Piper Warlick Photography
Born in Charlotte, NC, I became interested in photography in high school at Myers Park. There, I first learned the difference between pointing a camera and taking a picture anyone could take, and how a pair of boy’s pants, in graphic focus, could become something greater, become connected in texture and light and pattern to the trees behind, to his shoes in the distance. I don’t remember that boy’s name, and the photograph itself was lost in a fire while I was in college, but these principles are the principles I still work by today: the simplest things are the most beautiful. Light, position, and environment, what happens to us every day: seen through a lens, these elements can make for the unexpected.
I received my BA in Technology from Appalachian State University. I went on to study fine art photography at the Creative Circus in Atlanta, graduating with a focus in editorial travel and landscape imagery, as well as portraiture.
At first, I wanted to be a travel photographer. As a student, my wallet made for a tight circle in terms of locale, and I found myself looking closely at what was right in by backyard. Any place can be exotic for someone who doesn’t live there. My favorite photograph is one I took of tide pools on St Simon’s Island. Not growing up at the beach, I’ve loved the idea of tide pools, the almost there, the half step to the ocean. Sand is so textured and tough underfoot, an ocean you touch both sides of. “Dark Sky Morning” was taken right before a rain; I literally took the shot, stuck my camera under my shirt and ran. The weather gives such a rich moodiness to the sky. The picture makes me feel romantic, like something is about to happen, and that’s exciting.
I pursued portraiture with the desire to express my admiration to the important women in my life, specifically my mother, sister and niece. I’ve always been drawn to the cinematic icons of the 1930′s and 40′s. I chose to use the strong, patterned lighting so popular in that era to uncover the transcendent glamour in everyday, contemporary women. I’ve developed a habit of watching the women around me for a sense of their private histories, their magnetism, how high they hold their head, and I’m not above app roaching strangers in restaurants and asking them to model for me. It comes down to light: how to make the confidence and charm I see come through in a print. I’ve researched period hairstyles and makeup, and I’ve learned to replicate these for my shoots. Sometimes, I utilize props and sets, women in vintage hats, at grand pianos, in leather banquettes, with Betty Page curls and frilly tap pants. But sometimes it is simply something in the face of a person that seems to recall a deeper, older kind of experience, and these women could be wearing anything at all to seem from another time.
Naturally, I became drawn to the many dramas of a woman’s life, and this lead to my interest in brides, mothers, and children. A woman preparing for her wedding or the birth of her child is preparing for a transformation. Now that I am a wife, and hopeful for children of my own someday soon, I feel honored and awed to make an intimate record of these extraordinary times in the lives of others, as well as the more ordinary ones that follow, of sagging diapers, grass underfoot, and the pure joy of a spoon, when nothing else will make a baby smile.
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