(Ed.) This spring and summer I’ve fallen into the rabbit hole of Fiber Arts on the Internet. Blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, LYS websites, etc., etc. I am always drawn to fiber that is beautifully photographed and pops right off the screen. Sharp photographic skills help us to tell our stories (including all things fiber-y) in memorable ways.
Photographer Gale Zucker will be offering two classes this year at Fiber College, both of which will build our storytelling skills. On Friday, September 5th from 9 AM to 5 PM, Gale collaborates with writer Beverly Army Williams in their class “Savvy Storytelling: Photography and Blogging for Fiber Artists.” On Saturday, September 6th from 9 AM to 1 PM, Gale leads a Photography Scavenger Hunt. What a great way to improve your photographic skills! Here’s more about Gale…
What does “Do It Your Way” mean to you as a fiber artist and teacher?
Do It Your Way could be my personal theme, too. I decided to be a freelance photographer when I was in my mid twenties. Although I photograph for a wide range of clients, I’ve made sure to propose projects and steer my work toward subjects I love to shoot–especially knitwear, handmade, DIY, and fiber farming.
How did you decide to become an artist?
I grew up in a family of artists & creative thinkers (not to mention knitters & crafters) –so making stuff , knitting and doing art was just what we did. I didn’t intend to become an artist–leaving it to sisters and cousins who are fine artists–but my photography went from traditional photojournalism to what gets called art. So,I accept being called an artist happily, whether I’m working in photography or mixed media or fiber.
How do you develop your own style?
Learn how to do something technically but then use the techniques to create your own original work, with a look that is yours. That’s what style is. You need to learn the rules, and then break them. Or at least, bend them. I get so frustrated and sad when I see people trying to make the exact same image they saw somewhere else–or when students tell me they follow rigid rules to compose their photos. Some people naturally have a style. Others, I think just need to be untaught from following rules. (Unless you are my children, in which case: follow all rules!)
What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have?
I solve a lot of visual/design/artistic problems while I swim. It frees my brain up to think sideways, and on the diagonal, not just in a straight line.
What would a student be most surprised to know about you?
-I hate to be stuck inside all day, it makes me feel crazy. Inside with no windows is the worst! Don’t you wonder how I used to work in the darkroom, earlier in my career?
– I am an excellent parallel parker. I can squeeze a car into a space with an inch to spare. However, I can’t back up straight in a car, at all.
– I hate raw tomatoes. And don’t tell me that it’s because I haven’t tasted your fresh picked organic tomatoes. I will hate them, too. It’s a texture thing. (Just cook them, or dry them, put them in a sauce, and I am fine.)
As an instructor, what would be the best advice you could give to a student?
Be really open minded. Try the things that don’t jump out and appeal to you. In fact, especially try the things that don’t appeal to you. Getting out of your comfort zone in a class is the best place to do it. There’s no need to succeed, just to try.
What project has given you the most satisfaction and why?
Sometimes I feel like whatever project I am in the middle of right now is the most exciting & satisfying. However, coming up with the idea, and then photographing & producing the book Shear Spirit was so wonderful. It was a dream project, to go visit and stay on the ten fiber farms around the country while photographing them. I met some of the most amazing people i will ever cross paths with, in remote and stunningly beautiful places.
How do you ensure plenty of time to be an artist?
That is the challenge, isn’t it? Prioritizing is a big part of it, and not getting too fussy about housekeeping.
My website/blog urls are:
photography website: http://www.gzucker.com
my knitblog, She Shoots Sheep Shots http://www.ezisus.blogspot.com
on Twitter & Instagram: @galezucker
FB page : https://www.facebook.com/GaleZuckerPhoto