This month's featured artist is Dawndra Budd of Portraits by Dawndra, a Seattle based portrait and creative fine art photographer. She is a varied artist creating images that range from classic portraiture to fantastical and surreal fine art images. Her art is mysterious, thought provoking, sometimes haunting, beautifully evocative, timeless, and when you view it, you know she is deeply connected to what she creates. Her esoteric work is processed in both color and black and white. We love her expressive voice and visually moving work. Like many, she has a long history with image making and creating and it shows. Read more about her in our interview below and don't forget to check out her corner of the web and 'like' her FB page at the bottom!
How long have you been in business and how did you get your start in photography?
"My first black and white film class was nearly 20 years ago. When I say that out loud I feel like I should be like a photo master or something. Let’s just say that for years I dabbled and played, and then about 7 years ago I got serious. I’ve only been in business a few years."
Which photographers have influenced you, and how have they influence your thinking, photography, and career path?
"I always loved Diane Arbus. I loved how she captured the darker and the different, and how she was a street photographer and an artist at the same time. Francesca Woodman is also one of my very favorites. She created absolutely stunning images that evoke emotion, and that’s what I would love to accomplish."
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
"Oh man, there’s so many! One big thing is that I wished I documented my family in a real, honest, true way. I wish that I considered it as art rather than just snapshots."
What does photography mean to you?
"It’s love. Photography has been a part of my life for so long. I’ve watched it change and grow so much over the years. We’ll be together forever. It’s a diary and a fantasy land."
What is the best part about being a photographer?
"Seeing the world in a different way. Never being bored. Always using your imagination."
If you could shoot with any photographer in the world, who would it be and why?
"I would have to pick one that traveled with endless resources. One that can afford to hire an entire circus troop, or just get tigers and crazy animals involved. Annie Leibovitz. I would like it if she and I shot another book on women together. Tomorrow Please."
What is your favorite image you have taken to date?
"Oh no. I love/hate that question. Ha ha! I think it’s a photo of my friend Corina smoking and looking very fierce and also satisfied. I came up with a back story that I really enjoyed. It surprised me because it spoke to different women in different ways. I was shocked to hear stories of abuse and empowerment. One woman saw it at one of my shows right before she moved to Hawaii. She called me a year later and said she need it on her wall. Corina doesn’t smoke, and she’s not an actress, but somehow the planets aligned and we nailed it. I love it when a photo comes out BETTER than you imagined it."
How do you feel about breaking the perceived rules of photography?