An Interview with Kelly Perl

Kelly Perl's Fast Food Fortress #1

DC-based architectural and industrial photographer Kelly Perl is a fellow artdc forum member, and I recently had a chance to learn more about her work. From her website: Interestingly enough, much of what I shoot is no longer in that form within a few months. I love how she's documenting the processes of both decay and building, sometimes in the same shot.  

Q: What's the one thing you'd like people who aren't familiar with you/your work to know about you?

A: I am an architectural photographer, and I shoot parts of buildings or groups of buildings to find abstract compositions within them. In fact, I’d consider shooting only one building for my art a sort of plagiarism.

Q: Why photography?

A: I had a latent interest in photography when I was a kid, even had a friend whose parents had a darkroom, but my folks didn’t have much disposable income so I didn’t think about it seriously at the time.

One day in 1999, I was in Pittsburgh and saw railroad tracks, possibly abandoned, built against a small hill. I told myself if I ever came that way again, I’d have a decent camera and take pictures. I’ve never been there since but within a year I did have a 35mm film camera.

Q: Do you shoot intuitively, with a hardcore plan, or somewhere in between?

A: Somewhere in between. I shoot in the field so I have to have an idea where I’m going that day. I tend to spend a few weeks in a general area and then go somewhere else. Recently, I have been shooting up and down Rhode Island Avenue in the Gateway area and I’ll just go where my eyes want me to go. I often go back to places to reshoot, and my best picture will be something I haven’t planned at all.

I am an economist by profession and only started taking pictures in my mid-thirties. I have to be attuned to the nonverbal and nonmathematical and be willing to follow an impulse all the way to exhibiting something. I have works that I think are good and cannot tell you why. Fast Food Fortress #1 (above) is one of those.

Q: What are you thinking of working on next?

A: Unconventionally shaped work. Right now I have a triangular work that is the real art within a photo of a wall in Brentwood, Maryland. I also have a row of warehouses in DC that I’m trying to fit in triangular form.

Q: What do you feel is the best thing about being an artist in the DC area?

A: For a photographer, it’s that there are many people working different processes. I shoot 35mm digital and medium format film, in color. Even the medium format is conventional when there are photographers in the area who make tintypes, use a Holga for serious work, shoot large format pinhole, or play with emulsions.

Visit her website to see more of her work. Thanks, Kelly! And keep shooting :)

No comments:

Post a Comment