Interview: Photographer Caitlin Teal Price
Shauna | Nov 4, 2011 | 11:40AM |

Caitlin Teal Price, a photographer with local roots will be hosting her first show in D.C. this weekend. The opening reception is tonight at the residence of Trish Hoppey (1324 T Street NW) and will feature music by Ryan Holladay of Bluebrain (who promises me there will be some unreleased Bluebrain stuff mixed in with his normal DJ set).  I was able to shoot a few questions over to Caitlin on the art of her photography, how education can or cannot play a role and her viewpoint as an artist.  The gallery will remain open throughout the weekend.  Be sure to check out her stunning work!

  • What are you doing in the current moment (aside from answering these questions)? Be specific.

I am sitting on my couch flipping back and forth from Gmail, this word document and a few Photoshop files.  The window is open and there are kids screaming and laughing outside.  A friend of mine should arrive in  half an hour to pick up a package at which point I will allow myself a glass of wine.

  • Tell us a little about yourself — where you grew up, how you got into photography… your favorite ice cream flavor, etc.

I grew up in DC.  My parents are divorced so I split my time between Capitol Hill and NW.  I went to Edmund Burke for high school and got into photography there.  I won the art prize my senior year.  That was exciting.  I moved to NYC to study Photography at Parsons in 1998.  I lived there for nine years, waiting tables, wandering around, partying and photographing.  If I had to choose, I’d say my favorite ice cream flavor is mint chip – but I’ve been eating a lot of SO Delicious chocolate peanut butter coconut ice cream recently…so, maybe it’s changing.

  • Is this your first show in DC? How long has it taken you to coordinate?  Why did you choose a private residence over a typical gallery setting?

Talk of hanging this show started about a year ago when I first met Trish Hoppey – who is a lover of the arts and happens to have a gallery-like house right off 14th St. I had just moved back to DC after traveling around the country for a year making the work of Annabelle, Annabelle – one of the two projects featured in the show.  At the time I met Trish I only had negatives, and no place to print them. So, although it was a great thought a show was not realistic at that moment.  Fortunately, in the past 12 I have had shows in both NYC and Philly, which have (happily) forced me to print and frame the work. Once I had the prints, it only took about a month to get everything in order.  I like the fact that my first show in DC will be at a private residence.  I like the relatable, intimate nature of it.

  • Digital or film? Photoshop or Lightroom?  What technology do you utilize, if any, to achieve desired results?

I shoot film (Kodak Portra NC) and I use the computer for post-production.    I love the quality of film so I don’t see myself giving it up anytime soon, and, while giving up the darkroom was hard at first, I have really fallen for the digital print. I scan my negatives into the computer and use Photoshop, which allows a huge amount of flexibility and creative freedom, to prepare files to print.  To print, I use an Epson 9900 – and it’s wonderful.   Although sitting in front of a computer is not my favorite thing to do, having the computer as a tool has definitely stream lined my process.

  • As a photographer myself, I’m always intrigued to know the editing process.  Photographs can often have sentimental attachment associated with the moment or experience of when it was taken.  How do you cut out the great from the good or even the bad?

Because most of my work is lightly staged I generally have no sentimental attachment to the moment an image is taken.  For me it’s more about whether the image works or not.  It’s about how the image looks formally and what it is adding to or taking away from what I am tying to convey.   But, sometimes it is hard to step far enough away from yourself to be able to tell what’s great vs. what’s just good or even bad.  In those times I find it extremely important to have people I trust helping me to figure out what’s what.  But, honestly, I think it is very hard to make a successful image, so when I finally get excited about a photograph, I am fairly confidant that there is something to it.

  • Having gone to two of the best schools in the country (Parsons & Yale) do you think education makes the artist? Explain your position.

No.  I do not think the education makes the artist.  I know plenty of very talented artists who have no formal education.  However, I do think that my education has enhanced my art.  For me, making art is a really personal, emotional thing.  Before I had an education (specifically from Yale) I was unable to put words to my work.  I didn’t really know what I was doing or why – all I knew was that I had to do it.  But, because art is so personal I find it very important to be able to explain what it’s about.   My education taught me how to think, not just feel.

  • How did the decision to work with Ryan Holladay (of Bluebrain) come about?  Is the unreleased Bluebrain music, that can be heard at the opening party, something you helped to curate to match the look and feel of your photos

I have known Ryan for years and we have always been big supporters of each other’s work.  So, when Trish presented me with the opportunity to show at her house, I immediately thought of Ryan as someone who would be fun to collaborate with.  As far as music curation goes, I had minimal input, I left it mostly up to Ryan.

  • What’s in store for you next as an artist?

The fun of it is that I have no idea.  I’m going to keep making work and just roll with the punches.