In our August #pckphototalk meet the cheerful and young, Austin based photographer Kirsten Stowers aka @dizzydisco.
We recently met in Berlin’s trendy Prenzlauerberg while she was on a short European trip. The idea was to sit in a real Berliner summer “Biergarten”, however, Zeus changed our plans and we settled down in one of the many fancy cafés in the area. These are some of the highlights of our conversation.
What did make you want to be a photographer in the first place?
Julian, my partner is a huge influence in encouraging me to be more creative. I went to college and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. After I graduated I realized that I love art, in particular, photography.
How did you get started then and what’s your philosophy?
Well, I just started to go back to school for advertising because with that you could do art and make money. Part of our coursework was to come up with ideas, such as how can you put two things together and make something completely different out of it. I had these ideas and I wanted to show them. First, I was kind of embarrassed by my work because I felt they weren’t that good. I’ve read that you have to get your bad ideas out there first before the good ones can come. You just have to do it in order to be able to move on. So, that is the philosophy I have. I wasn’t really telling anyone that I was doing it at first because it was like another side of me. But after some time, they started finding it out, I evolved and grew very slowly as it was sort of like a passion project. I also don`t want to put a lot of pressure on it because I want it to be fun, I want it to be more like my passion thing than just something I just need to do to earn money.
What do you use Instagram for and what does it mean to you?
I use this platform for sharing my work and put it up. But for me, it is like a community. It’s a great way to connect with people and feels like you are not so alone.
Who are your three favorite Instagramers right now?
Aleksandra Kingo, @aleksandrakingo from London. Jessica Walsh @jessicawalsh, she’s an art director and one of my original inspirations. Nicolle Clemetson @nicolleclemetsonstudio from Portland. Once, I reached out to her because after watching her tutorial video I had some questions and she just told me if I was in Portland we should definitely meet up. It was really crazy that some of my biggest idols was willing to talk to me.
You’re on a European trip right now. What do you take home from your travels? Can we see that in your works?
Absolutely. One of my biggest inspiration is street art. I just love to see different kinds of artists, to go to art museums. Just being in a new place, so many fresh ideas come in. When you’re at home you can get kind of stuck in your way. New ideas and traveling are so eye-opening and refreshing.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I feel like with photography and editing a lot of times you are kind of like a painter, e.g. when you’re highlighting and doing the finetuning. I find a lot of inspiration from painters. I love Frida Kahlo and Georgia O‘Keeffe – they both are very individual and different and have a strong voice. I get a lot of inspiration from female artists and painters. I find particularly impressive Annie Leibovitz, she’s been a huge presence since the 70s.
What are your future plans?
Since recently, I try to get more technical photo skills because I’ve been more conceptional so far. For @dizzydisco I plan to keep finding my ideas, keep putting stuff out there, growing and taking my time with it, using it more like a creative output. And for my more professional photography site www.dizzydisco.com, getting better with technique, getting better in working with clients and hopefully eventually having my own studio.
Why the name @dizzydisco?
Actually, my brother came up with the idea. I love the 70s, if I had to pick an era to grow up it would probably be the 70s. So, dizzydisco just came up, it sounded good and so the decision was there. Sometimes, I still wonder if it would have been better to use my real name, but I actually like it and it’s catchy.
One last question: What do you like most about Berlin?
Art is everywhere in the streets. And the sense of pride, the political interest and the willingness to stand up for something that is important for you (e.g. anti-google signs in the neighborhood). People have a voice, they are heard. They are so passionate about what they have, and they want to keep it. It’s kind of refreshing. Besides that, Berlin has a very interesting history and it also feels kind of alive still. A week after I was born the Berlin wall went down and that is crazy to think of. It’s a very interesting place because of the history.