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Q&A with Photographer Claire Carroll

Lifesaver by Claire Carroll won the Juror's Choice award in the "Pop Art" exhibit.
Lifesaver by Claire Carroll won the Juror’s Choice award in the “Pop Art” exhibit. (click for a larger version)

With larger-than-life colors and bold presentation, the photograph above isn’t shy about putting the “pop” in “Pop Art,” our April exhibit juried by Robin Nicholson. Nicholson selected Claire Carroll’s Lifesaver for the Juror’s Choice Award, and his wasn’t the only eye it caught: it was also selected by Trae from Chadwick’s as the inspiration for his Art on the Rocks cocktail.

We asked the artist to tell us more about Lifesaver and make an Art on the Rocks prediction:

What was your goal with Lifesaver?
Claire Carroll: I love the simplicity. It was all about the shapes, the colours and the negative space. Lifesaver was shot from the balcony of a hotel room in Provincetown, MA. I had just checked in and walked straight out to the balcony, looked down at the swimming pool and this image jumped at me. The combination of the clean lines of the lifesaver and the beautiful contrast of the colours really appealed. I wanted it to say, “I am a lifesaver. Here I am.”

What’s your creative process like, from an idea to a finished piece?
As a photographer I don’t always go out with a plan in mind to create a particular image. I find so much inspiration just walking around. The creative process is a natural progression from the things that I see. They have their own look which I might enhance a little.

How did you achieve the look you were after for Lifesaver?
I cropped this image to deliberately place the lifesaver in the centre and I enhanced the vibrance of the colors.

Why are you a photographer?
I want to record what I see and how I see things. I enjoy seeing the unusual or beautiful in something that is not perhaps immediately obvious. The thrill I get from making a successful image is addictive! I have been taking photos since I was quite young and in the 1980s did a degree in Fine Art — photography formed a part of that course. I shoot a lot and digital has certainly made that easier.

Claire Carroll, Susquehanna Swans
Claire Carroll, Susquehanna Swans

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I honestly don’t know! My degree in Fine Art was originally sculpture but I changed to printmaking after a year. I have always felt I was artistic but it is only in the last two years that I have started to focus primarily on photography. I really feel I have found my niche.

What are you working on now?
I have recently started looking at motion blur. I have spent a lot of the last two years trying to get tack sharp images of birds, which are my passion. In the process I discovered the beauty of blur! I am experimenting with this with wildlife and with people in motion, whether in sports or everyday activities.

What kind of drink do you think this will inspire?
A creme de menthe-based cocktail called The Lifesaver would be perfect!

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