Interview published in the Who’s Next blog.
Coming from the USA, April Wiser is a very talented professional photographer living in Paris since 2009. Here are her answers for our Q&A…
Can you briefly introduce yourself ?
Sure, I’m April. I’m an American photographer born in Fargo, North Dakota (I was living in Minneapolis, Minnesota however) and now I live in Paris since September 2009. I’m a very curious person, I like to learn and discover new things and know why something is the way it is. I work on photographs of people and I make auto-portraiture as well.
How did you start as a photographer? Is it something you were always interested in?
It’s something I had to be honest about.
My first camera was a purple, plastic Vivitar point and shoot camera with 110 film! I was 7 years old. From there though I went in a completely different direction and eventually I was studying biology at my university classes when I was 16. During this time I was experimenting with auto-portraiture and snapshots of friends. I went back to university at 21 to study interior design and I decided to take an intro photography course and that was it for me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was skeptical about finding a career as a photographer but I really felt that I finally found what I wanted to do. So I said screw it. I quit interior design school, took a Bachelor of Fine Arts Photography program in Minneapolis and decided to continue studying in Paris. I’m in love with this town so I decided to stay to start my path.
I can’t see myself doing anything else, and I believe it has to be that way to succeed as a photographer. It really is a challenge. Every time I shoot I learn something new, that really pushes me forward.
Also because I see photography as a language and a way to communicate and express thoughts/ideas/feelings etc.
Other artists or photographers you admire?
Artists: Laura Laine, Wes Wilson, Bonnie Maclean, Hans Richter, Alphonse Mucha
Photographers: Francesca Woodman, Man Ray, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Diane Arbus, Joel Peter Witkin, Richard Bellia, Gilbert Garcin, Dora Maar, David Bailey, Henri Cartier Bresson, Helmut Newton, Mick Rock, Dominique Isserman, Cathleen Naundorf, Richard Avedon, Paolo Roversi, Sarah Moon, Peter Lindbergh, Guy Bourdin, Nan Goldin…I could go on and on.
What are your sources of inspiration ?
It depends on what I am working on. I definitely look to the past. I’m really moved by the imagery that comes from hearing music. I love 60s psychedelia and that era/culture in general is very stimulating. Reading words and poetry inspire vivid images for me. I try to think about how feelings and sounds look.
Also, living in Paris! It’s cool to be in a town surrounded by art and creative people everywhere. Very inspiring for me.
For the purists, what kind of equipment do you use?
The things that are constant: Nikon film and digital cameras and I’m usually working with a 50mm lens.
Fashion, what for?
I’m interested in aesthetics and what makes something or someone beautiful and fashion photography is a perfect medium to explore this. It’s special when it all comes together and you find people you work well with who are in the same mindset.
Your favorite addresses in your city?
I go where the awesome shows and concerts are happening! I guess I am often around Bastille, Ménilmontant, Pigalle, Belleville. For art openings I go to the Marais or the 6th district usually.
Your last concert ?
Wall of Death/Oscillation/Frustration at La Maroquinerie, rad show!
Your last exhibition ?
Helmut Newton at Le Grand Palais
Where would you like to travel ?
I think India would be amazing, I’d love to spend some time there.
Describe a successful evening/night?
Making a discovery or learning something new that is moving, even better if it is with someone important to me!
Friday night out, what’s you favorite drink?
Maybe a white beer with lemon, I have really turned girly!
Your news and plans for the future?
I plan to stay in Paris. I am currently working on completing an auto-portrait series inspired by the surrealists from the 20s and a beauty/portrait series of women musicians in Paris.
One last word ?
Don’t fight it, feel it!