I had the pleasure to interview photographer Ingrid Endel. To see Ingrid’s feature on The Flying Fruit Bowl, click here.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself….
I’m a fine art photographer based in Brisbane, Australia. I’ve had 12 years of dance training in various styles, and loved it but for reasons out of my control I had to give up on that dream and pursue another avenue. Now I work two jobs – one which I enjoy, but neither offer any real opportunities for creative expression like photography. I feel lucky to have stumbled upon the art form back in 2009 and over the years, I have found a way to incorporate my love for dance and for that I am thankful.
2. Did you study or are you self-taught? Do you think that everyone is self- taught in a way?
I am self-taught, and I do believe everyone is in a way. Some may take a few introductory courses or even study photography, but they too build upon the knowledge that has been given by others and discover new techniques.
3. Do you use film or digital? Do you have experience of using both?
I shoot digitally, but I have had some experience with film. I was initially drawn to film photography and bought two SLRs from eBay. My dad bought a DSLR so I decided to try my hand at both at the same time. I never finished the two rolls of film as I became engrossed in the possibilities and capabilities of digital photography.
4. What camera do you use?
I use the Canon 5d Mark II.
5. Do you think that with the amount of photographers that use a Canon 5D Mark II and produce amazing images with it, that it puts pressure on photography students or aspiring photographers to save up for such a costly piece of equipment?
Unfortunately I believe there is a certain amount of pressure, but I feel it stems from the misconception that one must have high quality equipment to produce amazing images. The camera is merely a vehicle for creativity. An expensive camera will aid with having technically high quality images, but it is your ability to realise ideas and capture moments that determines the success of an image.
6. I love your images and how you incorporate dance and movement into them. What kind of music do you listen to and does it influence your photography?
My taste in music is varied but the genres that influence my photography the most are film scores, acoustic, indie, classical and instrumental music. I’m really loving James Blake, Alex Clare, Ed Sheeran, Flume and Childish Gambino at the moment.
7. How do you come up with image concepts? Do you plan out images or are you more spontaneous with ideas?
I always have an idea of what I wish the final product to look like so I plan as much as possible. Lately I’ve taken to sketching my ideas, brainstorming and now more than ever, coming up with as many possible problems that may occur during shooting and the solutions. I never try to force something – I want it to be natural as I’ve found those work out the best and are more ‘me.’
8. Who or what inspires you? How diverse is your inspiration?
There is no limit to what inspires me. Music, books, words, people, life experiences, nature, dance…it is endless.
9. What/who is your favorite film, book and photographer?
I am a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, and the words of Chuck Palahniuk and Kurt Vonnegut. There are so many photographers that I adore so I couldn’t narrow it down but one of the photographers that initially got me interested in photography was Henri Cartier-Bresson.
10. I particularly like your image “The Fallen.” Can you talk a bit about the ideas behind the image and the process of shooting the image?
The concept is that of a fallen angel, and the butterflies are her protectors against any and all evil that may come her way during her most vulnerable state. I remember coming across pictures of monarch butterflies encasing trees and wanting to create something around that. I bought a box of fake butterflies from eBay and set out to shoot during twilight. I had assistance with placing as many butterflies on and around me as possible. During editing, I expanded the frame and continued to work on the colours, shadows and highlights until it looked ‘done.’
11. What is your favourite image that you have taken?
“Growth” is still my favourite as it was the first image that I truly felt proud of, and it only motivated me to keep pursuing photography.
12. Where is your favourite location to take images and why?
I like taking photos in natural surroundings. At the moment, it is where a lot of my ideas belong and it’s always a nice ‘excuse’ to get away from suburbia or the city.
13. What would be your dream photo shoot be if you had no restrictions on time, money, models, etc.?
I wish I had the access to shoot a series with a diverse and talented group of contemporary or ballet dancers. We would all travel around the world to scenic locations – big cities, remote villages…absolutely anywhere and everywhere. The series would centre around people and their stories. By meeting and talking to people from a wide range of backgrounds, we’d recreate snippets of their life stories through dance – the pain, hope and triumph that every person experiences. Every emotion will be personified by the dancers and captured by myself. I want to create something emotionally-charged and have it be educational. There would be a written story to go with every image. I believe every person has a voice, and it is important that theirs is heard. This will be my way of empowering them while giving others insight into what life is like for “_____” on the other side of the world. It would be a collaborative project with no need for fancy, elaborate props. Dancers are moving works of art. Their bodies will be the canvases.
14. Is there anything you don’t like about being a photographer?
The pressure I put on myself to produce work of a certain standard and trying to get my work seen would have to be the two main things that sometimes gets me down. I am my worst critic, but on the flip side, it helps with my growth as a photographer. I’ve also found it disheartening at times to have worked countless hours on one photograph, feel proud of the result and end up not reaching as many people as I would have liked. I just want to share my passion and ideas with as many as possible. I guess I’m just not the best when it comes to networking!
15. How do you market yourself and your work?
Well, regardless of my shortcomings when it comes to marketing my work, I rely on the internet and social networking. I have Twitter, Instagram, 500px, Flickr (of course) and jumped on the Facebook bandwagon by making a page for my photography late last year. I’ve also just started getting my work out there by entering photography competitions and submitting to online publications.
16. What is the most costly prop you have ever brought?
The most costly would have to be a long white vintage dress. I’ve used it in quite a few of my photographs so I believe that it has been worth it.
17. Is there a particular prop you would love to use in your work?
Smoke bombs! The laws in Australia are restrictive so there is no possible way of sourcing them legally.
18. Are there any particular messages that you are trying to portray through your photography?
At the moment, I’m working on a series that explores the connections between humans and nature. I just wish for people to take better care of the world around us, and treat the environment with more respect before it’s too late. I find it sad how we often take for granted and abuse what essentially keeps us alive.
The general message I try to convey, however, is that the imagination knows no bounds. Let it take you on a ride and don’t be afraid of where it may take you.
19. Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?
Do not limit yourself or you limit your potential, create from your heart and practise!