A few weeks ago, I happened across Beth Retro's Flickr photostream and I was instantly smitten. It should be noted that colors get me all sorts of worked up. Kind of like how mockingbirds get all uppity about shiny objects, anything with bright colors -- from fireworks to photographs -- instantly gets me excited and happy. I can literally feel the color as it hits my eyes and seeps into my bloodstream. The bolder the better. It has occurred to me that perhaps, this puts me on a stimulus level somewhere near a small child or borderline aggressive laboratory monkey.
Naturally, I love surrounding myself with hues that pop, which is why I knew I needed to pick up a few of Beth's prints. I reached out to Beth, who sent me to her Beth Retro Etsy shop. And I think we all know what happens when I find myself in Etsy shops. As I've said before, some people black out and wake up with strange men in their beds. I black out and wake up with Etsy bills.
Beth also graciously mentioned that if there was something not listed in the shop that I took a liking to on her Flickr page, she'd be happy to make those prints for me. Beth's portfolio is filled with interesting, mesmerizing, and dazzling photos. The more I combed through her sets, the more I fell in love with her delicate style. Some photos are fun and poppy, while others are contemplative and calming. And of course, I love her experimentation with nostalgia.
I spent a good 24 hours clicking through every single beautiful photo on Beth's site, until I landed on the perfect three. And in this case, whittling my choices down to just three was less than easy.
During our back-and-forth, I also asked Beth if she would like to be featured here on Yellaphant, and she generously agreed to to do a PRINT GIVEAWAY. WOOT WOOT. I'm finding that artists are generally very agreeable people. Especially when you stalk them.
Last time I asked you to describe your style. This time, all you have to do to enter the Great Beth Retro Photography Giveaway is leave a comment telling me your favorite Beth Retro photograph from either her Etsy shop or her Flickr sets. If your name is selected, the print is yours for keeps. And if you re-tweet or link to this post, you'll be entered twice. Make sure you tell me if you do! The contest will be open until next Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day, ya'll) at midnight, and I'll announce the winner on Tuesday, May 26.
If you're anything like me -- which I assume you are because why else would you come back here after listening me talk about poop -- you'll be spending a long time pouring over Beth's work. In other words, I totally just gave you something to help you waste away your Friday afternoon at work. You're welcome. Happy browsing!
Beth also agreed to answer a few of my questions, because after pouring over her photos, I definitely wanted to get to know that adorable British gal behind (and in front of) the lens a little bit better.
Your photos are all about color. What color inspires you most?
Colour is very important to my photography. I think the use of it can evoke so much feeling in a picture. I do appreciate some photographs more in black and white, but mostly I am drawn to colour images. I find that the colour red has inspired me the most so far. I’m not sure why, other than the fact that it’s such a strong colour and full of passion.
Where else do you find inspiration? It seems like you find a lot in the color and beauty of the English countryside. I've never been to England but one of my college roommates grew up outside London. She was loud and obnoxious and awesome, so naturally she fit in really well in America.
Inspiration can be found in the strangest, or equally the most simple, places. I find inspiration everywhere. You just have to look in the right way, if you know what I mean. The world is full of great things waiting to be photographed, but our surroundings often seem too familiar. To find the potential for great photographs it is necessary to look at the world with fresh eyes everyday. The biggest inspirations for me are music and literature. To me, there is real magic in the union of music, lyrics and images.
Speaking of music, so many of your photos are titled after songs. Which comes first: Do you hear the songs and envision a photo, or do you see the photo and hear a song?
This process can work for me both ways. Although I find the usual way is for me to take a photo and then suddenly realise that it reminds me of a song. There are exceptions, such as “Erase and Rewind,” which I took recently. That picture was one hundred per cent inspired by the song. I had the idea in my head for days before shooting it.
What's your favorite song of all time? Wait let me guess. "Enter the Sandman" by Metallica. Your photos scream Metallica.
Haha. I haven’t heard that one. But I’m not a Metallica fan… I’m not sure I could choose one favourite song of all time, but some favourites would be “Bluebells” by Patrick Wolf, “Common People” by Pulp, “There is a light that never goes out” by The Smiths, “Can’t stand me now” by the Libertines, “80’s Life” by The Good the bad and the Queen, “With or without you” by U2. There are so many more…
What does a typical day look like for you, and how much time is spent with your camera in hand?
To be honest, I use my camera as much as I possibly can. I take photos everyday now. Whatever my schedule looks like, my camera will always make it into my hands at some point. My favourite days are those when photography can take over from everything else. I am definitely at my happiest when I can take photos for hours, uninterrupted.
What types of cameras do you shoot with, and which one is your "baby?"
I’d have to say that my “baby” is my canon DSLR because that’s the only real camera love I’ve experienced thus far! The only other camera I use is a Polaroid, and due to the price of film I don’t get to use it as often as I’d like.
Who is your favorite artist? Any medium. Any time in history.
Probably Gustav Klimt. Although I find it hard choosing favourites!
If you could name your artistic style, what would you call it? I'd call it "Soul Shattering" or maybe "Rainbeautious" or how about "Better Than Yours." Definitely not "Retro" though. I don't know who ever told you that.
I’d like to consider myself an artistic photographer, because art is my main inspiration and focus point. I don’t think I could really be more specific and I feel like I’m still developing my personal style at the moment. It’s something which changes with time.
Thank you so much, Beth. Your photographs are beautiful! And these readers don't like them, we can skin them and hang them from my wall too. I know where they sleep. It puts the lotion in the basket.
And don't forget, if you're a maker of pretty things and want to be a Yellaphant featured artist (helloooo who wouldn't?), holla at me. I'll be gentle.