Aviva Stein-Wotten, a talented photographer and teacher, has made a name for herself in the world of analog-based photographic techniques. Skye Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Aviva to discuss her journey, inspirations, and the unique qualities of digital, film, and tintype photography. Through her lens, Aviva not only captures unvarnished reality but also raises awareness of environmental and social issues. Join us as we delve into the world of Aviva's captivating visual storytelling.
Aviva's interest in photography began during her childhood, documenting her family and friends. However, it was in grade 11 when she experienced the magic of the darkroom that her love for photography as an art form truly ignited. Over time, her passion for photography has only grown stronger, becoming an essential means of self-expression.
Aviva credits her mentor, Wilf Hatch, for shaping her approach to photography. Through his guidance, she explored various techniques, such as slower shutter speeds, long exposures, and color filters for black and white film. This experience allowed Aviva to expand her storytelling capabilities and delve deeper into the art form.
Describing her photographic style as "unvarnished reality," Aviva aims to capture subjects, both living and inanimate, to tell stories that may otherwise be overlooked. Her work is driven by a desire to raise awareness of environmental and social issues, shedding light on the interconnectedness of all aspects of our lives.
One of the significant challenges Aviva faced was figuring out how to channel her photography. Initially focusing on building a business around portraiture, she soon realized her passion lay in pushing the boundaries of traditional portraits, incorporating unexpected elements and storytelling techniques like double exposure. Aviva's growth as an artist came from embracing her artistic instincts and finding new ways to convey narratives.
Beyond the realm of photography, Aviva's interests in the environment and rewilding have greatly influenced her artistic perspective. By incorporating natural elements into her work and juxtaposing them with man-made materials, she tells stories of destruction and rehabilitation, emphasizing the interconnectedness and responsibility we have toward our natural landscapes.
Aviva has worked extensively with digital, film, and tintype formats. Initially shooting film as a child, she transitioned to digital in her early twenties. However, her love for film was rekindled when she took a darkroom photography class in her mid-twenties. More recently, she has ventured into the world of tintypes, embracing the historical photographic process.
While Aviva primarily shoots film now, she appreciates the flexibility and experimentation offered by digital photography. Tintypes, with their large format cameras and slow process, allow her to connect deeply with her subjects and immerse herself in the creative process. Though her workflow may vary, Aviva's creative vision remains consistent across formats.
Each format brings its own set of qualities and challenges. Aviva loves the versatility of digital photography, the ability to manipulate colors and compositions. Film offers the beauty of the darkroom process, despite its potential frustrations, while tintypes provide an element of surprise and the uniqueness of a handcrafted piece of art.
Aviva's approach to post-processing differs for each format. With digital and film, she focuses on minor adjustments to enhance contrast and address imperfections. For tintypes, she maintains the essence of the original plate while digitizing it.
Aviva's photography is driven by her passion and commitment to storytelling. She finds inspiration in the world around her and uses different formats to convey her artistic vision. Whether capturing unvarnished reality, raising awareness of environmental issues, or experimenting with new techniques, Aviva's work continues to inspire and captivate audiences. For aspiring photographers, her advice is simple: explore, be patient, and embrace the learning curve. With dedication and a willingness to push boundaries, aspiring photographers can discover their unique artistic voice and create impactful visual stories.
Aviva's journey as a photographer and her dedication to her craft serve as an inspiration for those who seek to explore the realms of digital, film, and tintype photography.
Concluding this photographer interview, Aviva's photography is a testament to the power of capturing unvarnished reality and using art to shed light on important social and environmental issues. Her journey from digital to film and tintype photography showcases the evolution of her artistic vision and her commitment to pushing boundaries. Through her work, Aviva encourages aspiring photographers to embrace experimentation, follow their passions, and appreciate the distinct qualities of each format. With her dedication and unwavering passion, Aviva continues to inspire others while leaving a lasting impact on the world of photography.
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