The Guestbook: our interview with Edie Sunday

Edie Sunday is a unique photographer, she is authentic, both in her work and in the way she told us about herself at Collater.al. Her images are daydreams, which are not afraid to explore the subconscious, the emotions and the darkness and they do so through colors, shapes, and ways always new, that change along the path of life.

Us at Collater.al have asked Edie a few questions about her and her work:

Who’s Edie Sunday? Describe yourself with one of your photographs.

Chi è Edie Sunday? Descrivetevi con una delle vostre fotografie.

It seems your images are like daydreams. What do you draw inspiration from?

It’s a difficult question to answer, as I don’t often consider it. Drawing inspiration is something that naturally happens, but I don’t seek it out. I couldn’t tell you artists or films or anything of the sort that directly inspire me. Rather, I think I draw inspiration from a multitude of visual and emotional experiences in my daily life. I know I have always been inspired by the outdoors, as that is where I spent most of my time growing up. I am clearly drawn to surreal landscapes. I live in an area of my home state where the sun rises in a different, equally beautiful way each morning. It’s the same land, but it looks like a different planet on a different day.

I think the other primary thing I draw inspiration from is history– decades past and the objects that remain from those times. I have been a collector of antiques since I was a small child, I think I always wanted to be in a different world. I imagined that somehow, I would fit better in another time and place. So I collected jewelry, small paintings, photographs, cameras, books, and more, mostly from the Victorian era to the 1930s. Surrounding myself with those beautiful things that were blooming with stories, humanity, and emotion, melancholy and mysterious beauty, helped me feel like I inhabited my own world, one where time did not exist, and where I did not have to invite anyone in. 

And, the way that the turquoises, blues, and greens of my antiques faded over the years to become saturated but somewhat murky and dark directly inspired my use of color in my work. Perhaps most obviously, I draw inspiration from the inner-workings of my mind.

I process a lot of my emotions and experiences through making art. It’s where I can be the most vulnerable. 

Is there any particular reason why you shared these shots with us?

Well, they are some of my favorites that range from the earliest days of my shooting with the intention to present day. So it’s a bit of an homage to the past decade, reminding me that my most creative times come in bursts and that the evolution of my work is not linear. Some of the photos are painful to look at, even though they are my favorite, as the subjects are sometimes people I once loved but broke away from. I’m intent that despite the loss of a relationship, the work I made with that person will not be affected. The photos are their own entity, somehow brought to life by the two of us but entirely separate from us at the same time. 

What do you think is the future of images in our society?

I am the wrong person to ask. I am somewhat pessimistic on this subject and I also don’t work commercially and try to stay away from the insane influx of “images” into our daily lives. On one hand, I find it amazing that so many people have gravitated towards making photos in recent years. It has definitely increased the quality of the images that surround us. On the other hand, “decent” photographs are so common now: one can pick up an expensive camera and press the shutter and produce a professional looking photo, that the art of it is becoming somewhat watered down.

For most of history, photography has been a trade or hobby that required highly specialized training and knowledge and a lot of patience. Photographers were once more highly regarded as both artists and professionals, I think. In the age of social media, calling oneself a photographer is hardly different from calling oneself a cell phone user. People are also quite reluctant to pay us, as we are a dime a dozen now.

In sum, the future of images is bright for the commercial world (if you can find a way to make money!), and there are so many wonderful photographers to work with. But the future of photography as an art is questionable, to me. It will either die or evolve back into the art form it once was. 

What motivates you to take pictures? What advice would you give to those who are approaching this world?

I just love to do it. From the time I could press the shutter on a polaroid, I took photos of everything. It was and is, as I’ve said in the past, a sacred magic to me. It was also a way for me to be a wallflower and rather than participate in life, to observe and document the moments I witnessed. As I have gotten older, I feel less of a need to hide behind my camera, but when I need to, it’s always there. I don’t know…I just wouldn’t know how to exist without making photos. It is such a part of who I am. Sometimes I take photos to capture a specific, surreal beauty, sometimes to express and process emotion, and sometimes just to document the beauty I find in the ordinary. Also sometimes to capture the darker sides of reality. So, you could say that just being alive motivates me to take photos

As far as advice, I can’t give any to those who are looking to approach the commercial photography world. But for those who want to make art because every bone in their body compels them to, my advice is to create, create, create. Create without regard for the opinions of others (and stay off of platforms like Instagram for as long as you can, as it will inevitably poison your process unless you have a highly developed sense of self and a healthy degree of self-esteem). Create without regard for the final product.

Create for catharsis, for peace in times of turmoil, for engaging yourself with your world after you’ve realized you’ve become detached. Take photos to remember the things you have loved. To remember your life and all of the tiny moments that have made you who you are; moments our minds are incapable of cataloging entirely. Experiment and say fuck the rules. There are no rules, no matter how much some rigid, technical photographer (or mechanic, as I like to call them) tells you there are. Make whatever is true to you, and if it happens to feel true to others, that’s lovely, but I caution against creating solely for others.

And lastly, just remember that you are just as special as any other person making art. You are just as deserving of engaging in that process. Just be authentic, honest, and sincere and.. all good things will come from there. 

Follow Edie’s take over on @Collater.al Instagram profile!

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