First Friday Features: Delissa McWilliams

I am doing something new for this month's First Friday Feature. I am featuring a self portrait artist! I just recently came across Delissa's amazing photography on Flickr, and I was so impressed with her style and emotive images that I had to reach out to see if she would do an interview. Luckily for all of us, she agreed! As you have probably noticed by now, I love a good quote. The quotes she uses with her images are so powerful. I am only showing you 9 of her incredible self portraits, but you're going to want to see more. You can do that at her Facebook page, or her Flickr page.

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.”

― Albert Einstein

You: The Person

1. How would your family and friends describe you?

My family members describe me to be very creative, reserved, a little bit selfish and independent. As for my friends they describe me to be analytical, sarcastic, adventurous and stubborn.

2. Are you married or single? Do you have any children?

I’m currently single. No children.

3. What makes you laugh? What makes you cry?

This is actually a difficult question to answer as I am pretty much laugh all the time and it can’t always be controlled. I laugh during the most serious and awkward situations to the point that now my friends laugh during some situations. My laughing is contagious!

Another hard one to answer…Personally I hate feeling vulnerable because it affects me in many different ways depending on how deep the situation is. For example I noticed I started to feel the most vulnerable if someone purposely tries to hurt me emotionally and mentally, especially when I have done nothing wrong to deserve that kind of treatment.

4. What is your best physical feature? What is one that you would like to change?

According to others my smile is my best physical feature so I would have to go with that. I’m not a fan of my visible stretch marks, I get very self-conscious during the summer especially.

“It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”

― Rose Kennedy

5. If you could change one thing about yourself or your life, what would it be?

That’s a very good question. If I could change one thing about myself into overcome the fear of speaking my mind. I have always been viewed as a quiet/shy so I hardly ever expressed an opinion on topics/issues. I’m slowly trying to improve on that by pushing myself and not worrying too much on how people will react. I guess it’s quite difficult especially suffering from anxiety, so I tend to express my feelings in the work I produce.

6. Where/How did you meet your closest friends?

I met my closest friends in primary school, high school and university.

“Everything you can imagine is real.”

― Pablo Picasso

7. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I don’t think I’ve done anything crazy but I have done things that were risky but definitely not crazy.

8. What is the one thing about yourself that you are really proud of?

I am proud of the fact that I’ve continued my passion for conceptual and portrait photography. I tend to easily lose interest in hobbies but I’ve stuck by it for 3 years and 4 months now.

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”

― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

You: The Photographer

9. How did you become interested in photography?

During my second year in university I started to feel depressed about my chosen degree course and I started question whether I made the right decision on pursuing a career within the TV/Film industry. I had the option to take a photography module as I started to lose the passion for film-making so I wanted to try something new and creative.

10. If you’re in business, how long have you been in business, and what job did you have before becoming a photographer?

Not in a business, just a freelancer.

“Try to be like the turtle – at ease in your own shell.” – Bill Copeland

11. What camera/lenses/camera bag do you use?

I used a Canon 600D and a 50mm f1.8 lens for most of my work but now I have upgraded to using a Canon 5D Mark II.

12. Do you use Lightroom, Photoshop or both?

I use Photoshop for mainly my conceptual work and Lightroom for my naturalistic portraits but sometimes a combination of both.

“Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to.”

― Lao Tzu

13. Do you take pictures everyday?

Sadly no, it mainly depends whether I feel motivated but I’m hoping to shoot some new project next month.

14. What is your biggest struggle as a photographer?

When I need the extra money it is pretty difficult to source out clients and sometimes when I do get contacted to do a wedding or portrait shoot I'm not always keen on the suggested fee.

“A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren't we like that wise old bird?” - Edward H. Richards

15. How difficult would it be for you to go without screens (no phone/ iPad/ computer/ TV) for one week? One month?

I’ve actually taken a break from using technology for at least a week…not sure if I can do a month though!

16. How do you promote your photography?

I use a variety of social media platforms such as Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, 500px, Tumblr, Society6 and DeviantArt to promote my work.

“The way to read a fairy tale is to throw yourself in.”

― W.H. Auden

17. Whose work are you most influenced or inspired by?

I am influenced and inspired by so many conceptual/portrait photographers but if I had to choose one in particular it would have to be Rosie Hardy, she's an amazing conceptual photographer.

18. Have you done any personal projects? Is there anything new you are working on right now or plan to start soon?

Most of the photos I’ve produced are personal conceptual projects focusing on themes such as deception, self acceptance, regret, etc and I’m currently brainstorming ideas for new projects. I will be collaborating with a few models for the projects and hopefully shoot self-portrait work as well.

“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?”

― Garth Nix, Sabriel

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