Name: Austin Irving
When did you start shooting?
When I was 8 or 9. My dad gave me a hot pink Ninja turtle camera and I started and have never stopped.
Why do you suppose he gave you the camera?
I come from a family of visual artists. My dad is a filmmaker.
Did you go to an art school?
I went to NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and graduated out of the department of photography and imaging.
What a luxury to spend 4 years studying something you love, right?
Oh yeah, it was a dream for me, and it was the first time that I felt like I fit in.
I got there and realized that there were other photography nerds as obsessed as I was.
I mean in high school I painted my room black and lit it with red light. I just wanted to be in a darkroom all the time.
I totally understand that. When I was in college, I took a year of photography.
I would go into the darkroom at 5 and emerge at 2 in the morning, and it was as if no time had passed.
Right? It’s like a casino! No time. I like timeless spaces and actually, caves are another kind of timeless vortex.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that I am able to share with the world my unique point of view, and my interest in light and color. These are things I meditate on. Light and color are a form of spirituality for me.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
Balancing my need to express from an outgoing personality with the amount of alone time that my art requires.
My work often requires long exposures at night in desolate environments.
I don’t want to say that it can get lonely, but it does get quiet.
Do you believe in a higher power and if so what do you call it?
Yes I do, and I call it spirit.
Do you believe that this spirit impacts your work?
Yes, I feel that it moves through me and that I am a channel through which it creates something much larger than myself.
If you woke up tomorrow and had absolutely no fear in any area of your life what would you do?
I would put myself out there more in the area of self-expression and performance. I would get out more and more from behind the camera.
Sounds like it’s that balancing thing again, isn’t it?
It’s a tough one when there are two distinct sides to the personality.
For what would you like to be forgiven?
I would like to forgive myself, for treating myself so badly for so many years, and for not allowing myself to celebrate my joy and my beauty.
YOU can see Irving's photographic series, "CAVES" in a solo show for one night only on Saturday, January 26, 2013 from 6-10 p.m. at The Silverlake Art Co.
CAVES is a collection of large format photographs of underground caverns throughout Southeast Asia and the United States. The photographs are a unique look at natural environments that have been crated to cater to the physical needs of sightseers, as well as our collective fantasies of what a cave should look like.
"Austin's photographs enhance my belief in other dimensions. Her images act like doorways to another side that features fantastic caves, glistening lights and otherwordly atmospheres." - Daniel Rolnik, Curator.
"Austin Irving's photographs evoke both beauty and spirituality within a confined space. Her work strikes me as not only a valuable addition to new voices in contemporary photography but reflects upon a photographer's remarkable insight into picture making." - Deborah Willis, Ph.D., NYU.
Irving's work has been included in numerous collections and exhibits in New York and Los Angeles. For more information on the artist, visit www.austinirving.com