I admit this freely: I take photographs because I cannot draw. Or paint. So, when I encounter a photographer who has all of these skills, and then some, I fall instantly into Deep Admiration Mode.
Meet Janna Bissett, also known as LilacPopPhotography, who combines an enormous amount of diversified talent and has a cool Etsy shop goin' on for herself.
We had a chance to talk recently:
Ann: Do your drawing and sketching skills feed your photographic artistry, or is the other way around? How does your artistic process evolve for you?
Janna: It goes both ways, actually. Sometimes the composition I set up for a drawing or painting is because I think like a photographer. I arrange it the same way I would if I were taking a photo. And sometimes when I am shooting a photo, I think it would make a beautiful sketch or has a painterly style to it that I digitally enhance later to capture it.
I think I've always thought like a photographer, but I didn't realize this until my third year of college when I took my first photography class. I actually started out in graphic design at Western Michigan University and changed my major and my school, and I finished at the University of Michigan with a BFA in photography. While at both universities, I took numerous art classes including: painting, life drawing, graphic design, computer illustration, lithography, sculpture, color theory and mixed media. I really think all of these things overlap in the creative process. They all feed each other, and it's impossible to separate them.
A: You mention you like to photograph vintage items (love your typewriter images!). How do you find them?
J: Most of the vintage items have come from freecycle.org. The theory of the website is to keep things out of landfills, and people post items they are getting rid of, or they ask about items they might want. You pick up from front porches. I found a vintage cash register I took apart and photographed and made jewelry from as well. I also ended up borrowing the typewriter from someone and then returned it afterwards through freecycle.
A: Which well-known photographer, past or present, would you say has possibly influenced you the most? What do you love about him or her?
J: I love Cindy Sherman's self-portraits. Most of her work is set up to look like film stills. She photographs herself as different characters. I also love Annie Leibovitz's work. I think her color work is stunning. She has a way of discovering a person's vulnerability and true personality through her lens.
A: You have been given exactly one creative hour. Do you draw, or do you take a photograph? What would that hour be like?
J: It would probably be chaotic! I do so many different things within a one-day period...so an hour would be crazy. I'd probably find a photo I've taken and draw from that. Then, I would make some jewelry and finish out the hour by starting a knitting project! I love to learn as many new mediums and skills as I can get my hands on. I am really interested in learning to work with metals and jewelry. I guess I can't sit still...ever!
Thank you, Janna!