Following our post a few days ago introducing you to Louisville artist, Sheri Wright, here’s a few words from here stateside colleague – Michele Larocque:
Jon: Hi Michele – thanks for taking time out to take part in this interview. First of all – how did you get involved in the project?
Michele: The other Louisville photographer, Sheri L Wright, told me about it and asked if I’d be interested in participating.
Prior to taking part in this project how much did you know about Leeds?
I’d heard the name through British film and television but didn’t know much more than that.
What is your attitude to collaborative projects such as this?
It’s a good way to “shoot outside the box” as it were, and to find inspiration, motivation and common interests and with people you might not normally encounter.
What advice would you give to other creatives considering getting involved?
It’s a good opportunity to see what’s around you in ways that you might not during day to day routine. We get used to where we are, it often simply becomes the backdrop to our daily ramblings so we stop seeing what is there. With this project you have to look deeper into a place. It can help sharpen your creative eye.
Describe your general creative practice?
Mostly I just wander. I may have an area in mind, or feel that I should go to a certain place, so I’ll follow that impulse and most often it pays off. I do my best to leave expectations, mine and other people’s, out of the process.
I went school and got some formal training and that’s been useful in some respects, I still continue to study other people’s work. I have favorite photographers, Brett Weston, Imogen Cunningham, John Daido Loori, Cartier-Bresson, Kertesz and others that I go back to time and again, not to copy or emulate but to learn to see deeper. I don’t try to shoot in ways that are currently popular. I tried a few times to shoot things a certain way because I thought that it would make my work more accessible, and though I got some decent images they simply weren’t as strong as I felt my other work to be.
I work to stay true to my vision regardless of popular appeal. I let what I see through the viewfinder and the resulting image inform me as to how it wants to be seen. In Chinese there is the word “Pu” that is often translated as “the uncarved block,” and refers to a state of pure potential which is the primordial condition of the mind before the arising of experience. It points to perception without prejudice, i.e. beyond dualistic distinctions such as right/wrong, good/bad, black/white, beautiful/ugly. I practice working from that place.
Any recent highlights from your creative career?
I’ve had images published several literary journals
After this – what is next for you?
To keep shooting, moving, seeing deeper.
All images © Michele Larocque, all rights reserved. Why not look at more of Michele’s work?