Art

Run Like Hell with Amelia Fletcher

And she felt it coming, because it would shake the earth under her feet. She knew that she had only one thing to do at that point, and that was to, in her words, ‘run like hell.’

Images by Amelia Fletcher Interview by Teo J. Babini
©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

A great American adventurer, Amelia Fletcher would give Kerouac a run for his money “On the Road”. Her journey is about people and places, but also introspection and she shares it all with her camera. So jump in the passenger sheet and take a ride through the ever-changing landscape.

Let’s begin with a little introduction to your photography, in general, both personal and professional.
I’m a dreamer, an insect collector and a storyteller. Stories are what drew me to photography way back when I first shot my friends’ portraits with a disposable camera years ago. My roots in the Carolina Mountains have heavily influenced what inspires my work now. Natural elements and personal histories tend to be the red thread that runs all throughout my portfolio. I strive to create work that is meaningful to me and meaningful to others.

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

In your bio you mention being an insect collector? How did you pick up that hobby?
I’ve always been interested in insects and collected little things I find on walks through the mountains near my family’s land. Feathers, mica, animal bones… Bugs and butterflies found their way into the mix.

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

 

On your website, you have a section for portraits and one for food and drink. What do you find to be the greatest differences/pros and cons of working with human subjects vs. working in still life?
I’m a lover of details, finding the beauty in the simple things of our daily lives. Food is a passion of mine. It nourishes our bodies, brings people together, and is an art form in and of itself. It’s important to me to buy from small farms as much as possible to support my local community and eat a healthier diet.

Food photography is much different from portraits in the obvious ways but there are also similarities. I tend to slow down a little with still life imagery because no one is waiting on me to finish. I really try to take my time and enjoy it. I typically use a broad, soft light source just as I do with portraits. I think about the mood of the image and what colors can best represent that. I use a shallow depth of field and hope that a little of my personal style shines through in the final image no matter what I’m photographing. Some days I like the quiet and it’s nice to shoot still life and slow things down. Other times I really want that interaction a portrait session brings and the unexpected ways it can develop.

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

The “52 Week Project” is a journey of self-discovering through self-portraiture. More and more I see photographers choosing to use themselves as subjects. Could you expand on why you made this choice? Thoughts on the whole “selfie” phenomena?
I began the 52 week project in January of 2012. I had just graduated college and was moving across the country to a place I had never been. I wanted to push myself to create something every week, learn more about lighting and Photoshop. Ultimately I learned a lot about myself and it gave me the confidence I needed to photograph other people. It was also great in that it gave me a deadline and a project to focus on much like my assignments in school had done. The structure helped motivate me.

“Selfie” wasn’t really a thing a couple years ago. The purpose of my self-portrait project wasn’t to have photos of myself. I just happened to be there, it was easier to use myself as a model, and I wasn’t worried about wasting anyone’s time if the photo didn’t work out. It was a great learning experience.

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

There is an element of magical realism throughout this series. Is this an interest of yours? Is it an aesthetic choice or does it communicate some deeper meaning? How do the more straightforward portraits fit into the series?
At the time it was very much an interest. I loved the way I could create a different world within the image. It was an exciting challenge to come up with something different every week. Each photo is an exploration of what was going on in my life at the time. Something I was feeling, a dream, a story I’d heard. For that reason I think they all fit into the series, even though some are more straightforward than others. The common theme is simply self-portraiture.

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

Have you modeled for other photographers?
Every once in awhile. I’m much more comfortable behind the camera!

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

Although the semi-nudity is not overly revealing, how comfortable are you sharing your body in the name of your craft?
While I haven’t done any nude modeling as of yet, if I was approached by a photographer who I felt comfortable with and whose work I admired I’d have no problem with it. I don’t think it’s a big deal. I put my all into that project, and I reveal much more about myself than just some skin.

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

“An American Adventure” seems to have quite a scope. Is this just a catchall for your personal travel photography through the country, or are there other themes being explored?
“An American Adventure” was a five month long trek across the United States to document the people and places of small town America. Throughout the trip I lived and worked on organic farms through a program called WWOOF. I made lasting friendships and learned so much from the people I met along the way. We truly live in a great country full of beautiful places and kind people. Food also played a big role in the project as I spent just as much time growing, harvesting, weeding, feeding, etc. as I did photographing. While it is a documentation of my personal experiences it’s also a portrait of America today as seen through my viewfinder.

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

Some of the photos have a pronounced Americana vibe, while others come across much more modern. How do they fit together in the series?
Well I think the modern world we live in still retains a lot of that Americana vibe. We seem to be in a period of transition. Our way of life has changed so much in the past hundred years, from the jobs we have to the speed and ways we communicate with each other. But many things are still the same as they’ve always been.

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

Let us talk about the locations; they range from sprawling landscapes to more residential environs, even a few events. What captures your attention in a location?
The light, a feeling, a background. Elizabeth Gilbert tells a great story on creativity: “I had this encounter recently where I met the extraordinary American poet Ruth Stone, who’s now in her 90s, but she’s been a poet her entire life and she told me that when she was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out working in the fields, and she said she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. And she said it was like a thunderous train of air. And it would come barreling down at her over the landscape. And she felt it coming, because it would shake the earth under her feet. She knew that she had only one thing to do at that point, and that was to, in her words, ‘run like hell.’ And she would run like hell to the house and she would be getting chased by this poem, and the whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper and a pencil fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page…

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

…And other times she wouldn’t be fast enough, so she’d be running and running, and she wouldn’t get to the house and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it and she said it would continue on across the landscape, looking, as she put it “for another poet.” And then there were these times — this is the piece I never forgot — she said that there were moments where she would almost miss it, right? So, she’s running to the house and she’s looking for the paper and the poem passes through her, and she grabs a pencil just as it’s going through her, and then she said, it was like she would reach out with her other hand and she would catch it. She would catch the poem by its tail, and she would pull it backwards into her body as she was transcribing on the page. And in these instances, the poem would come up on the page perfect and intact but backwards, from the last word to the first.”
I don’t know if that’s anything like what my creative process is like on what captures my attention. But sometimes it seems accurate. It’s a fleeting urge that pulls me to photograph the who, the what, the when, the where. Sometimes an idea sits in my head for weeks before I make it happen.

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

Again, we see a wide variety of human subjects, old and young, characters and tattoos. Who are these people and why did you decide to include them?
Some people in the series I met along the way, and others I had known for a long time. There are portraits of strangers and portraits of friends. I tend to photograph things that are important to me. I think that’s the best way to make great work. Each portrait is of someone that had an effect on me, even if it was in a very small way. Many of the people included traveled with me, worked with me, or taught me about their work.

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

You mention that being a Southern Girl influences your work, as well as your being, can you expand on this?
While the south definitely has an ugly history and some unfortunate stereotypes, I’ve found growing up here was the best place I could have. It’s a slower way of life. People talk to their neighbors, open the door for you and help each other out. There’s a sense of community just about anywhere you go, and don’t even get me started on the food.

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

I noticed you passed through NYC, did you get a chance to check out Brooklyn? What were your impressions?
I did pass through New York! I love the city. I went to Brooklyn once in college with friends, drank way too much at a hole in the wall kind of place and watched the sun come up. It was a lot of fun. I’ll have to check it out again next time I’m in the area during the daylight. 🙂

Amelia’s Website  FLICKR

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

©Amelia Fletcher

Comments are closed.