to hold strong to their dreams. So many people think that they have to work hard so that they can follow their dreams. But I have learned that if you follow your dreams first, you’ll never have to really “work” a day in your life.

Linsey Jayne is a wave-headed poet with a penchant for jazz who received her MFA in creative writing at Fairfield University. Her writing has been published in such publications as The Standard-Times, The Dartmouth-Westport Chronicle, and exactly.what. She has served as the chief poetry editor for Mason’s Road, as well as the student editor for the Bryant Literary Review and the opinion section editor of The Archway. Linsey is currently at work on her first collection of poetry, entitled Idle Jive.

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