An Interview with Photographer & Artist Hannah Summers

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You have reached the archive of articles posted on my personal blog. This blog is no longer updated, but you can read my latest articles at my new website The Creative Photographer and find my photography ebooks at my new store.

Thanks for reading! Andrew.



Lilymist

Lilymist

Hannah Summers is a photographer and artist living and working in Tuscany, Italy. She specialises in macro photos of flowers. It sounds like an idyllic lifestyle. Be sure to check out her Imagekind Galleries.

Interview

I am always drawn to going up close and capturing the natural life force of my subjects. My macro lens is my gateway into that secret essence which is my constant inspiration.

Hannah SummersMy current work and passion is creating abstract and semi abstract macro photographic art prints that explore the wondrous spirituality, femininity and sensuality of the flowers and nature that surrounds me. I have found that my main subjects for the last six months or so have been flowers, and in that time it feels like they have led me to how they want to be portrayed. I am drawn to focusing on a single aspect of the flower, the tip of the petal, the stamen, the stems, whatever catches my eye. I like to set the aperture as wide as possible to create a very narrow depth of field and just concentrate the focus on that one aspect, leaving the background soft.

What is your favourite/most interesting photo?

The image I have added here, entitled “vessel” is one of my favourites, as it symbolises the direction my photography and subjects are taking me. I feel this image totally transcends the seemingly unfashionable field of flower photography. I love it because it expresses of the essence and spirituality of the living flower petal it depicts, also because it is ambiguous and challenges the viewer.. it could be a watercolour or a pastel image, a sculpture or a porcelain vessel…hence the name.

Vessel

Vessel

What age did you become interested in your art? What art education do you have?

I have loved drawing, painting and design since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I did well at art at school and excelled in pencil drawing, soft pastel and watercolour. My favourite subjects were still life and portraiture. I proceeded to study at art college where I soon realised that whatever I did, colour and tone had become the main elements in my work. I loved to experiment with water and inks on paper and fusing together pieces of intensely coloured glass in kilns to form simple abstract forms and small window panes.

Where were you 10 years ago?

After college, I decided to take a career in makeup artistry and spent many years channelling my creativity into the “faces” I created on a daily basis. I loved the interaction between myself, the artist and the human face in front of me, it brought my art to life and produced tangible and satisfying results. I did not paint or draw on paper for most of this time.

What motivated you to start photography in the first place?

After nearly a decade of working in makeup, my instincts told me I needed a fresh canvas to work on. I moved to Spain on impulse and immediately, the clarity of the blue skies, the sunshine and the land made me feel totally relaxed. My eyes were properly opened to the nature around me for the first time ever and I spent days in the sunny olive groves, totally absorbed by the textures of the bark of an ancient olive tree I had found.My tool was a borrowed compact digital camera. I just set it to its generic macro setting and off I went.

Technical expertise was not my aim, all I cared about was really seeing my subject. From my results and the feedback I received I discovered that I was actually quite good at taking photographs without even trying to really understand the buttons and how the lens worked. Everything I did was instinctive (with hindsight, I see now my background in art subconsciously helped a lot with tonal values and composition).

I was almost afraid of learning too much about the physics of taking a photograph in case the worry about “getting it right” took too much energy away from what I was interested in – just seeing , capturing and feeling. Today, I have a much deeper understanding about technique and how to get the best from my camera, but my core values of experiencing the subject remains my first priority.

What is the most interesting place you have photographed?

The most interesting place I have photographed is most certainly where I am based right now in Tuscany. I am staying in a 500 year old hermitage originally built for monks and situated within the estate of a Palace that was built for a Renaissance pope. This area is outstanding for it’s peace, tranquillity and spirituality. All my recent work is based on the untouched, abundant nature that exists here.

Where will you be in 10 years time?

My goals for the future are simple.. To relax and enjoy nature in beautiful places, to exhibit in galleries around the world. To enjoy financial independence from selling my work and the benefit from the freedom that gives me. I firmly believe that when you do what you are supposed to, the money you need to live comes much more easily to you.

Why do you have a gallery on Imagekind? What motivated you to try it?

I found Imagekind through flickr and liked what I saw. I am always attracted to high quality and I saw very quickly that the service and products that Imagekind offers are second to none. Living in Europe, the logistics of organising my own printer, framer and courier to deliver to my clients around the world would have been nigh on impossible, let alone stressful. I have Imagekind to thank for giving me the solution in an all in one high-end service, so I can concentrate on the important thing – creating new work.

How do you promote your Imagekind Gallery?

I promote my Imagekind gallery online through my website, on Squidoo and on certain Italian Interest sites. Marketing is an ongoing work in itself, given the boundless possibilities of the internet….

What tips would you give photographers or artists selling their work on Imagekind?

Organise, theme and describe your galleries, galleries that are confusing can put a buyer off from looking closer at your portfolio.

Name each piece and add a description for each image. This helps a prospective customer relate to you and the artwork from the outset.

Tag each image well to help reach your target audience when they search Imagekind.

Do take the time to custom frame, mat and glaze your images to show them off beautifully. It is time consuming, but worth the end result.

Once you have your galleries in order and you are proud of them, email care (at) imagekind (dot) com and request consideration to be a featured artist on the homepage. It gives great exposure.

Join the Imagekind Forum, it’s a great way to make new contacts, receive friendly advice and get some really useful information and inspiration on networking and promoting your art.

Finally, focus on success from the start – it works!

Give us some marketing tips for photographers.

Create a website if you don’t already have one and use that as your platform for your work.

Approach “magazine” style websites that are related to the subject matter of your work. Offer to write articles for them in exchange for a feature on their site or, at the very least, a link to your site and IK galleries. This helps with search engines as this type of site often pays for sponsered links on google, etc.

If you are confident about your expertise and knowledge about your craft and subject matter, consider writing articles for ezine about it. They really do get your name up high on the search engines if you add plenty of your chosen keywords and phrases into the text. Images are not allowed, but you can add your URL links to your images to every article approved.

Create a blog about your work and update it frequently. Link it to other art blogs. It always helps for prospective buyers to know more about you and why you create what you do.

Look out regularly for new ways to get your name out there. The internet is an infinite arena in which you can promote your work. However, don’t allow it to take too much of your time (it will if you let it!) Always allow plenty of time for yourself and your work.

Links

Hannah’s Imagekind Galleries

Hannah at Saatchi Online

E-mail: hannah1073 (at) yahoo.co.uk

Photo Gallery

Guidance

Guidance

Devotion

Devotion

Crest

Crest

All photos copyright © Hannah Summers. Please ask the photographer for permission to use in any way.

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3 Responses to “An Interview with Photographer & Artist Hannah Summers”

  1. […] Continue reading the full interview here. reddit_url = ‘http://blog.imagekind.com/2008/01/25/cool-happenings-with-some-of-our-amazing-artists/’; Share This Popularity: 1% […]

  2. […] Interview with Andrew Gibson, Photographer My interview with Andrew Gibson on his new blog  Beautiful Argentina is now […]

  3. […] For further reading about my inspirations for my photography, take a look at the interview I did with Andrew Gibson in January 2008. An Interview with Hannah Summers by Andrew Gibson […]

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