Each month, I interview a local photographer. Interested in participating? Please leave a comment!
Clare Barboza is a Seattle-based food photographer, with a passion for documenting how food goes from the farm to the kitchen to the table. She has photographed several cookbooks and regularly shoots for various publications, restaurants, and chefs. Clare also leads a variety of photography workshops out of her studio in downtown Seattle.
Roxanne: When did you become interested in photography?
Clare: I became interested in photography back in high school when I was 15. I fell in love with the darkroom and developing my own prints.
Who or what influenced you to become a photographer?
The first person that comes to mind is actually Robert Mapplethorpe. I loved the absolute simplicity of his early female nudes. I discovered Mapplethorpe when I was 19, at a time in my life when I was really finding myself and pushing my own boundaries. I had gone to Catholic school for high school and the human body was never explored in any of the art classes I took. So, Mapplethorpe’s work challenged me to photograph the human form on my own, and I fell in love with photography in a whole new way. My series of nudes was actually what I used for my portfolio to get into art school.
Another influence would have to be my all-time favorite photographer, Sally Mann. Her portraits and landscapes totally kill me—they are so raw and gorgeous.
Why is photography important to you?
It gives me an outlet to express how I feel and how I see the world.
What motivates you?
The things that motivate me are the same as the things that inspire me (which are a lot of things): great light, music, foggy days, the woods, the beach, salvage yards, cool found objects, and road trips. Just to name a few.
What’s your favorite lens or other piece of photography gear?
My 90mm tilt-shift lens. I use it for my food photography as well as my personal work.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in photography?
Don’t listen to people who discourage you and/or tell you all the things you “must have” in order to be a success. When I was starting out, I was constantly told how hard the industry is, how tough it is to make it, how I needed to have a medium format camera, how I needed to have (insert other random piece of photographic equipment) in order to be successful. None of those people were right and I wish I hadn’t wasted a second of my time listening to any of them. Don’t waste your time—just take pictures and trust your passion.