FOCAL POINT surveys the landscape of emerging photographers and selects three talented, driven, and noteworthy artists to highlight each quarter.  Each FOCAL POINT photographer receives mentoring from Crusade for Art to think about their work, their target audience, and how to best engage them.  In this interview series, every FOCAL POINT photographer gets asked the same three questions, and their answers become a jumping off point for the mentorship.

Describe the arc of your photography career so far.

My photography career up to now has felt like a series of very small steps forward. I went back to school for photography when I hit thirty, deciding it was finally time to try to make a living doing something I really wanted to do. After graduation, I spent years assisting commercial photographers and working in various roles in the commercial realm, all the while knowing that shooting commercially just wasn’t where my heart was. I continued to do my own work on the side - while constantly learning as much as I could from those I was working for and with. Slowly I began to work less and less for others and more on my own projects. In 2008, I began to open my house and my studio to the general public for a live showcase of the worlds I had been creating in my garage. It felt pretty scary and vulnerable, but overcoming those feelings was an extremely positive and rewarding experience. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, I received grants from Possible Futures to put towards my own work and continuing to open my pieces as tableau vivants for Atlanta Celebrates Photography. I received a Flux grant in 2012 giving me the opportunity to have one of my projects included in Flux Night. This experience allowed me to move beyond my garage and for a much larger audience to view my work. In 2013, I had my first artist residency in Nashville, at The Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. Being given this residency was a very pivotal moment for me, not only did I have the acknowledgement of a respected institution but I proved to myself that I could create my work outside of my studio and far away from home. It did wonders for my confidence and opened up all sorts of possibilities for me and my work.

If you were exactly where you wanted to be in your fine art photography career, what would that look like?

Less struggle, more funding. I would love to have work appear in more publications and galleries and to grow my audience from a regional one to one more national and International. I would also like to be involved in more public art projects and continue to grow my projects, broadening their concepts and their scope.

What are your goals for 2014?

My goals for 2014 are to take more risks, be as creative as possible, concept like crazy, end the year with less debt than I started it, win a grant to do at least one public art project, AND keep moving forward!