Yolande Morin - Featured Artist for September 2009
Which artistic media do you prefer to work in and why?
I love photography. I did paint with oils way back but never really sustained the passion. Photography I have been doing since I was 9 years old… and still find joy in it, so that is why I continue.
With which past or contemporary artists or artworks do you, as an artist, feel a connection? What is it that draws you to them?
As a child, I used to spend hours looking at the book The Story of Man…. Many different artists took those amazing black and white photos and that book has stuck with me. I also am drawn to the Impressionist painters as well as Georgia O’Keefe. I have been told that some of my photography reminds people of O’Keefe.
What process or technique in art-making interests you?
When I take a photo, I seem to be in another world… for example, when photographing flowers, close up, I look at the bouquet through the lens, then move around and somehow I hear “click” in my head, so I take the picture. That process has no name except to listen to my instinct maybe. Then when the film gets developed, I see the result, often a pleasant surprise.
What technical challenges do you face in the process of making art?
The wind that moves my plants or the butterfly or other insect…. Catching that split second of what seems like perfection through the eye of the camera, then looking at the blurred result in frustration.
What in your artistic training do you value most at this time?
I never really had any formal training as a photographer, nor as a painter. I just did it, liked the results and continued or stopped to try something else. I think an open mind and a willingness to try, to explore, to be open to anything, and to look at things differently. In my past, a wonderful geography professor showed us thousands of slides during the 4 years of classes. His photos always told a story. That has been the most important artistic training: to learn to see, then to photograph it and share the image.
How much of a role do accident and control play in your work?
I do not keep track of this… all I know is that I am pleasantly surprised every time a roll of film is developed. I never expect it to be perfect… otherwise I could be let down. So I just wait and see then am happy.
What are some of your artistic challenges at present?
Finding new things I really feel like photographing. Having dry spells is occasional, and in the long run, not a bad thing, because I then get to revisit a subject and see it in a different way, so it is new again to me.
What are some of your artistic accomplishments at present?
Photographing animals in the Galapagos Islands as well as the way of life of the residents there.
Can you share three things you’ve learned as an artist through your own art?
- The moment never presents itself again, so take the picture right away.
- Not everybody sees the same symbols in a photo.
- If I really like the subject I am photographing, it comes out in the result, and people feel the passion. When I take a photo because I feel I have to, the passion is missing and people pick up on it. The photo is boring.
When you need inspiration, how to do you get it?
Great question… I just walk around in nature, or keep an eye open and see something that speaks to me. I guess I have to be open and it comes.
When you need to learn more as an artist, how do you do it?
I talk with my photographer friends or to people in camera stores or sometimes I read up on a subject.
What is exciting on your artistic horizon?
Life and photographing all the many facets of it, be it family, old friends, new places or nature.
What is it about this artwork (self-selected work shown) that led you to choose it for this feature? What specific challenges did you face in making this artwork?
I just love this photo taken on a sunny day in Perpignan in the South of France. When I got home and saw the photo developed, I had no recollection of where I had been in the town to take the photo. It was a year or two later, when roaming the streets with my students (I take people to Perpignan every summer to practice their French and explore the surroundings) that I found it by accident… then every time I photographed it, it came out differently and never just like this…thus, seize the moment as well as the day!