Rebecca Moseman: B&W

Virginia native Rebecca Moseman received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1997 and her Master of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2001. She has worked in academia, private industry, and Government as an instructor, consultant, and graphic designer and does freelance work in photography and publishing. Her work has been exhibited throughout the US and abroad and has been selected on the cover of Black+White Magazine, and featured within Black & White Magazine, GUP, Resource, DodHo, and SHOTS Magazine.

 Are you a detail oriented person? 
I consider myself a detail oriented person with some things, and not so much with other things. My job as a graphic designer requires attention to detail, and I think this has translated strongly into my photography. I’m very careful about framing my photographs – what details to leave in and out of the frame, what kind of backgrounds I frame my subject within (some I have more control over than others since I don’t use a studio) light, and shadow. I’m also detail oriented in the editing of my photographs, both in sequencing my photographs to tell a story and how I use software products to organize and convert my photographs.

What is one fun fact about you?
I attended 9 different schools in 5 different states between middle school and graduate school – 2 of which were boarding schools.

 How and when did you start shooting professionally?
Gosh, I’m not sure I consider myself a “professional” photographer yet since I don’t make my living from photography. I became more serious about my photography about 6 years ago or so, after I felt I had developed my own unique style and personal vision. Developing my first series and working on particular projects has helped me stay focused and active in the field – and viewing other photographers work benefits not only my own photography but inspires me to push forward. Although I’m formally trained in design and I consider myself lucky to to have a career that allows me to be creative everyday, my true passion is photography.

What inspires your unique storytelling? 
Looking at other photographers’ work has always inspired me. I have learned from other photographers I admire, studying their work, how they see the world around them and how they capture and convey their vision to the world through their photographs. As I’ve matured as a photographer and my style has developed, I have discovered additional photographers that appeal and inspire me. I’m attracted to photographers who have a strong voice in their storytelling, such as Mary Ellen Mark, Dorothea Lange, Carol Guzy, and Emmit Gowin (to name just a few) – viewing their work is an experience. You as the viewer get to see the world through their eyes captured by the lens of their cameras. Experiencing their photographic stories has had a huge impact on my unique storytelling.

Why do you work only in B&W?
When I first started taking photographs, all my work was in color. But, as I honed in on my interest in portrait photography I found I could reach a more rich, intimate level for myself and ultimately for the viewer by photographing in black and white. For me, the color of the portrait photograph distracts me from the raw emotion of the subject.

 Your best memory as a photographer?
One of my best memories as a photographer was when I went back to Ireland to attend the Ballinasloe Horse Fair and was fortunate to find a traveler boy I had photographed the year before. I gave him a print of the photograph I had taken of him, and explained to him that his photograph was featured in The Boston Globe newspaper. He was so amazed and flattered, and every time I would run into him throughout the fair grounds that day he would ask me again and again if it was really real.

When you are shooting how much of it is instinctual vs planned? 
I rarely plan out my photographs, besides choosing my subject and how I set up the frame of my image. I don’t consider myself a street photographer, but there is some of that style when I attend events (such as the annual Ballinasloe Horse Fair in Ireland). Typically I have only a few seconds or minutes with my subjects to make a connection and capture a meaningful photograph. Other times I’m fortunate to spend more time with my subjects, getting to know them in an informal setting (usually outside) and photograph moments and interactions I observe. In my Into the Moon’s Room series, about my children and the loss of their aunt, my children and I collaborated together on some ideas but often times I just photographed them being natural or expressive within the moments we were sharing. Sometimes I may have an idea of what I’m hoping to capture, but often times find I end up capturing something beautiful and entirely different by following my intuition and instinct versus a plan.

Which camera do you usually use for shooting?
I’ve almost always photographed with a Nikon. I have both a D610 and a Z7 Mirrorless. Sometimes I will use my Olympus Mirrorless OMD II.

 What do you enjoy most about being a photographer?
Making an emotional connection to my subject and then sharing that to the world.

How did you get the idea to create the Irish Travelers project?
I consider myself a portrait photographer, and enjoy making photographs of people. I was originally interested in the Travelers because of what I had heard of them, and how they lived. I was fascinated by their culture and traditions. My goal in making these photographs is to document them and their way of life as it is now, and to display their unique heritage and unconventional yet historic way of living to a wider audience, in and outside of Ireland. They are mainly invisible to the Irish citizens, and they are desperate to have their stories of hardship heard and their unique culture appreciated and shared around the world.

What do you want the viewers to take away from your work?
Honesty, Vulnerability, Humanism, Beauty, Intimacy

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