Interview with Carolyn Guild
#1 Please introduce yourself
Hello. My name is Carolyn Guild. I currently split my residences between Encinitas, California and Northern Baja during the summer and fall, then move up into the mountains in Big Cottonwood Canyon above Salt Lake City during the winter and spring.
#2 How did you get interested in photography?
My father always had a RolleiFlex around his neck, and encouraged me to take pictures by giving me cameras to use whenever I’d leave home… then later in life when I started traveling with my husband Whitney, the awe inspiring beauty led me back to photography.
#3 Do you have an artistic/photographic background?
Other than my father’s early encouragement, no. I grew up riding horses and going to school. Horses were my passion, and my life. I competed riding jumpers, broke colts for the racetrack, and trained race horses. I sure do wish in hindsight that I’d have had a camera through those years, but I didn’t.
#4 Which artist/photographer inspired your art?
I love studying the history of photography and the early photographers that preceded us. Minor White has fascinated me since Hal Gould introduced me to his work. Other favorites Weston, Bullock, Cunningham and Adams. Some of my favorite contemporary photographers, that have not influenced my seeing, but I really love their work: Sebastiao Salgado, Michael Levin, and Hakan Strand and Michael Kenna. Bruce Hucko has had a large part in encouraging me.
#5 How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph? Are you planning every step or is it always spontaneous?
Interesting question. Unfortunately there’s no single answer. If I’m doing night photography, a lot of planning goes into it. When will the moon be up and where. What size is the moon (how much ambient light) Focusing and composing before dark – particularly since I started using all manual focus prime lenses. Other times, I like to spend time in a given area, and try to feel an emotional response to what I’m seeing. Occasionally, I’ll be driving down the road… stop, get out the gear, and make a photograph. Purely spontaneous.
#6 You seem to be fascinated by landscapes and places that are absolutely out of this world. What inspire you about these places?
The Wild part of our Word can be so graceful, emitting a spiritual feeling. As Minor White said and I quote *Be still with yourself until the object of your intention recognizes you. Then don’t leave until you have captured its essence*
#7 Could you please tell us something about your technique and creating process?
I have 3 cameras, 2 of which get used the most. My Nikon D3X, I commonly just use a Zeiss MF 35mm lens, or my Zeiss MF 100mm lens. I also have a Nikon PC/tilt shift lens for occasions that call for it. I shoot 99.9% from my tripod, with a cable release and use mirror lock up. My second camera is a FujiFillm X-Pro 1. It’s small, easy to carry, and a wonderful little mirrorless camera.
I do all my own printing on either my Epson 7880 or 7900 (one is in California, the other, Utah). My paper of choice is Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta. A 100% cotton rag, no OBA’s lightly stippled photo paper.
As far as post processing goes, I’m rather a dolt. I do use PS CS 6 to open my files, as I always shoot in the RAW format. Then I dodge and burn and use curves to adjust contrast and bring out the feeling I got at the time of initially making the photograph. Then I resize if necessary, sharpen and print. Some day I may learn more about post processing, but for now, I’m very happy with my results. I’m not a very proliphic photographer, shooting very few frames on a trip. However, it typically takes me a while to set up my composition and exposure. I tend to be lazy about post processing, so this makes it much easier!
#8 We can see your works mostly in black and white, why have you chosen to present them in this form?
I think this says it best: “To see in colour is delightful to the eye, but to see in black and white delights the soul….. No colour to attract or distract. Only the sensual lines, the shadows and highlights…. Lines, light and shapes repeated. That’s what delights my soul”. CG Personally, I find black and white photography a more sensual medium.
#9 Do you ever have periods of self-doubt and feel creatively unmotivated?
I really don’t have times of self doubt, I do however go through spells when I lack motivation. A good camping trip generally solves that.
#10 What do you do in your life besides photography?
Horses were my life for more than 40 years. Then I met my husband, got into rock climbing, snowboarding, surfing, mountaineering… and now it’s come full circle. I’m headed to Wyoming the end of July to buy a ranch horse!
#11 What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
I’ve started photographing horses and wranglers as well as wild horses. I’d like to continue that. I also spend a good deal of time in Northern Baja – and am going to start trying to photograph the people and the architecture. That’s the main reason for purchasing the smaller FujiFilm camera. It’s less imposing. I’m going to have to learn to be more spontaneous. One day I truly want to visit the coastlines of Scotland and Ireland…. As well as spend more time along the Big Sur Coastline.
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