Rona Keller – Artist Profile
Artist Statement: “I have learned that all I really need in my life is finding comfort in the things that matter to me.”
Please check out Rona Keller’s stellar collection of work at his Facebook, Flickr, Website, and deviantART.
1.What sparked your interest in photography, and when did you know you would pursue being an artist?
It always sounds very simple, but in the beginning I just wanted to take beautiful photographs. It was all about that feeling I had when returning home with something on my camera that made me excited, which I still get today.
I didn’t refer to myself as an artist for a very long time, so I don’t really think there was a point where I decided to be one. I really just experimented a lot until I found out what it was that I wanted to pursue further. It wasn’t until I thought about creating when waking up in the morning and all throughout the day that I realized I might have become one.
2. What other artists and art forms have influenced you and your work?
Very early on, I became a part of the Flickr community, which has been a huge inspiration since. I have learned techniques just from looking at other people’s work and trying out a lot, and made friends with quite a few other photographers who I have been following for a while. The people I draw inspiration from most are the ones who are passionate about something, and who aren’t afraid to go their own way.
3. Can you describe your current artistic process, habits, techniques you have formed?
Just as I am using two cameras, I have a feeling my art can be divided into two sections: Memories and feelings. I always carry my film camera with me to capture every little moment I find important and want to remember in the future. Of course there are a lot of feelings involved, but I tend to explore those further in my digital photographs. They are usually as much thought-out as my film photographs are spontaneous, and I tend to go back to thoughts I have written down that I then try to express in a photo. I am a lover of thinking back and being nostalgic as well as appreciating things the way they are now, and with my photographs I really just want to hold onto all of that.
4. Is storytelling important in your photography?
Very. Over the years, I have realized that what I really want my photographs to portray are the feelings that they can be identified with, mostly feelings I have had at some point in my life. I like portraits that are just beautiful, but what I really love are those that carry a story within the beauty. And that is exactly what I want to create.
5. What are some of your favorite books, poems, authors?
My favourite books are ”The Time Traveler’s Wife“ by Audrey Niffenegger and ”Where Rainbows End“ by Cecelia Ahern.
I also love the way John Green writes, but I enjoy coming back to passages that have been quoted (that I like to apply to my own life) more than reading his whole books.
6. Can you put into words the way you have evolved over time as a photographer?
I have a feeling I was a little late in my development of an open mind and interest for things that lie outside my comfort zone. Taking photographs and putting my thoughts and feelings out there has somehow helped me to find myself over the years, and for that I am thankful.
7. Where do you turn for motivation and new sources of inspiration?
Inwards — I always get inspired by having time for myself, and thinking a lot about the way I have been living my life, whether it made me happy or not. Taking photographs is my way of expressing and dealing with all that is inside me, as well as the world around me. My biggest inspiration has always been life.
8. Discuss the role of community and gallery showings, etc to your growth as an artist.
I haven’t had any experience with gallery showings so far, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for photo communities like Flickr and DeviantArt. When I first got into photography, I received so much feedback and love from the members of the latter that I really think they are the ones who kept me going. Eventually, I have found my own style and learned what I ascribe importance to, but in the beginning I really just needed the support they gave me.
And Flickr, as already mentioned above, has always been a community of wonderful artists and friends I am proud to be a part of.
9. What do you think is more important for your craft: passion, dedication, or raw talent and can you elaborate on why?
I don’t think you need talent in order to create something worthwhile, rather practice. And I am a strong believer that if something really makes you happy, even when there are breaks and times when you don’t feel like doing anything, you will always come back to it at some point — in the best cases dedication evolves as a lovely side effect. Passion, though, is something I think you need to have in the first place in order to create art that means something to you, which is really all that matters to me. Different kind of art might always appeal to different kinds of people, but for what it’s worth, nothing compares to the art you create being 100% you, and making you happy along the way.
10. What is a project, or theme you are currently working on, or something that is currently taking your attention, that you are aiming to explore in your work?
In my photographs, I have always focused on the way I see the world. Only recently I have thought about wanting to explore other people’s minds further, too. I have always had a hard time portraying a story when taking photographs of someone else, simply because I felt like I didn’t understand them enough. So what I would really like to elaborate more in my work is how to put other people’s stories into them, rather than my own, by still making them feel authentic. I think that might require a lot of work before the process of taking photographs even begins, but it might just be what I had been missing all along when having other people get involved with my photographs: Interaction, communication, and their input. So that when the moment finally comes, I might actually be able to convey their thoughts and feelings.