Adrienne Christian Kelp Interview:
[Kelp Journal] Can you talk about why you chose photography? What does this form provide that other media does not?
[Adrienne Christian] Photography chose me. I am a writer, and I took a nature photography course just to have something to do on the weekends. Well, a few weeks into the course, friends started asking me if they could buy my photos. And the rest is history. But, it makes sense that a writer could easily become a photographer. Both mediums are about the story. What I love about photography is that it balances out my work life. With writing, I’m sitting at my desk alone all day. With photography, I’m out in the field meeting people.
[KJ] What do you look for when framing a shot? What draws you to the pictures you take?
[AC] I look for anything that gives me pause, makes me say, “Hmm. Interesting.” Could be a squirrel eating a littered tub of hummus, a boy riding his horse in the rain, or the moon in the morning sky. If it makes me say, “Hmm. Interesting,” I photograph.
[KJ] Should photographers be cognizant of the narrative they create of a place or time when exhibiting photos?
[AC] I think photographers should be honest. If they create a short-sighted narrative with the photos they exhibit, they should at least add some sort of disclaimer that tells the whole truth. For example, if I am photographing Poverty in India, I should expressly state or write, at some time during the exhibit, that I was interested in poverty, but that all of India is not poor.
[KJ] How has the digital age affected photography?
[AC] I came to photography when digital was king. But, three years into my practice, I bought a Canon AE-1 Program film camera, and took a dark room course.
[KJ] Are there any photographers that have influenced your work?
[AC] I wouldn’t say they influence my work. But I definitely have some favorite photographers. Gordon Parks, Ansel Adams, Carrie Mae Weems, Lisa M. Robinson, Sally Mann.
Adrienne Christian is a poet & writer, and fine art photographer. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Hayden’s Ferry Review, CALYX, phoebe, The Los Angeles Review as The Editor’s Choice, and dozens other journals and magazines. She is the author of two poetry collections, 12023 Woodmont Avenue (Willow Books, 2013) and A Proper Lover (Main Street Rag, 2017). She is a fellow of both Cave Canem and Callaloo Writing Residencies. In 2007, she won the University of Michigan’s Five Under Ten Young Alumni Award. In 2016, she was a finalist for the Rita Dove International Poetry Award. In 2018, she won the James Gaffney/Society of American Poets Outstanding Poetry Award. In 2019, she won the Marie Sandoz/ Prairies Schooner Short Story Award.