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Conversations with Elise McKeown Skolnick

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elise McKeown Skolnick. 

Hi Elise, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I received my first camera at age 10 as a Christmas gift. From the moment I held it in my hands, I was intrigued. Even opening more presents lost its appeal. Instead, I made photos of my sisters and cousins (and I still have those photos!). Photography never lost its appeal for me. Wherever I went, I took a camera, and still do. Those initial photos I took with that 110-film camera were of things in my everyday life – people, pets, birthday cakes, Christmas trees… I still do some portrait photography but found my true calling to be in nature photography and photographing what I see around me. I shoot whatever intrigues me. I rarely shoot a whole scene, focusing instead on a small part or parts that catch my eye, only including what’s important for the story I want to tell. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Once I started making photos I wanted to make instead of trying to figure out what other people and jurors wanted, I found success. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I consider myself a fine art photographer. I love to visit new places and make photos of what I see. It might be a spider web shining in the sun, a flower, or a message someone scrawled on a wall. I look at everything around me, noticing the smallest details. I also find plenty to photograph in my everyday world, such as a downtown wall covered in vines or a tree. There is always something to see! I occasionally set up a shot, using things such as yarn and bits of nature I find. 

What does success mean to you?
Enjoying what I do! I never want photography to feel like work or a burden. It’s my happy place. 

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Elise McKeown Skolnick

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