During our first call for submissions we had the pleasure of meeting Angie McMonigal. We are happy to share her work here.
Would you please tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in a small, rural town in central Wisconsin but since 2000 have spent most of my time living in Chicago. It was a wonderful way to grow up but I have always felt so much more comfortable in large cities there’s just something about the energy of a large city that is so appealing.
My college degree was in Medical Technology quite far from anything artistic, but photography was always something I had an interest in but wasn’t able to pursue until a bit later.
I am a wife and mother of two small children, my daughter is 5 and my son is 2, so finding time to pursue photograph to the extent I’d like to.
How did you get started photography?
In high school I had always wanted to take the photography class my school offered but instilled in me that I needed to pursue an education and career in something more practical…something I was sure to get a job in after college. So instead of taking the more interesting photography elective I’m sure I ended up in a physics or an advanced chemistry class..same for my college courses. The course schedule for my college degree was pretty rigorous with little room for elective courses, and the cost to buy a camera while putting myself through college just wasn’t an option at the time. But I do remember my roommate taking photography and so wishing I was the one taking that class!
However, after college, in 2001, my boyfriend, now my husband, bought me my first SLR! Early on I mainly shot vacation photos and occasionally around much about photography as I could through magazines, books and simply trial and error. I took a few courses at the Chicago Photography Center and was shooting, developing and printing all my images in the darkroom. During that time. also had my first group show there in 2005. It was fun and I knew this is what I really wanted to be doing.
In 2006, I converted to digital and the new learning curve, along with my first pregnancy and a move to Milwaukee, slowed things down a bit. I had my first child, and many of my friends were having children, so naturally I started doing more portrait work. With that fine art photography took a little detour for 5-6 years and I almost exclusively shot family and children’s portraiture. In 2011, we moved back to Chicago ! I took this opportunity to shift my focus back to fine art photography which is what I’m most passionate about. In the last year and spent my time developing my style and discovering what interests me most in photography.
What is it about architectural photography that inspires you?
Having grown up in a much different environment than my current life style, I still find myself in complete awe of the city its skyscrapers and unique architecture. I think that aspect helps me to see the city and the urban landscape with a fresh perspective, and I enjoy finding interesting vantage points to shoot the broader landscape.
However, much of my work focuses on the lines and patterns within th<e architecture. I love seeing how a building changes form depending on where I’m standing or by isolating patterns and lines within its design. Most of all I love seeing these buildings in a new way and hope to help the viewer see things in a new way as well.
Which photographers work do admire?
I recently discovered Martin Stavars’ work and I’m a huge fan. His series “Megalopolis” is amazing but all of his work is very tied together in style whether it’s the urban landscape or natural landscape. I love how he captures the world’s urban landscapes at a moment in time, which I feel is important given how fast our cities change. The mood of his images is purposeful and consistent.
Joel Tjintjelaar is a phenomenal photographer of architecture. I love the dark, moodiness of his images, the way he processes his work is such an art. Every image of his is a true inspiration and pushes me to keep shooting what I love.
Would you tell us about your workspace?
In terms of the photography I do, that is all on location work. My workspace dedicated to editing and processing is not the most ideal at the time and consists of a small, mostly dedicated space in the kitchen.Given that I have two small children they need much of my attention throughout the day,I need my computer and equipment to be easily accessible so I’m able to grab a moment of work whenever I can. This space is centrally located to all my kids’ favorite places to play.One day maybe I’ll have a room of my own to escape to for more concentrated work.
How does your art affect the way you see the world?
Photographers are clearly very visual people who have a great understanding of light. I know that whether I’m out with my camera or not I’m always seeing the light and how it’s affecting the environment, noticing shadows, seeing the way light is falling on buildings, water, trees, anything really and the details this light reveals or hides. I’m always noticing patterns or ways in which to see a scene within the camera frame, even without a camera to my eye. When I watch movies I always notice the angles and ways in which the director utilizes light. I’m constantly seeing still frames within a film that would make a great photograph.<
When working on your personal work would you please share your editing process?
I typically do my initial processing in LR3 where I do simple adjustments, WB, exposure, contrast, clarity and noise reduction if necessary. Then I process most images to some degree in CS6. I don’t do a huge amount of post-processing but I think cleaning them up and enhancing them with basic adjustments gives them a more polished presence.
Is there another type of photography or subject matter you would like tackle?
Most of my interest lies in urban photography the urban landscape and architecture. But I do enjoy landscape photography, particularly minimalistic landscapes. I think if I lived in a more rural environment I’d spend much more time creating this type of photography.I also find street photography fascinating but highly intimidating. I so admire photographers that excel at this.
Thank you Angie for sharing your work and your time. To learn more about the work of Angie McMonigal please visit her site at, Angie McMonigal.
4 thoughts on “Structure, Space and Light, the Photography of Angie McMonigal”