An interview with Morgaine La Fay follows the exhibit images
Morgaine La Fay Interview
VSonoma: Welcome Morgaine and could you tell us a little about your show at VSonoma Gallery.
Morgaine La Fay: First, thank you Mark for the opportunity and for having me.
I'm presenting a collection of my photos that have a motif of heart and/or blood in common, titled “The Matters of heart… and blood”. The heart is a symbol of our inner visceral self, the essence of a human being — emotions like love, sacrifice, courage (or lack of it), pain and hurting, passion, fighting the demons inside us, conflicts and losses...to name just a few.
Blood and heart matter enormously to us, they are vital, both literally and metaphorically. They are symbols par excellence. I've tried showing them in a simplistic and quite literal way — some may resemble primitive (naïve) art while some are a bit harder to decode or interpret. The traces of red (a very symbolic color with its own rich history in arts), although often quite subtle or just insinuated, are the unifying element of the collection. Another common ground for these works is they all are my photographic finds of decayed, corroded and in a similar way degraded surfaces. I then process the images through my design and vision.
VSonoma: How did you initially get interested in Photography?
Morgaine La Fay: Funny enough, initially I didn't care about photography at all. I condemned it quite a lot narrowing it down to colorful landscapes or puppies in cheap wall calendars and printed news coverage. Silly me! My husband had been a keen (digital) photographer and I started to gain respect and interest for photography watching him closely as the years passed by. He then gave me my first compact camera in 2009 as a surprise and I was “doomed” forever!
VSonoma: ...and when did you get serious about it?
Morgaine La Fay: Well, after I learned the basics, started to contribute to some photo forums and received some favorable response, I found that photography can be the equivalent of art-therapy if you will. You can express yourself through it within a meaningful, fulfilling and very creative process of working with one´s ideas, concepts and imagination. This personal inner gain was the most valuable outcome for me in getting “serious” about photography.
I have been delighted about the fact that even though as an art-lover whose handicraft and skills are very limited in classical terms (i.e. painting, graphic arts, sculpting, etching, printmaking), I can still create something in this area with a camera only. I did not have the opportunity, the patience and above all else, the talent to learn and study painting (or similar arts). I “compensate” through photography and strive to make my photos to look like fine art. Digital editing makes this quite easy. I was always into poetry and literature but look at me now: I'm a shutterbug!
VSonoma: What are your favorite subjects or area(s) of interest?
Morgaine La Fay: I love abstract photography, but not exclusively since I enjoy nature photography, occasional portraiture and staged still life as well. I like to get creative with my new Lensbaby lens which is a real time-saver because the output is interesting enough with the beautiful bokeh so you need only minimal processing to do later. I also work with long and double exposures. I am not a street photographer (just too shy to shoot strangers) and I don´t do sport photography or wildlife either. Oh, and you cannot hire me for a wedding, that would be awful for you, ugh...a disaster indeed.
My goal is to discover the hidden beauty of overlooked, invisible details and offer it for interpretation to a viewer. Without a context of its origin, the object depicted in my photography can often obtain some aesthetical/artistic value or attribute. If I tell you that many of my photos come from places like trash bins, containers, ruined walls, decaying surfaces etc, would it be significant for you? Would it matter? I hope not! The final image must speak for itself!
VSonoma: Please tell us a little about your style and process...
Morgaine La Fay: I need time, I need to focus and I cannot be rushed or commissioned. I also don't care to shoot with anybody around since it's all such an intimate process to me — and being an introvert, I don´t care to bare myself to anybody. I do like repeating myself though, (while observing if some progress has been made) meaning I often come back to a “crime scene” at different times, light and seasons. There are few places you can always find me, solitary ones mostly, where I can feel being myself. Later at my desktop, I'll post process the photos. Some of them at once, some need time to mature months...or even years! I often go for painterly or graphic-art results (as seen in this show). Oh, and as I say, I am a digital gal so no darkroom experience here.
VSonoma: Do you cite any other photographers, past or present, as mentors or as having a special influence on your work?
Morgaine La Fay: Not really. There are many I love, but surprisingly they come from the area of photography I am not very familiar with. I have the utmost respect for high-quality documentary (Magnum) photographers. I get more inspired by painters, printmakers, old masters and writers. I cite them too and often the hint is in a title. I am generally very interested in cultural intertextuality, art continuation and the usage of allusions. For me it's a constant dialogue with the foregone generations of artists and recipients of their artwork, with the outgrown “canons“, or ever-so-respected and timeless laws of art. Do we (still) love those? Do we hate them? Do we then still need them? Do we get them right? These are the questions. The culture itself rises from these.
VSonoma: Where do you see yourself 5 years down the road?
Morgaine La Fay: I can´t say really. I am a creature of habit and I hate changes so I´m happy if all stays the same for me. I don´t desire better equipment and all I need from photography is just the same — fulfillingness, the therapeutic effects, the joy of creativity. I am not goal-directed here, determined to sell all my photos and have many exhibits. But there are some vague ideas in my mind and I'd like for example to see my works published as illustrations in a poetry book. That I would like! I don´t knowingly seek vast possibilities but just sort of drift with the tide and let the sudden inspiration slowly form itself.
VSonoma: Last question...If you could choose a location for a 'grand photo expedition', where would it be?
Morgaine La Fay: Seaside. I live in an inland state and I do not travel, but the sea is always on my mind. Some northern'ish countries since I'm not great in dealing with hot weather. But New York wouldn't be bad either!
VSonoma: Thanks so much for this interview Morgaine!
Morgaine La Fay (pseudonym) is an editor and proof-reader for several printed magazines. She lives near Prague in the Czech Republic (the heart of Europe) with her husband and four children.
She is a self-taught fine-art amateur photographer. Her photography covers abstract themes in a minimalistic approach; her photos have a dreamy and lyrical quality resembling paintings or graphic arts. She often seeks the details and discovers beauty in rusty and battered objects or surfaces, trying to capture the magnificence of the usually overlooked ordinariness around us. She prefers taking her shots in the natural light.
You can view more of her work at:
All images © Morgaine La Fay