Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Toe to Toe: Photographer Faith Blackwell

Photo courtesy of Faith Blackwell Photography
I love photography.  It's both an art form and a skill, and while I like to think I have an eye for pleasing composition, the technical and mechanical aspects of great photography are not my strong suit.  At least I'll never be accused of photoshopping my blog pics - red eye reduction, auto color correct, and instagram filters are pretty much the extent of my capabilities.  I am not a photographer.  

Occasionally, however, I get the benefit of working with excellent photographers.  Faith Blackwell is one them, and I'm honored to call her my friend.  Faith is a woman who followed her bliss and turned a passionate hobby into a career.  Senior portraits are currently her favorite subject, but she is also regularly booked for professional headshots, families, parties, and charity events (I first met Faith as the runway photographer for Dress for Success Indianapolis' annual Stepping Out In Style fundraiser, where she managed to make me look good modeling an outfit that was so far out of my comfort zone I was shaking when I stepped on the catwalk - thanks, Faith!)  I also have her to thank for the photos featured in a couple of prior posts (see her work here and here).
Photo courtesy of Faith Blackwell Photography 
Faith and I also have a shared passion - for SHOES!  When she's not shooting clients, she is constantly honing her craft, trying new ideas and pushing boundaries according to what inspires her.  A couple of years ago, she began shooting subjects in their favorite footwear - shoes that showed the "souls behind the soles," if you will.  As the project grew, the idea of a coffee table book took shape, and I was honored when she asked me to collaborate with her, interviewing the subjects and sharing their "sole stories."  We expect the process will take some time, but we're both excited about the prospect of meeting fascinating people and capturing on film and on the page a bit of what it's like to walk in their shoes. 
Photo courtesy of Faith Blackwell Photography
Faith is always the woman behind the camera, unobtrusively capturing moments great and small, but I wanted to learn more about what it's like to be in her shoes, so I asked her to go "toe to toe" with me in an interview (after which we took a "shoefie" and went shopping at Queen Bee Vintage!)
Post-interview, pre-shopping Toe to Toe "shoefie."  Those are Faith's super cool orange brogues on the left, and my Poetic License spectators on the right.
Q:  What motivated you to become a professional photographer?  A: Photography just happened for me. I did not go to school for it. I'd worked in marketing for 10 years. By the 8th year I could see things changing and started making plans. Photography had been a recent hobby and I could tell this was my passion. 

Q:  What is the most rewarding aspect of your chosen profession?  A: Getting to work with a diverse group of people who are creative, passionate and motivate me to step my game up everyday. 

Q:  What is your favorite subject matter to shoot?  High school seniors. I can combine fashion and photography to a group that is up for anything to make themselves stand apart. 

Q:  What is the most challenging aspect of the business?  A: Educating clients on the importance of photography and why you may feel like you're paying a lot. This is indeed a skill. 

Q:  How do you feel about the "selfie" phenomenon?  A: At first I didn't like it. I'm still not a fan of the bathroom selfie or using selfies for a professional profile image. But if used to capture a group of friends or family moment, I'm all for it. We can't have too many photos of loved ones. 

Q:  Any tips for choosing clothing that photographs well?  A: Choose something you feel confident in and that compliments you. Oh and bring plenty of options!

Q:  How do you stay motivated and creative?  Being around others who are passionate about what they do keeps me motivated. Creativity comes from any and everything. A: I just try not to fear attempting the unknown.

Q:  What was your inspiration for the shoe project?  A: The shoe project derived from an exhibit I was entering, the pump exhibit. I was racking my brain trying to think of subject matter when it dawned on me. SHOES!  I don't know any woman who don't love shoes. (And most men although they may not want to admit it). 

Q:  What is your vision for the finished product? The sky is the limit!  A: What I'm seeing now is a book with a collection of portraits. Shoes are just an opening. Wherever this project leads me, I'm willing to follow. 

Q:  What is YOUR favorite pair of shoes and why? A: The orange ones pictured. I've gone through a long journey and am still going through it. I used to LOVE my accessories and had lost that feeling for awhile. These are the first fun shoes I'd bought in awhile. Sort of a reintroduction. Getting back to me. More of who I want to be. 

Faith can be contacted through her website.  To see more of her work; meet the woman behind the lens; and check out her chic shoes, visit her at her studio April 25-26 at the Stutz Artist's Open House.  If you're a fan of art and photography and live in Central Indiana, this event is "can't miss" - great artists, unique galleries, live music, and classic cars in a historic downtown setting!
Photo courtesy of Faith Blackwell Photography
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!  


  1. What a fun post! I've met Faith and she's a delight. Didn't realize she was a shoe aficionado, also! Fabulous shoes here. I curse my narrow feet!

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