We’re so lucky to have two great photography classes on offer at the Somerville Skillshare! First up is Edie Shimel’s Taking Better Pictures with Any Camera. Edie is a Somerville-based artist and educator who was recognized for her phenomenal talent at the 2012 “30 Under 30” exhibition at the Arsenal Center for the Arts.
Tell us about your background in the arts. How did you first get into photography?
My relationship with photography began when I was 13. I joined the photography club at my school and really fell in love with it. I was an Art Major in undergrad (I went to Sewanee) and then went on to get an MFA at UNC Chapel Hill. I tend to think of myself more of an artist than a photographer. The end result of my creative process these days happens to be a photograph. For a while the end result was painting. I’m sure the end result will become something else later on down the road as well. But photography is like a first love for me, I’m not sure whether it haunts me or helps me, so it will always be a part of me.
I have actually transitioned out of my role at the ICA, but what I learned there about teaching and art, for me anyway, that the two are not so different from one another. They are both ways of communicating and building up an idea. In the case of art, it’s a body of work; in the case of teaching, it was building the photography program. The Peabody Essex Museum provides such a wealth of materials, content, objects and diversity, that I am really able to experiment with programming.
People talk a lot about developing “an eye” for taking good pictures. Do you believe this is a skill anyone can nurture?
Absolutely! Its training yourself to see good compositions. Plus you have to take a lot of photos!
How does the Somerville arts community support you in your work? Do you have a studio space in your neighborhood?
I do have studio space. I have a darkroom that I share at Miller Street, and space at Vernon Street to set up shoots, paint, and otherwise piddle around. My husband actually has the studio next to me at Vernon Street. The community has supported us both in other ways too. For example, when we were looking to move into the neighborhood near Vernon Street, we put a sign up during open studios. It worked! That’s how we found our apartment.
Do Skillshare participants need any prior photography experience?
Nope! If they have a camera, be that a film camera, digital camera, phone camera, they should feel free to bring it!
Visit Edie on the web at EdieShimel.com.