I am honored to be in the company of such divine visionaries known as photographers! Most often it begins with my being asked to be a subject in a project and from there, friendships blossom. However, meeting TT Coles, Atlanta’s rising fine art photographer, was a different story altogether. In fact you can say it was an “exercise” in chance :-).
Between TT’s shoots with recording artists for album covers to expectant mothers all-in-a-glow, I got a chance to sit down with the former army specialist and learn more about her “shooting range”…
Earthcandy:When did you become interested in photography?
TT Coles: I’ve always been interested in photography from an admiration standpoint. I’m an extremely visual person and I’ve been drawn to strong imagery for as long as I can remember. I didn’t realize that I could create it and actually be good at it until about 4 years ago when I bought my condo. I was given a simple “point and shoot” camera by a friend and I decided that it would be a good idea to take portraits of my friends and family to use as wall art. Once I started shooting, I was hooked and I’ve had a camera in my hands ever since.
EC: How do you describe your photographic style?
TT:I don’t know that I have loyalty to a particular style of shooting. I experiment with angles, lighting, the way different textures read in a photo, fashion, documentary, fine art, etc. What I HAVE noticed is that I prefer a specific subject, which happens to be people. Although I admire all sorts of photography like still life and landscapes, I’m in the business of all things human and interactive. I’m drawn to the energy that people emit whether they know I’m photographing them or not.
EC:Who are your influences?
TT: As far as photography in general is concerned, I’m influenced by any and everyone that I intersect with. In terms of being influenced by other photographers, I would have to say that it all depends on the day or the hour. I’m terribly impressionable and my influences range from Gordon Parks to Thierry Le Goues to Annie Leibovitz to Henry Cartier-Bresson…and that includes just about everything in between.
TT: Hmmmm…I think my first WOW photo was actually a fairly recent photo. One of the struggles that I have as a photographer is immediately “falling in love” with my own images the way I do when I sometimes view someone else’s great images. I don’t know if it’s because I spend so much time with my image from shutter click to presentation…or if I’m drawn to someone else’s images because I’m invited to look at it through a completely different perspective…but the first photo of mine that did it for me was the portrait of Fahamu Pecou that also just happened to make the cover of Creative Loafing, Charlotte. The minute that I finished editing that photo, I smiled so big to myself…
EC: Tell your funniest/scariest/most bizzare/most touching story from a photo shoot…
TT: The story that sticks out most in my head is a really fun shoot that I had with my Aunt Jennifer (Gee-Gee). When I got my first “real” camera (Nikon D50), I would try to shoot anything moving. When my family would see me coming with the camera, everyone would try to get out of my way. I went to Pennsylvania to visit family one spring with camera, tripod and plenty of crazy ideas in tow. No one wanted to pose for me except for my younger cousin Jennifer and my Aunt Jennifer. They played dress up for me and when my cousin got tired, my aunt was still game to keep going. For hours we were silly and serious and sometimes absolutely ridiculous. She didn’t care if the pictures were going to turn out good or not, she believed in me and she loved me enough to humor me. She has since passed away but I still have those pictures (some of which turned out really good) to remind me of how young and beautiful and vibrant she was…and how lucky I am to have been loved by her.
TT Coles’ work is defintely loved by all who lay eyes on it. If you haven’t seen her photography, fall in love here. Take a look below and she why she’s so FLY…