Have you already noticed that photographers often have backgrounds in different crafts? This week on the Prodibi Pixel Magazine, we meet with a multi-talented photographer from the northwest Pacific region of the United States, Poppy Barach.
Poppy is a real creative mind who was immersed in a rich tradition of crafts growing up. Her deep love for everything handmade pushed her to explore clothing design, gardening, and many other occupations that contributed to her approach to photography.
We offer you to discover her still life photographs taken in natural light in full resolution powered by Prodibi. All compositions were, of course, handmade by Poppy!
A few words about you, how did you start photography?
I used to be a clothing designer and manufacturer. As my company grew larger I found myself spending most of my time running the business and less on the creative aspects of design. My time spent directing our fashion photoshoots became my favorite part of my job. Eventually, I closed my clothing business and went back to school to study photography. It’s been my primary creative love ever since.
You have a deep love for traditional crafts in general, how does it help you with your photographs?
I’m a very hands on photographer and enjoy doing all my own styling. My photos have a rustic organic look because my props are often handmade items and are shot in natural light. I’m also a gardener so most of the plants and flowers in my images are from my garden or found on walks. I’m very process oriented and use my equipment as tools in the same way you would do any type of craft.
For you, what describes a successful picture and why?
My main criteria for a successful photo is when the viewer is drawn into the photo and has an emotional response to it. If I can accomplish that with a simple photo, all the better. Lighting is very important to me and since I use natural light, if I’ve captured it at the right moment, that contributes to the success of my images. Often I can’t define in words why I choose one shot over another taken at the same time. It’s just a feeling I get when one grabs my attention.
What would be your advice for beginner still-life photographers?
Start out by finding the most beautiful light in your home. I shoot most of my still life photos in my kitchen very early in the morning as the sun is rising. Don’t add elements to a photograph that don’t make sense in the context of what you’re shooting. Take shots of the same set up from lots of different angles by moving your body around. Leave some negative space in your image. Keep things simple by using what you have before investing in new props and equipment. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be great at something you’re just learning to do. Have a beginner’s mind and keep at it.
*Read On: Tell a story with Food in a very Pop and "In Your Face" style with Photographer Davide Luciano and Give a sense of narrative to your photos, an interview with food photographer Darina Kopcok
About your photography gear, what are your favorite tools?
I use a Nikon D810 and absolutely love it because I can shoot at a high ISO in low light. We have lots of dark days in this part of the US and this camera allows me to capture the beautiful natural light. I mainly use an older Nikon 105 lens because I can shoot wide open for more light and a shallow depth of field. It also has vibration reduction so I rarely have to use a tripod. I’ve started taking more photos for Instagram stories on my iPhone in portrait mode since I’ve always got it with me and it allows me to be more spontaneous. I do most of my editing using Lightroom and VSCO.
Do you have projects for the future?
I’m enjoying shooting more and more with models. That’s what I did in photography school and love the collaboration. Further in the future I want to develop a product line using my photos possibly using textiles since that’s my background. My husband and I are building a cabin on an island off the coast here. We’re close to completing our living space so my dream is to build a studio there.
To see more from Poppy:
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