Women Crush Wednesday: Patty Carroll
Patty Carroll, currently a resident at Studios Inc. in Kanas City, Missouri, has been making an impact in the world through her photography since the 1970s. Carroll received her BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. After going through undergraduate, Carroll then earned her MS in Photography from the Institute of Design at IIT, Chicago graduating in 1972. Ever since leaving school Carroll has been actively making bodies of work, teaching at colleges and exhibiting her work internationally. Carroll is most noted for her series ANONYMOUS WOMEN which was recently published as a book by Daylight books.
Interview by Thomas Battistelli
1. When was the moment you realized you wanted to explore photography?
I was a student in graphic design at the University of Illinois. We had to take a photography class. When the guy (who later became my boyfriend) kissed me in the darkroom, I was hooked on him and photography! After I graduated, and I was working as a designer, I went back to graduate school and drifted even more to photography. I switched pursuits and graduate schools and got my masters in photography. I really wanted to pursue my own ideas rather than execute meaningless advertising, and photography gave me that opportunity.
2. You talk about your series connecting humor to pathos. What made you decide to take this direction of humor to the pathos?
To tackle issues that are difficult, it is often easier to do with humor. We can gain a perspective that otherwise might be too devastating. My mother had a great sense of humor and taught me to laugh at myself, and it shows up in my work.
3. How did you approach this series differently than your previous series? Did it come more natural to you or was there a lot of planning involved in the process?
This series has grown out of my desire to make fictional worlds in photography. Years ago when I was photographing at night out in the world, I looked for places that looked like stage sets, or did not look real. The idea of the hybrid world of reality and fiction stuck with me through various series of pictures. After all, who says reality is all it is cracked up to be?
4.The series Anonymous Women is broken up into different sections, which section have you felt to be the most important to you?
I think the series just grew. They are all iterations of the same issue: women being known through their domestic status. How that is defined or explored has changed with each section. I am not sure any picture or group of pictures are more important to me. I am more concerned with which pictures are able to convey the idea, and to which other people can relate. Beauty and accessibility are important to me.
5. Is the Anonymous Women series on going or has it come to an end? If it is on going where are you looking for inspiration? If it has come to an end what made you decide it was time to finish it?
I am kind of doing her in right now. She has gone through many trials in her life, and her objects, obsessions and home life has become overwhelming. Whether she finally succumbs or not is still up in the air. If she does finally die off, she may resurrect as a queen or a goddess. Not sure about this, I take each idea and picture as it comes!
1.How would you describe your creative process in one word?
2. If you could teach one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
I don’t want to teach any more. I only want to learn.
3. What was the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
Rear Window. It is not the last movie I saw, but I keep seeing it over and over again. I love the idea that a photographer likes to look into other people’s lives and make up stories about them, whether true or not.
4. What is the most played song in your iTunes Library?
It used to be “Welcome to my World” by Elvis, now I like listening to my niece, Rorey Carroll, and her song, “Rhythm.”
5. How do you take your coffee?
To see more of Patty's work visit here