Hi Taylor! Can you start out by telling us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Taylor and I am a film photographer based in Minnesota. My forever “photography home” is in the un-decorated prairie land of the middle west. I enjoy making portraits of anyone I can, connecting with people. I use photography as a tool for understanding. When these things breathe together with me, then that makes me feel really sustained.
What originally got you into film photography and what keeps you shooting it today?
I have always taken pictures. Yet, film was brought about by a very good friend of mine, Ben, who first put a film camera in my hand. At first, it had felt like something finally had made sense when I was really struggling to wake up to the reality of life. Film is physical – it is a constant lesson. The tools of a film photographer, among other things, really helped me in that process of understanding things at a critical time in my life. It acts as my anchor to earth. There are so many photos I have not taken; I could not imagine an end point. I understand it to be about survival. To share and connect, to understand myself and others.
If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self starting in film, what would it be?
I think that I would just be supportive. I don’t know that I knew how to listen to advice. We all need support. We find our way the way we need to with support and willingness. I wish I knew back then how to use photography as a tool instead of being afraid of it.
35mm vs. 120 vs. 4×5. If you could only choose one to last you the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
If I had to choose, I would choose 4×5 – it is everything I want. If I have access to that, I am confident that I could maintain happiness. And then I would try wet plate, cyanotype, painting, music, etc. I would like to find other ways to create.
Your large format portraits & self-portraits are so magical. Can you tell us a little bit about your style and how you developed it?
That word magical really blows my mind, honestly. Thank you! I do not have a style necessarily that I notice, but I am sure that it is there in some capacity. I think that I just try everything that I want to. It is a dream to be alive and in charge of all these things I could try next.
Outside of your portraits, many of your photos feature abandoned buildings. What pulls you toward photographing these places?
History is absolutely mind boggling to me. As someone who has been puzzled with existence, I am really drawn to putting pieces together. I like to discover, I like to create, I like to share. When I share, I get to connect! Old unkempt buildings of the prairie have this wisdom in organic material that will eventually just absorb back into the earth. I think of how houses are now, how in-organic and concrete, and I just prefer to be out there with the buildings who seem to know who they are. I feel that they do reveal things to me.
What is one area of photography you feel like you’ve seen the biggest growth or improvement in yourself?
Being vulnerable. I thought I was being vulnerable but I now realize I did not understand what real vulnerability was. My willingness has broadened.
What photo of yours are you most proud of and why?
Photos of loved ones; To share those and have people feel something from them. It can be emotional to share certain photos or words, but those are the ones that make me feel the most.
Who are your favorite female or non-binary photographers, either past or present?
I love my friends, Rebekah and Kate’s work. I feel so fortunate to be friends and I am inspired by their work; their hunger for creating with photography. I feel like our styles are all so different, too. We bounce around in the same spaces and it fascinates me. Being around photographers and feeling those connections makes me entirely happy.
Also, I love Imogen Cunningham. I am really inspired by her work with dancers. I absolutely love movement and showcasing the body as a complete work of art; Bodies are a miracle! Photography is a miracle! It was so ahead of its time. Which also makes me think of Anne Brigman, another artist whose work was timeless. I want so badly to time travel back and have conversations and listen to them speak.
I really love Sally Mann – I love that she is welcoming of error. I believe this is how to be. There is such humility in the welcoming of a mistake. Not just the tolerance of it. We are lucky to create anything at all.
Do you have any big projects, or film adventures lined up for the near future?
Nothing to announce. I am heading to North Dakota soon and I will be lining up some ideas, but mostly I just go in without a plan.
Where can people find you and your work online?
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Thank you very much Danielle for this interview. I immediately read through the rest of your articles. I like tech talk, but these conversations offer a glimpse into the work and mindset of real artists. What inspiring conversations, what fascinating art! Great work