: What are you curious about?
: Mostly about how things relate to each other - photographer to subject,
familiar subjects vs. new subjects, subjects to light, light to shadow, shadow to
texture, etc. I always seem to be drawn to dueling elements.
: Describe your art and describe your process.
: I make images from color and light and people, mostly. My process has
changed so much over time, but honestly now I am working much the same as
I did when I first started taking pictures at 12 years old.
For a long time I struggled to have a structured process with a goal - i.e. an end
user, a magazine or a show- before I started shooting, like an assignment
photographer, and I found that what I really love most is discovering a subject
organically. The more scripted the goal, the less I enjoy it and the more I feel
like a trained monkey.
Now I photograph anything I see that I am interested in and I take a lot of
pictures. I try not to think about what the end result of the photograph will be,
but just be very much in the experience of seeing at the time (although I am
not always so good at that). I am an editor by trade so a lot of my process
comes in seeing the images later. I often love the new relationships that come
from putting different images next to each other.
: What inspires you about Brooklyn?
: It’s a cliché, but Brooklyn is the whole world in one borough. Everything and
everyone is so randomly crammed together. Also the light here between 4 -7
pm depending on the time of year is the best.
: Do you have a fantasy alter life?
: I used to spend a lot of time in my twenties banging my head against a wall
because the fantasy life I imagined for myself wasn’t working out the way I
wanted it to. Since then I have been through a lot. I had twins, a healthy boy
and a very sick little girl who died after 18 months. It was the hardest 18
months of my life but one thing I really learned is that your life and work can
be so magical and wonderful if you let go of fantasies and live in the life you
: Name something you love, and why.
: It’s an obvious answer, but my husband Sam. We met at the Glasgow School
of Art when I was 20. You know how they say “it takes a village to raise a
child”? Well, it’s sort of the same with artists, especially in the US where art is
seen as a frivolous hobby, unless you are at the top end in which it’s seen as a
tradable commodity. There is a real lack of understanding of why you would
spend so much time and energy on something that can’t be instantly
monetized. You really have to have a supportive partner if you are going to
devote your time to something that you need for your soul regardless of
: How did you get into photography?
: I grew up in Manhattan. A family friend who was an avid amateur
photographer gave me an old Zeiss 35mm when I was 12 and I was hooked. I
shot constantly throughout junior high and high school and then went to Rhode Island School of Design
for photography and to the Glasgow School of Art.
: Does your work reflect your pleasure or pain?
: I hope both in every image because there is always a little bit of both in every
subject. If you capture just the pleasure it looks like advertising. If you
capture just the pain it looks clinical.
: What is your dream project?
: Send me any place new with an unlimited budget and no specific goal other
than to make a book and a website of images. I would love to go to Wyoming,
Montana. I also always wanted to do a book of portraits of people who all
think they are the messiah/Jesus/etc but working with schizophrenics involves
lots of red tape.
: We spotted a photo of you and our other artist, Cecelia together as children. Can we show it and can you describe it?
: Ha Ha! That photo is of us when we are 8 years old! We met in the third grade
when she moved from North Carolina to New York and we clicked instantly. In
a lot of ways we are very different people but we both lived in our own heads
perhaps more than other kids our age. We spent a lot of time as kids making
up elaborate fantasy worlds and drawing and making stuff.
When we were teenagers she took a darkroom class at the old ICP on the
upper east side and I used to sneak in using her ID. She taught me everything
she learned in her class and then I would go in and try to develop and print.
Also, I was in love with Madonna, hence the neon hair ties.
Two of the Fiercely Curious artists, Cecelia & Micaela circa 1984
: Tell us about your accident with a horse driven carriage in the Amish Country.
: Sam and I were in Pennsylvania camping. We were staying in a campground
right next to a newly fertilized field which was unbearably rancid so we went
for a drive. On the way back we were stopped at a T junction when a teenage
girl in a horse and buggy careened right into our car. She was dragged over
the windshield and the buggy ripped the bumper right off our car. I jumped
out and chased after the girl who was still holding on to the reigns and being
dragged through the weeds. She finally let go and got up and she was all
scraped up but otherwise OK. The horse and buggy kept going down the
road. I felt a little like Dorothy in Munchkin Land. Suddenly all these little
Amish kids appeared from the shrubbery. An Amish ambulance appeared
(which is just a normal ambulance, FYI) The girls mom and dad came to give
us their insurance (yes, they have auto insurance). It was strangely like any
other teenager getting into an accident with their parents’ vehicle. They
couldn’t believe that we weren’t angry about the car. I had been so relieved
that the girl wasn’t seriously injured I really hadn’t thought about the car! We
drove home with the bumper strapped to the top of the car. The woman at
Geico said it was the best accident story she had ever heard.
: We hear you like to make Halloween costumes- what’s your favorite
: I have tortured the dog with many an elaborate costume. Oscar the Grouch.
Queen Elizabeth. Carol Burnett as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind,
complete with curtain rod. But, I think probably the cleverest was when my
son Roan was about 16 months old and I dressed him in all white and then
gave him a bowl of beets to eat before we went trick or treating. It was so
freaky. He looked like a little tiny Hannibal Lecter. I even made a video of him
inspired by “Sleep No More”.
: What’s your greatest skill that no one knows about?
: Singing - mostly in the shower.
: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
: Doing stuff and having a life are not the same thing - from my mom.
: How many cameras do you own and what do you use them for?
: I am very much not a “techie” photographer. I still make horribly stupid
mistakes while shooting because I am not paying attention to my camera. I
will use whatever camera I have at hand - my iPhone, for example. I used to
shoot with a Pentax 6x7 but when digital photography came out I never
looked back at film. I shoot portraits with my 5D, but since having kids I rarely
have 2 free hands to shoot with so I mostly grabbed my Canon D10. I just
bought a Fujifilm X20 and I love the images but to be honest I’m having a hard
time getting used to using both hands again! I think the less stuff between me
and the subject the better.
When I used to shoot events there was always some guy who would want to
talk shop with me - what lens was I using? Did I like the new Canon
XFTXCKY6000? Blah blah. But they never talked about, say, approaching a
complete stranger on the street and asking to take their picture. For me that
is the best. It feels like you are asking someone out on a date every time. You
are a little crushed if they say no, but a little in love if they say yes. Or
shooting something that a thousand people have shot before but you find a
way to see it in a new and personal way. For me it’s all about those
experiences and not the equipment.
: What’s the most incredible place you’ve visited outside of the U.S.?
: I can’t pick - The place I want to revisit most is Japan. The most intense were
Liberia and Vietnam. The most beautiful, though part of the US, is Alaska.
Probably my favorite place on earth is Sutherland on the North Coast of
: What’s your favorite bar in Brooklyn?
: My back yard in front of the fire.