Rfotofolio is pleased to share the work of Carol Henry.
Please tell us a little about yourself?
I’m from the southwest corner of Ohio originally. I grew up on a large, beautiful property as an only child. It was a troubled childhood really, but I found freedom in the woods, creeks and animals. The seasons in particular captivated me. Spring’s flowering trees, lush summer grass and bullfrogs, autumn’s incredible falling colors and lacy winter tree scapes and pond ice. I moved to the Santa Monica Mountains and lived in Malibu for over 25 years. During that time I continued the cameraless printing on Cibachrome that I had started exploring while in college. 6 years ago I moved to Carmel, CA.
Where did you get your photographic training?
My first interest in photography came from seeing my dad’s Kodachrome slides, with vivid reds and blues. I went with him to a camera store in downtown Cincinnati in the 1960s when he bought a Nikon. He was a very technical guy and I think photography was one of the only ways I thought I could relate to him. I went on to Northern Michigan University’s excellent fine art photography program where I received a BFA in photography.
Why do you create?
The act of creating is simple joy. It is when I feel no pressure. I do it for myself to feel a free, a flying sensation that has no time constraints.
Who has had an influence on your creative process?
The answer is everyone I’ve met and no one I’ve met, depending on the day.
Please tell us about an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time.
Harry Callahan’s, Weed Against Sky,Detroit, is an image I saw in the 1970’s before I became serious about fine art photography. It’s simplicity and untitled sensuality floored me. It caused me to look at his other work, which reached my emotions and revealed so much soul. I hope to collect the Weed Against Sky, Detroit print someday. I think it would still move me greatly and I love owning original art.
What image of yours would you say taught you an important lesson?
A piece that comes to mind is Pravda. Since my work is primarily unique printing, this image signified a change from the botanical studies that I had been selling through galleries for about 10 years previous to making it. Most of those were intricate studies of single objects. They revealed form and the bright color characteristics inherent to the subject. But this was different. It became a multi layered composition in underwater tones that was very pleasing to me. I had found an unusual kelp specimen holding an array of raw oysters in a Russian vodka bar in NYC called, Pravda. I shook the salt from the 3’ strands and brought it back to my LA darkroom. My intention was to create a fluid visual with it as it was quite boring looking on its own. But as this 30 x 40” print it came alive.
What makes a good day for you creatively speaking?
Discovering new ways of seeing our world and revealing it, finding an audience. Visual research everywhere.
If you could spend a day with another photographer or artist living or passed who would it be?
My maternal great aunt Eva, who lived in a magical hand built house in Kentucky. It had a rich chestnut wood interior, filled with light and art. She inspired me with her creativity, imagination and great smile.
How important is the photographic community to you?
The first twenty years of my career I worked outside of a photographic community and really only saw other photographers at openings and events. Being in the darkroom is a rather solo endeavor and that seemed to be one of the things I liked about it. Since I’ve moved to Carmel, I’ve enjoyed building community especially through mentoring other women interested in photography, with a group I started called, FotoSága.
You have curated a number of shows would tell us about your curating experiences please.
The first exhibit I curated was for a neighbor who lost her home and studio in a ’07 Malibu wildfire. I had an exhibition space for my own work then in Westlake Village, CA. I had already been doing portfolio consultations by then and found many very good artists that were having trouble getting exposure. I started inviting them to show in my space. Then went on to develop something called Open Art Nights at a large commercial venue in Agoura, CA. That led to moving to Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Camarillo, CA where I promoted several other artists. It was there I met Rich Brimer. He and I moved to Carmel and opened Carmel Visual Arts where I have curated 14 photography exhibitions, including solo shows for Will Giles, Luther Gerlach, Tom Millea and other group shows. I curated an exhibition titled, She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not, 13 women photographers photographing men over the past 100 years. The exhibit opened at the Center for Photographic Art and also went to the Florida Museum of Photographic Art.
I am also currently the gallery director at Post Ranch in Big Sur, CA, where I’ve curated exhibitions of Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, Elana Kundel.
What equipment have you found essential in the making of your work?
Light is essential in making photography. There are many forms of experimental photo work that I like to indulge myself in. All I need is light.
Is there something in photography that you would like to try in the future?
I was gifted with many packs of expired photo paper after Rondal Partridge passed away. I want to give those some attention with carefree abandon!
What’s on the horizon?
So many things, I’d like to create an archive of my unique prints. I’ve been jurying quite a bit, doing portfolio reviews and mentoring. Creating an opportunity for female photographers through a dedicated exhibition space is a dream I’d like to make come true.
Also my work is on view at Post Ranch Mercantile through January 2nd 2019 and I will be opening a solo show at Artist Intersection in Gilbert, Arizona on January 26th, 2019.
Thank you Carol.
To learn more about the work of Carol Henry please visit her site at Carol Henry Studio.