Have you ever looked at a piece of art and had this feeling start in your stomach or at your sacrum, the one that makes you stop for a moment, because that art has spoken to you? It doesn’t always happen, hell, most times we are so blind to the all the art and media that surrounds us that it really takes something to blow up in your face for you to stop and realize that someone is speaking to you. The photographs by Danielle Fedorshik stopped me cold. The first one I ever saw was called Salted Stars and it looked like a morning after a bush party when I had woken up on the cold ground and frost was all over the dirt.. it looked like someone seeing through my eyes and telling me they had been there.
It reminded me of playing in the garden as a child and inspecting life super close up with a magnifying glass just because. When I looked more into her work, I felt a very strong connection, to not only the work, and the aesthetic, but also to Danielle. I felt and still feel like something pushed me towards her, and I reached out, and asked her for an interview. Drunk in a Graveyard, is anything but your average horror and alternative media site, and this is the first time we have covered the work of a photographer, so prepare to be blown away by this heavy metal lady, so let’s all crowd around the fire and drink some PBR.
Robin Goodfellow: What brought you to the medium of photography and what cameras do you use?
Danielle Fedorshik: I took photography as a freshman [highschool], and after I turned in my first assignment the photography teacher just locked on to me. He treated me like I was the best student he had ever had, and we bonded over the next few years. He is like a second dad to me. A really cool old dude with a badass muscle car, and a deep love for the Ramones. So he is how I got into photography, but the second I got a camera into my hands for the first time I was in love.
I used to use a couple different kinds of film/digital Canon Rebels, and now I have a Canon 5D with two lenses [Canon is all I have ever worked with, and I hope one day to add to my equipment!]
Whenever someone asks me about cameras I just start gushing about Canons. I can’t help it.
I also have a ‘point and shoot’ digital Canon Powershot ELPH 100 HS 12.1MP that is actually what I have used for a large amount of my texture, and abstract photography.
RG: Tell us about your creative process. What does it involve?
DF: I see myself as a seeker [which relates deeply to my favorite fantasy series called the Sword of Truth where the main character is called ‘The Seeker’]. I’ve spent my entire life looking for something. I don’t do any serious planning when I shoot. I do prepare by making sure my gear is ready, that I know where I’m going, but I’ve never been good at executing ideas. I keep my eyes open, and move outwards until something pulls me to it. I never would have met the people I’ve met, or noticed the beauty in nature if I hadn’t opened myself up to it all. The process of creating an image for me is very fast. Unless travel keeps me from getting to my computer I usually turn around images in a day. I crack a beer, upload my images to Lightroom, and just…work. I take in every single shot over, and over, and over again. I edit down slowly, but decisively. Until there is only a small batch left. Usually less than 100. Then I take a break so I don’t stress out my eyes. After that just more editing until I get down to the final shots or shot. I never was good with film, because I will take 200 shots just to get ‘the one’, and it’s only thanks to digital photography that someone like me can actually work like that without wasting 1000s of dollars on film! My last step is fine tuning in Photoshop CS5. Mostly just resizing, but sometimes I have to remove a lamp post, or do detailing, etc.
To summarize: shoot a ton, edit down, edit down again [in lightroom], and then finish off the final shots in PSCS5
RG: Many of your photographs have an icy cold stillness to them much like black metal. How do you create this atmosphere?
DF: Practice, preference, and editing. I had to learn how to be a good photographer before I could learn how to be an artist [does that make sense?] The people who break the rules best, are the ones who know them best. I under-expose shots. Over contrast them. Over clarify them. Blow out whites. Pixelate shadows. Etc. I [in a way] am destroying my photos by making them into my art.
There’s also a lot of influence from the music I listen to, the artists I respect, and my own feelings that turned my photos into the darker pieces they are now.
RG: Recommend some music for us.
Danzig. Danzig. Danzig. [did I mention Danzig?] Especially ‘The Lost Tracks of Danzig Volume I & II’ Highly recommend that. Other than him I’ll try to keep this short: Windir [especially the album Likferd], Behemoth did an album called ‘And The Forests Dream Eternally’ that I love, Celestial Bloodshed, Watain, Albannach [not metal, but traditional scottish music gets me good], MOTORHEAD, The Doors, Elvis, Faun, Fauna, Dead Can Dance, Wardruna, Fever Ray, Graveyard, Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, In Death I Become [friends old band], Hunter’s Ground [friends new band], Black Crown Initiate [bfs band], Inquisition, Overkill, Johnny Cash, Townes van Zandt, The Meteors, The Reverend Horton Heat, Sylvus, Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, Warbringer [only their first album], and honestly I feel like I could list my entire Itunes library, but those hit home for me.
RG: What are some of your current goals with your art?
DF: I want to do more collaborations! Noctexturned fabric printed with my photography into some absolutely beautiful garments, and I would love to work with more people who can use my work to help create something so special.
Other than that I would like to eventually have my own shop. Society6 [the website I use now to sell my work] keeps almost all the profit, and one day I’d like to produce my own items. I also just want to be ‘known’ I suppose. For people to remember me as a great photographer, and to look forward to my new work/projects as much as I do.
RG: List some of your current favourite things. Can be anything.
SacraLuna’s work on Etsy
The snapping turtle remains I’m cleaning up.
Jeff Elstone just came out with some more work, and his photography is always amazing.
Salt n’ Vinegar chips
High River Hot sauces [they are run by a metalhead, and their sauces are amazing].
The World’s End [movie]
Dragon’s Blood incense
Corcoran Paratrooper boots
RG: In times of doubt – where do you find inspiration?
DF: Anger. Honestly. I get very angry with myself in times of doubt. I try to use it as fuel. If that doesn’t work- I drink until the problem sorts itself out.
[I am not a person who copes with weakness in a healthy way so my way won’t work for everyone.] My apologies if that answer is too rash.
DF: Favourite: spent a weekend with my best friend for her birthday. We got properly trashed, saw Graveyard live in DC, and just bonded like old times. It was wonderful.
Least Favourite: I got into a few fights that make my gut churn just thinking about them. Those would have to be the worst.
RG: Words of wisdom for aspiring artists, photographers?
DF: Whatever medium you want to use [camera, paint, needle n thread, etc]- become a master of it first. Learn your tools. THEN make of yourself what you will. Knowledge is as important in art as creativity, and inspiration, are.
RG: And lastly since we are a blog focusing on horror – what are your favorite horror movies?
DF: The Red Monks, Psychomania, Hellraiser, Alien, Willard, 28 Weeks Later, and The Grudge.
Drunk in a Graveyard would like to thank Danielle for being willing to grant us an interview, and being so willing to openly share about her work. It’s hard to believe this talented little lady is only 23, so we will make sure to be keeping our eyes peeled for more of her work.
In the meanwhile, I advise our spooky and drunken followers to please go and follow Danielle online, buy her prints and support indie and alternative media. Fuck the mainstream.
And also – Danielle’s partner is James from Black Crown Initiate, a band that if you don’t know, you should. She also designed some of their merch, so go buy their stuff or you’re dead to me (well not really, but please don’t sit around all day and listen to shit on the radio when you could listen to this slick and beautiful band).
So remember – buy art from independent artists, listen to metal and drink PBR, worship the goat because the goat is truth, attend local shows, don’t listen to what is being sold to you, and always STAY SPOOKY. Until next time, you drunk bastards.