JPG Member Interview: Julie Stiefel
Posted by David Ozanich — 3 Feb 2011
This week we're talking to JPG Member Julie Stiefel. She was kind enough to answer a few of our questions.
How did you get interested in photography?
My interest in photography began in my teen years. At the time a good friend had a darkroom where we would spend hours mixing chemicals, fiddling with exposures, and printing loads of 35mm black and white prints. Color processing was also a part of our darkroom experience, but at the time B & W offered more chances for experimentation.
Where do you live? Does that influence your subject matter?
The rural landscape of west-central New Jersey (yes, RURAL, in NJ!) offers an intriguing variety of subject matter! We have it all - farms and farm animals, wild critters, decay, nature, and ready access to NYC and everything in between. Sometimes a walk down the hill to our creek, a walk up the mountain we live on, or simply a quick shot out the front windows allows for some terrific photo ops!
How do you choose your subject matter - much of your work seems concerned with
Yes, the preponderance of my work is concerned with inanimate objects. Living in the NJ "sticks" for 30 years and the sparse population kind of forces the direction of my work. My home responsibilities also contribute to the scope of my work, elderly live-in parents take a lot of time/care.
Humor plays a very important role in my photographic work. Life is often fraught with problems/pain. I try to share my abundant humor with those around me and photography is one way to do that.
Also, the simple - and unsurpassed - beauty of God's artwork in nature draws me in. Sometimes I will hammer away at (read as: beat to death) trying to portray the depth of beauty that only the naked eye can see. Impossible, of course, but I strive...
Many of your photoshave a "vintage" (for lack of a better word) feel to them. What
cameras, or techniques, do you use to achieve that?
Ah, the sheer fun of "vintage" work! I absolutely LOVE the textures, noise, colors, and sometimes really odd results achieved in this area!
For my ttv shots I use an Argus twin lens camera to focus through and a CANON S5IS to actually take the photo through the focusing tube. I find that this dinosaur of a point-and-shoot is perfect for this purpose.
As for my other "vintage" images, I use a CANON EOS Rebel XTI with one of three lens - a CANON 75 - 300mm zoom, a CANON 28 - 135mm IS zoom, or a CANON 50mm 1.8 prime. Occasionally my handy CANON PowerShot SX130IS is pressed into service.
I use a variety of editing software with PhotoShop being my primary tool, though I use a handful of online editing programs. I love to experiment with what is a constantly changing and improving plethora of techniques.
Do any other photographers or artists influence your work?
The first and foremost influence in my work is the Master Artist, God. Most of what I have learned over the four years as a JPG member has come from the hundreds of talented photographers who share their work here on JPG. Techniques and ideas jump out at me and I simply run with them.
As often as he is used as an influential artist, I LOVE the work of Ansel Adams. He portrays nature as close to "naked eye" beauty as any I have seen.