So excited to start something new today! I’ve been dreaming of featuring amazing photographers on my blog in an interview on the topics of artistry, creativity, and finding ones personal style!
Please welcome Maryanne Gobble! Maryanne is our very first feature and one of my favorite photographers! Her work leaves me breathless and in wonderment. I’m sure you’ll have a similar experience!
True Artist: Maryanne Gobble
*all images courtesy of Maryanne
The journey to finding ones own authentic style is as unique as the individual creative. The True Artist Series is a delightful glimpse into that personal process of discovery.
Maryanne! Thank you so much for being here! I am a huge fan of your work and have long been captivated by your strong sense of communication through your images! You have a way of seeing things far differently than the way I do, which makes each scene impressively intriguing!
What inspires you as a photographer and where do you gather your ideas?
MG: Ideas sprout from all sorts of things. Religion, science, history, biographies, paintings, ect… I love to learn. Current words I am pondering are journey, womb, organic, raw, and motion.
I know that you have a particular love of books and have spent significant time studying the work of other master photographers. What role has this study played in your own creative journey? How do you pick who to study and do you choose only artists whose work is similar to your own or those who are very different?
MG: Many of the photographers I research are no longer living. It really puts things in perspective when you can study another’s journey from start to finish. Imogen Cunningham has made a huge impression on me. I love how she adapted to seasons in life. As a newlywed she photographed her husband nude on Mt. Rainier which was groundbreaking in the early 1900s! When her boys were still at home she photographed flowers in her back yard. Later she returned to people as her subjects. In her nineties she did a series of portraits, all folks over the age of ninety. Her images are not always the best I have seen, but I walk away with the feeling she led a full and generous life.
I have noticed that several of your personal images are a product of getting out and exploring…whether it be in the wilderness, an abandoned town or building, or early (early) morning visits to beautiful natural locations. How does this type of exploration influence you as a photographer and keep your creativity fresh? Do you go on these outings already having images in mind or create according to how things naturally unfold?
MG: I love to discover and explore. Everything in nature inspires me. A few days ago I was hopping around some ocean cliffs with my husband and spotted a group of black crows. I claimed I would love to catch one to have his shiny black feathers. Two steps later I found a black feather on the rocks. I’m positive it will inspire a photo. I took it home along with a lady bug.
Many of my outings have a specific purpose in mind. Other times the camera tags along on family adventures. I try to keep in mind conditions that will be present. If it’s cloud cover we may go to the forest, morning yields the bluest Pacific Ocean, winter gives up the rockiest beaches, low tide reveals starfish, and there is always that afternoon wind.
MG: My youngest is freckles and innocence. Playful tricks still work to get him in my viewfinder. My oldest is the most incredible human being. He’s had so much depth from the time he was an infant. I had stopped photographing him as much until recently. He has developed a lot of pride in my work all the sudden and participates more often. He feels he is a part of a project.
My husband unleashes my creativity! I was really in a rut until we were up late one night talking. I mentioned a conceptual photo idea I had. His ears instantly perked up and he asked if I had more ideas. I spent a good portion of the evening pouring my heart out. Up until then I had been photographing what I thought people expected of me. He asks me really hard questions, challenges my motives, and makes himself vulnerable continually. I’ve been very blessed.
MG: We just spent 5 years in East Texas. 4 of those years were spent living on the campus of a technical school. Lets just say there wasn’t much of an art crowd or anyone else I could relate to. More and more I turned the camera on myself. At first I felt restricted with the tripod, but soon realized the creative control self portraiture grants.
A tripod is a must along with a wireless remote switch. I set my switch to a 2 second delay which gives me time to adjust after I press the button. Everything else is set on manual settings. It’s still a bit awkward but I have learned so much in the process.
I personally find it increasingly challenging when I immerse myself in the work of other photographers blogs to not compare myself or be tempted to follow industry trends. What do you do to stay confident in your own personal style and not be swayed by the idea that we need to photograph a certain way to be successful? What role do other photographer peers play in your work, if at all?
MG: Yes, I know that feeling! We all have different life experiences. It’s natural we all see through the lens a bit differently. When I started embracing that, the tables really turned. I think success is what happens when you follow your heart in spite of where the crowd is going.
Becky Earl Photography is a prime example of this. I’ve followed her blog when she sold all her digital gear and lighting equipment for a film camera. Her pictures were fantastic. But there was a distinct change in her style when she started following her heart and loading up on film. To me that was defying trends, being fearless, and proceeding successfully. It really made an impression on me.
How does one discover their own authentic style? Was this a process for you? What has helped the most in that journey? What advice would you give for other creatives who are still trying to figure out what their personal style really is?
MG: I’ve done large amounts of personal work this past year. This gave me the freedom to create images I wanted to without catering to a client. There was so much opportunity to experiment. I love making images for others but I just had to pull back in order to regain my footing. I learned to say no to things that were sucking up my time or obligations others placed on me. I’m giving myself room to grow and evolve. Don’t name your style too quickly or you’ll have boxed yourself in again.
I cannot tell you how much fear I have been learning to daily overcome. My new year’s goal in 2011 was to be braver. I’ve told myself I’m going to bleed for it. Wake up everyday and work towards it. I want to remember life is very short and extremely beautiful. Photography helps work out my gratitude and wonder towards God.
—Thank you Maryanne for your words of wisdom and sharing your art and heart with us today! You can follow Maryanne’s work on her fabulous BLOG.