Sharon Popek, a Knoxville, Tennessee, resident, is drawn to heavy shadows and bright lights. She also loves the black-and-white format.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Sharon, thank you for answering my questions. First, what inspired you to become a photographer?
Sharon Popek: I was a Fine Art Major in my 3rd semester of college. I had to take either drawing or photography. I had not had much interest in photography, but the class schedule worked with the rest of my schedule.
I got a Pentax K1000 and was hooked. I found that photography allowed me to see the world with a different eye. It lets me seize the moment as it is. But it also lets me express the feeling of that moment, especially through alternative photo processing methods.
Of course, in those days, that was mostly done through the print process, like cyanotype, polaroid transfers. I learned how to print on fabric and that became my medium of choice. The softness of fabric with the hard edge of a photo frame.
CM: What is your favorite subject to photograph?
SP: I love shooting historic places and items. However, in the last year or two, I've been experimenting with people and fantasy art. It's a toss up between travel photos and my studio work.
CM: What makes a good photo?
SP: A good photo draws you in and makes you think. There are plenty of nice to-look-at photos, but I like photos that make me want to get closer and see some more.
CM: What is the photo you prefer in your portfolio? Why?
SP: That changes every day. Right now, I'm really into some map collage work that combines my travel photos with old maps. That is likely to change a soon as I find something else that I like doing. The House Mapped by Sharon Popek
CM:Any photographer you admire?
SP: I have to tendency to be drawn to early photographers like Imogen Cunningham and Tina Modotti. They're experimental and emotional and documentary all in one. They were both drawn to pattern and light as I find shows up in my own work often.
CM: What piece of advice would you give photographers who are starting with online promotion?
SP: Be patient. Believe in yourself but be open to experimenting or trying something different.
I felt good about my early work. It was fine out of the camera, but it was not very interesting. When I started to look at other work, I realized I needed to step up my game and leave my comfort zone a bit. That has allowed me to grow and to create art that I am proud of.