[Photography] Interview with Mackenzie Gellner

by A.M. Larks

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[KELP JOURNAL] I always like to start out asking photographers what they look for in a shot. I find it an interesting way into the mind of the artist. So, what is it that you look for or, rather, found in these shots that made you snap the photo?


[MACKENZIE GELLNER] For these shots in particular, it was a stillness. Each captured a varying subject; however, all showcasing a sense of calm.


[KJ] For me, these photos have a sense of longing about them. A longing to be somewhere or an absence that I feel. I love that about this series. Is mood something that you consciously consider?


[MG] Thank you very much; I appreciate that. I definitely do see a sense of longing, as well, in these shots. With this series, I don’t feel that I consciously considered mood; however, since the series is of the Canadian outdoors, I believe weather played a pivotal role.


[KJ] Do you think mood is something that can be intentionally created like the right lighting? Or simply captured in the moment?


[MG] I do believe mood can be created by lighting. Both the seasons and time of day varied in this series, which resulted in a change of lighting. This then affected the feeling portrayed from warm and pleasant to cool and gloomy. However, I think mood can also be captured in a moment as well, especially if people are the subject. The emotion given by the person or people can determine what is felt while viewing the shot as the audience.


[KJ] You have a wide-ranging career and utilize a number of different media to express yourself: print journalism, photography, and even documentary film making. I always like to ask artists working with different forms, what is it that attracts them to each form?


[MG] What I find the most interesting about utilizing different media is how they are all capable of telling the same stories. While studying journalism, it provided me with the opportunity to experience various media. Both words and images, whether through film or still photography, allow for emotions and narrative to come through.


[KJ] Do you find that a subject or particular project is more suited to one form versus another?


[MG] I believe certain media can be preferable regarding the subject matter. If wanting to portray emotion, I think images and film have the advantage, while print journalism can provide more information and specifics. At the same time, while having had the opportunity to work with various media, I’ve learned they all have the power to convey the same story just tailored into different forms of communication.


Mackenzie (Mac) Gellner born in New Westminster, British Columbia, completed her Bachelor of Communication in Journalism at Mount Royal University. Her articles have been published in CBC News, the Florence University of the Arts magazine "Blending," The Calgary Journal and The Reflector. During field school in India, she co-produced a short documentary on self-expression with the Sri Ram Ashram. Mac has a passion for both the written and visual arts, with works in photography, poetry and short stories.