Interview with a Photographer | Stephanie Sunberg

Interview with a Photographer | Stephanie Sunberg

For many of us, Autumn is undoubtedly our favorite season for its multicolored leaves, cozy beverages, and, of course, fall fashion. This year, to showcase our love of the season's style, Revival teamed up with local photographer Stephanie Sunberg. When it comes to this lady's talents, there's more than meets the eye. 

Name : Stephanie Sunberg
Age : 23
From : Minneapolis, Minnesota

How did you get started with photography?
I was a sophomore in college and wanted to minor in Fine Arts so they required that you take a three levels of a specific medium, I had always been curious about photography so I started with film. Fell in love. The idea of shooting and not knowing how the frame would turn out until the roll was developed felt magical to me. Then developing the film by myself, using my own two hands to create these images… Spending hours on end in the dark room… It’s what kept me going through college when I started thinking it wasn’t for me anymore. I found my place where I could make artwork and have open minds surrounding me with their infectious ideas and creativity to push boundaries and make me create better work. I graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Textile and Apparel Management with a double minor in Business and Fine Arts. I went to New York city for a summer internship with a fashion designer and found that I spent a lot of my time organizing her photographs, looking through fashion magazines, and always thought about what life in NYC would be like as a photographer. It sounded so romantic. That’s when I realized working in an office wouldn’t make me happy. Living that romantic life of traveling the world with a camera would make me happy.

2. What work has influenced you?
I’ve been inspired by this whole lifestyle genre in photography. I feel as if it has allowed photographers to use their daily life as subject matter, making it easier to create and inspire but also makes us push ourselves to find those photo ops you normally wouldn’t go for. Most of all, I’m inspired by the legendary photographers (especially street photographers) - Nan Golden, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Richard Avedon, Vivian Maier, Diane Arbus, Sally Mann and the one that stuck with me the most was Francesca Woodman. You should definitely look her up or watch the documentary about her on Netflix. This beautifully troubled woman created so much work throughout her short-lived but fascinating life. She just really stuck with me.. Her work, her troubles with being viewed as an artist in the prime of her life while also trying to manage her own demons. Her work is so raw. Sometimes hard to look at. I know that’s not what my work is like but I like knowing that she was actually considered a fashion photographer… She took thousands of photographs throughout her 22 years of life and every single image seems to be thought out. Maybe not, maybe they’re just so good that you believe that.

3. What do you enjoy shooting the most?
I enjoy shooting people - every shape, size, color, whatever. Models are great and so easy to work with, if I could just hang out with models all day and shoot them I would in a heartbeat but then that would make things too easy. Street photography really captivates me. I love that raw shit. The grunge. The beggars on the corners. The happy couples, fighting couples. The playing children or crying children. The cool dudes on motorcycles. You name it. Especially travel street photography. Paris is by far the best place for it. I would just sit outside at cafes and people watch for hours, and shoot from where I sat. It’s wonderful, I make a point to do this wherever I travel. I’ve also made a point to start carrying my Minolta with me while out and about to do it more often.

4. What do you think makes a photograph memorable?
When you have questions. When there is more you want to know about the photograph and the photographer… When you try to envision what the artist was thinking while making the photograph. In school I was taught the fundamentals of what makes a “good photograph.” They've always stuck with me. The composition. Whitest whites, blackest blacks, contrast. The details. Color. Everything that makes a photograph technically perfect but of course that’s just the start. You need to question what is going to make this different. There is so much content out there today. The moment we feel like we’ve seen it all someone has pushed the boundaries and brings something new to the table and we need more of that. It seems to be a competition that I thoroughly enjoy watching and taking part in. During photo class lecture we would see hundreds of famous photographs, and of course, I can’t remember them all but the ones that stuck had that certain something… The photographer went out of their comfort zone to make this photo happen and you can see it and feel it. I’m sorry, maybe all of that was vague. I forgot to mention I’m terrible at writing, my sincerest apologies.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Iowa City and its community?
Iowa City is an intricate community of so many artists. I love that it doesn’t always feel like I’m in the midwest when I’m downtown working or just out to grab a coffee. There’s a lot going on here. Everyone in the arts community knows one another. Everyone helps to keep the art alive; writing, photography, music, etc,. Coming from a big city like Minneapolis it’s easy to get lost up there with so many people doing so many things. Here, it’s nice that you can always be aware of what’s going on and theres a joint effort to keep you involved.

Find more of Stephanie on her website, Instagram, and Facebook :)