Evy Huppert is one of the photographers whose work was selected in the 2019 Rfotofolio Call. We are pleased to share her work here on Rfotofolio.
“Beautiful and soulful imagery. Elegantly composed studies in light and shadow containing spiritual, poetic content. Successful use of the square format with superb highlight and shadow detail.” Brian Taylor
Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
I am based in northern New England, in a region on the borderlands of Vermont and New Hampshire called the Upper Connecticut River Valley. I currently reside in Vermont and work at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. While I first fell in love with photography as a young child, and have never lost that early sense of delight and excitement, I only began a serious study and devotion to photography as art about ten years ago, and especially over the past five years as I have returned to working frequently with analog cameras and film.
Although I sometimes regret the lack of a career in photography or another artistic practice, I feel very fortunate now, much later in life, to be able to devote myself to the practice of this still delightful, intriguing, and compelling art form.
Where did you get your photographic training?
I am mostly self-educated but in my college years I learned darkroom processing from the campus photographer, and subsequently took some very valuable workshops at the San Francisco Art Institute. Much more recently I have gained knowledge and insight through workshops at Maine Media Workshops, College, the Griffin Museum of Photography, Vision Quest Workshops, and a mentorship with Douglas Beasley, among others.
Why do you create?
I create because I feel the desire to and because it refreshes me. I create to learn and process what I see and feel and imagine and believe. It makes me more alive. It reminds me of the holiness of life. It helps me understand suffering. It connects me to the world. It’s how I process life most fully. Without it in some form or another, I am not myself.
Who has had an influence on your creative process?
My workshop leaders, including John Isaac, Alison Shaw, Joyce Tenneson, Doug Beasley, Cig Harvey, among others. The Life Magazine photographers of the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s whose magazine work was piled in my childhood home. My father and grandfather who were photographing over 100 years ago. My family and my fellow photographers whom I have met while traveling, and my tribe gathered through Pigs Fly Retreats with Anne Berry and Lori Vrba. Dorothea Lange, Sally Mann, Keith Carter, the book Art and Fear by Ted Orland and David Bayles, and so many more; and all the musicians who wrote or played the music that has inspired, challenged and comforted me as I work.
Please tell us about an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time.
The first photography book I purchased when young was The Family of Man, when it was originally published. The book/exhibition’s final photograph, “The Walk to Paradise Garden,” by W. Eugene Smith, was an early favorite and has stayed with me over a very long time. It is a lovely, and now iconic, image of his two small children walking hand in hand in a wooded garden. But it was the first photograph Smith made following his combat photography and a long period of recovery from terrible war injuries. When he eventually picked up a camera again, he made this picture of hope for the world and for the reconciliation of people. That seems so appropriate today.
What image of yours would you say taught you an important lesson?
When I first switched from color digital work to black and white film a few years ago, I was on a Vision Quest travel workshop in Hawai’I, on the Big Island. It had been thirty years since I had worked in black and white and I had planned to make some film work along with mostly color digital, but after the first day I felt the need to commit to film. It felt very risky and counterintuitive to make this move on a dream trip to a place overflowing with gorgeous color, and I knew I might come back very disappointed with my choice. But I stuck with it and began for the first time to try use my camera to explore a metaphor, in this case the paradox of the human love for exploration and danger against the deep desire for sanctuary on a volcanic island in the middle of the largest ocean on earth. This image I made of sanctuary from that journey was my first photograph selected for a fine art magazine, SHOTS, edited by Russell Joslin, and it taught me to believe in my instincts, especially when I’m afraid.
What makes a good day for you creatively speaking?
A good creative day is one of being immersed in making new work that excites me and takes me far outside my comfort zone, especially when I am collaborating with others.
Please tell us about the work you submitted for the Rfotofolio Call.
I made this work, in collaboration with other artists, on Ossabaw Island, one of the Georgia Sea Islands, which is now protected by the State of Georgia and the Ossabaw Island Foundation, and is no longer inhabited. The images and characters come from the dreams and memories the land drew out from my personal mythology. Timeless, but inhabited for millennia, the islands carry a spiritual presence of deep wildness palpable in the light and shadows; the ancient alligators and birds, the feral pigs and donkeys, and the artifacts of their existence lying everywhere.
In my work I tried to honor the wildness in different ways. I tried also to imagine what joys and troubles the early inhabitants, especially the enslaved people on the cotton plantations, might have experienced and I imagined their dreams of fleeing and their hopes for safety. I wondered what they did to revive or heal themselves and what gave them joy. I wondered if their spirits still inhabit the land and if those spirits still hover over their dwellings. I felt their presence. My photographs explore the emotions and experiences that the land and the light evoked: vulnerability, captivity, lost-ness, sanctuary, and wildness set free.
If you could spend a day with any other photographer or artist living or passed who would it be?
There are so many, but one photographer I would love to spend a day with is Dorothea Lange. I particularly admire her for her courage and for being able to connect so deeply with people in impossibly difficult circumstances. And for showing this with so much beauty and strength that the world could not turn away.
How important is the photographic community to you?
The photographic community as I have encountered it is a source of friendship, joy, inspiration, help, encouragement, deep learning, and truth telling; and I cannot imagine life without them all.
What equipment have you found essential in the making of your work?
My usual approach to equipment is rather minimalist. I work with one old film camera, and two old lenses of the best quality I can afford. Plus a light meter and plenty of film! I sometimes also work with a used mirrorless digital camera and two old manual lenses of the best quality I can find.
Is there something in photography that you would like to try in the future?
I would like to try carbon transfer, leaf printing, tri-color gum, and cyanotype as well as continuing to learn photopolymer gravure printmaking. I also want to explore book arts in connection with some travel photographs I made many years ago.
Thank you Evy.
To learn more about the work of Evy Huppert please visit her sight at Evy Huppert.
To learn more just click on Rfotofolio Call.