How did you get started photography?
I came to photography late in life, actually photography chose me. My father-in-law bought me a “real” camera after seeing the kinds of photos I was making using a disposable point and shoot, said he saw something in my pictures he liked. That was Christmas of 1992, and the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in my life. Doug and I moved to Portland the following summer and I threw myself into photography. Photography has given me the power to transport my ideas out of my head and heart and into the world. Photography changed my life. Twenty-five years ago I never could have imagined I would be an artist and also teaching high school black and white darkroom, both of which I love wholeheartedly.
Which photographers and other artists’ work do you admire?
The list of artists I admire is long, from Anna Atkins to Frederick Sommer, Joseph Cornell, Ruth Thorne Thompson, Fox Talbot, Atget, Kertesz, and Man Ray to name a few.
Would you share with us an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time?
I love the hauntingly beautiful image, “Neuilly-Solange” 1929 by Jacques Henri Lartigue.
Please tell us about your process.
I feel very fortunate my studio is in my home, I have a shooting space, wet darkroom, my shop where my work table is, and my computer area. One stop shopping so to speak. My shop is filled with toys, books and papers, boxes and tins, tiles and dominoes and the walls are plastered with photographs. I find inspiration all around me. I print the images and then bring them to my table to begin the figuring out part, the puzzle element, working with image and form and then finding what the underneath layer will be. Then I move on to a template, cutting, assembling, glue, paint, varnish, and also there is an element of fire to my work, I love my torch. Fire is illuminating and cleansing.
What is the perfect day for you?
A perfect day for me is a day where I can stay home all day and work in my studio. No computer work, no writing, no emails, no interruptions, just making art.
What challenges do you face as an artist?
Time deprivation is my biggest challenge.
If you spend a day with another photographer living or passed who would it be?
Julia Margaret Cameron, I would love to work with her in her greenhouse studio.
How do you overcome a creative block?
The most important thing is to keep working.
How does your art affect the way you see the world?
I think being an artist gives you a different perspective. I am not a linear thinker. People ask me all the time, how did you think of that? It is just the way I see things. My mother says she has no idea where I got it! I also feel the world affects my art; it is the situations in life that fuel my work. I feel fortunate to have art as an outlet, so I don’t explode!
What do you hope the viewer takes from your images?
My hope for the work is to evoke memory and familiarity for the viewer. I try to demonstrate the strong voice of the feminine with my choices of materials and forms. The approach has taken on many shapes and sizes, but the message remains the same. My work speaks to family, history, love, and loss; these are all very personal issues, yet ones that I feel could be meaningful to others.
Where can we see your work, and would you like to share any upcoming projects?
It has been a very busy fall and winter for me, exhibitions in Seattle, Miami, New Orleans, North Carolina, Phoenix, Shanghai and Barcelona!
I am thrilled to announce I will be showing my cyanotype work at the Wichita Art Museum in Wichita, Kansas. “Alchemists” opens February 7, 2015 and runs through May 31, 2015. I will be giving an artist talk on February 26th. I have the pleasure of showing with four contemporary alternative process photographers, David Emmit Adams, Jody Ake, Eric Mertens, and Ethan Turpin.
I am represented by G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle, Washington, Panopticon Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts, Wall Space Gallery in Santa Barbara, California, and the Dina Mitrani Gallery in Miami, Florida.
Thank you Heidi for sharing your work and words with us.
To learn more about the work of Heidi Kirkpatrick please visit her site at,
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