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Art & Life with Aimee Santos

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aimee Santos.

Aimee, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I earned a degree in Photojournalism from San Jose State, where I learned about documentary photography and visual storytelling. During my studies, I was selected to attend the Eddie Adams Workshop and volunteered for the Sydney 2000 Olympics at the Basketball Dome. I interned for newspapers in Texas, Missouri, Georgia and here in California, this experience showed me what I was capable of in a deadline environment and challenged my creativity with situations I had no control over. But being one who wanted more control over my imagery I sought out work as a freelance photo editor and found it in Los Angeles where I stayed for 7 years working in the image syndication world.

I soon found the glass ceiling to be an issue and I wanted to push my creative talents once more which lead me to earn an MFA in Photography back up in Northern California. The immersion of creative talent around me gave me the opportunity to flex my writing skills as well as learn new ones by spending time in the Woodshop and Metal Works Foundry. Towards the end of my studies, I was drawn back to documentary work by stepping into the studios of my fellow artists and capturing their art making practices to then share with others. I am now back in Los Angeles working in image syndication while still creating personal projects and documenting artists in their studios.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My current project ‘Dolls of Color’ is shot on medium format film with studio lights in a controlled environment. The subject matter blends both the beauty of nationality and individual expression that is reflective within a ‘toy’ collected by adults and children alike. This project also carries the element of time and how things change, through the dolls, and stay the same, with the analog film. The message within this work is to see the beauty within us all and capture the essence of how we saw toys when we were all small kids, peering intently and looking at every detail. I am also trying to capture a nostalgia that I can never get back so in a way these shots carry a sadness because time cannot be reversed. In a way, however, I am freezing time in a medium of film because it is tangible and impenetrable from the possible destruction that data can create over time to digital files. My hope is to give the viewer that butterfly feeling they would get as a kid when they got a new toy, that love for an inanimate object and the attached emotion that comes with it.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
Alfred Eisenstaedt once said ‘Photographers are like spiders; they are all alone. They don’t come together often.’ Photography has this stigma that we all want to get the shot so we don’t gather together much, but this is a misnomer. Like in any art form it is the artist who chooses the isolation and I say this speaking from experience, which is ironic because I have found that artists love to talk about their work. In reality, there are events happening all the time that an artist can go to, to meet and chat with other liked minded people, artist or otherwise. For me personally, there is a whole new generation that is in love with analog film and this brings me so much excitement and curiosity to seek out others that share this adoration. I started with podcasts and have now moved up to meetups with other photographers as well as annual events that showcase new work because in addition to being a photographer I love editing and doing in-person portfolio reviews is also another passion that gets me out and about within the photo community.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Right now I am in the making phase, I need to get these images out of my head before I can think of physical exhibitions, but I do dream of them being on walls.

You can see the project as it grows on my site. And you can interact with my daily posts on Instagram @aimeesantosphoto

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photo © Aimee Santos

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