This week, I am thrilled to welcome photographer, Robbie Kaye.
As a classically trained pianist, Robbie comes to photography looking for visual melodies. Just as music can take you on a journey, make you laugh and cry and touch the deepest part of your soul so can a photograph. She is a storyteller and looks for visual narratives that define a place in time. She is also drawn to finding beauty in unexpected places, hoping to intrigue, inspire, and evoke a reaction from the viewer.
Q & A
From where do you draw inspiration?
I draw my inspiration from unassuming beauty… either close up and personal or far away and usually unnoticable. Sometimes, the obvious catches my eye but I like to capture a subject that I would otherwise walk right by. I specifically love to photograph a subject that lends itself to the narrative… that’s why I think I was so drawn to taking photos for Beauty and Wisdom. The women’s faces and hands have so many stories embedded in them and if I can convey at least a few of those, it would be a privilege.
What is the hardest thing about your creative process?
I would have to say that it is me getting over my shyness about taking the photograph of a person. It’s so much easier to take photographs of landscape or objects… but to take a photograph of a person can be intimidating to me and I get a little nervous… wanting to create something honest and beautiful from it… with integrity. For Beauty and Wisdom, it is being in an environment that makes me think of my own aging process… and question what that path looks like. Sometimes, it is difficult to be objective about the images I create… which ones to use and not to use.
Do you work every day, or only when inspiration/opportunity strike?
I feel like my eyes are working everyday as a photographer, whether I have my camera or not. Noticing light and texture and character… and the not so obvious subject that I would love to document. I go for walks in the morning and listen to inspiration audio on my phone and everyday, I find something on my walk that I take a photo of, whether it’s a flower or a house… anything that catches my eye enough. I think it’s part of honing my skills, even if I never use what I photograph… it helps me with composition.
How do you feel about the current art market/art climate?
I try not to get too caught up in the overall conversatoins about the market. I believe that there’s always a market for our work in one way or another and that as individuals, we can create that market… somehow. I don’t want to use what other people think of the “art climate” as an excuse not to succeed or even try…If I believe in my work than I trust that sooner or later it will find a home in the market it is best represented in.
If you could change one thing about the art world today, what would it be?
I think it would be great to create opportunities in the art world for our elders who create art as well as giving opportunities to those who cannot afford to explore their creativity for whatever reason… creating anything, is a very healing process and I think taking it out of schools is a big mistake.
Also, like so many other things, like teachers, I would like to see the value of art being more financially appreciated. So much time and work goes into creating art…more than is realized. Art is a gift that can last forever.
Talk a little bit about your current project and why you decided to embark on it.
I decided to work on Beauty and Wisdom because it decided to work on me. I was approaching the age of 50 and I had no idea what the aging process was all about… and that I was documenting a generation of women that were overlooked and discarded simply because of their age. My desire of wanting to change the perception of aging and beauty in our culture grew and continues to grow as I learn about the amazing women I photograph. I had always feared getting older and didn’t want to… and I believe there are no mistakes… and here I am in the middle of facing my own fears about aging, learning that there is a beauty beyond compare, that exists with every year that I get to be here. I had to find the beauty myself, in order to make peace with the process. Coming from the world of music and performing, vanity, was a huge element..and I needed to unlearn some beliefs so that I could create ones that were so much more healthy… and of course, wise, like the women I photograph. Each one is a gift and a treasure of life and stories… and if I have even just a little bit to do with giving them their due visibility, then I feel purposeful. And hopefully, through my work, I can offer all of us women, an option to age in beauty and peace as well.
How does being a woman impact your work?
For Beauty and Wisdom, it makes it easier to take and present photographs of other women, since there is an inherent relatability even to men who saw their mothers or grandmothers in the “beauty parlor”. For my series, “Man In Nature” I think I will have a more difficult time getting it seen since it subliminally depicts aspects of a man’s body. There are plenty of nudes of women taken by men by not so many women are taking nudes “of” men. In my own experience, I have found the reaction to “Man in Nature” much more reluctant in general.
If you had the opportunity to address a group of young girls, what would you say to inspire them?
I would share my own experience of life… and let them know that 1. They are perfect the way they are right this very minute…2. That any dream they have they can manifest and 3. The best person ever to trust in this world, is themselves… believe…. believe…. believe….in your mind, heart and soul…believe.
To find out more about Robbie, check out the following links: