Today we’re joined by Danielle. Danielle is a phenomenal photographer who mostly does art as a hobby. Her pictures capture a lot of the beauty of nature and are brimming with vibrant colors and interesting shapes. It’s very clear she has a great eye, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I like photography. It’s something I do for fun. I see something and take twenty minutes trying to find the right angle and the right lighting. I don’t change anything; I’m terrible at setting up photographs. I take the available scene and use that. I’m also terrible at photo editing, so what anyone sees is the photograph I took (occasionally cropping notwithstanding).
I also don’t particularly like photographing people. I am capable of it, but I only photograph people on request, such as when my sister had me take her senior photos.
What inspires you?
There’s nothing in particular that inspires me. I’ll just be driving down the highway and see a dilapidated house and desperately wish I had my camera. I guess I’m inspired by the things I see that most people wouldn’t think of as “beautiful;” I want to present them so that everyone else can see the beauty I can see.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
When I was little I wanted to be an artist, but it wasn’t long before I realized I have absolutely zero talent at drawing, painting, etc. So I gave up on that, not even considering photography.
When I was in sixth grade, I borrowed my mom’s point-and-shoot camera and I enjoyed it a lot. When I was in middle school, my parents got me a point-and-shoot digital camera because I was using so much film. It progressed from there. I now have that first digital point-and-shoot, a DSLR (named Peyton), and two range-finders. I really want a film SLR and a way to develop my own film, but there’s no place in my home for a darkroom.
On that note, developing film and photographs yourself is also a fantastic part of the process. I wish I had more opportunities to develop my own film, but it is a process that requires a lot of specialized equipment.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Go for it. Even if it’s just for fun, just for you, do it. There is no one right way to take a photograph or create any kind of art. Experiment until you figure out what works for you and what makes you happy with your art. What you think of your art is the most important thing; if you don’t like what you’re creating, your art will never reach its full potential.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I identify as asexual and aromantic. I’m not completely sure about the aromantic aspect, but I feel a stronger connection to the label every time I really consider it. As for asexual, once I understood what asexuality was, it clicked so fast and so perfectly that I actually cried.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
In my field, no. But as I stated, photography is just a hobby for me, so it’s not something I’m trying to make money in. As for my real job, I’m not out and have no intention of being out. (Although our cook is trying really hard to figure out what my sexuality is without asking me outright. It’s kind of comical.)
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Offline, the only misconception I’ve encountered was convincing my mom that no, I am not going to die alone. And really, I was so mad at one point that my sister actually did most of the convincing.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You do not have to choose a label. Labels are here to make you feel comfortable and if you feel like you’re on the asexual spectrum, then you are. No one can force you to narrow it down so that you’re sure you’re grey ace or sure you’re demi or sure anything else. Ace is also an orientation all on its own. You don’t have to define your romantic orientation unless you want to. You do not have to be panroace or biroace or aroace or any other combination of romantic and sexual orientations, unless that works for you. Labels are for you and no one else.
It’s also perfectly normal. No matter if you feel like it was caused by something else, it’s perfectly valid (e.g., sometimes I worry my asexuality is a result of my epilepsy but that doesn’t make my aceness any less real).
There is also no single right way to be asexual. Everyone’s experiences are different and justified, affected by the intersectionalities created by asexuality meeting race, religion, gender, disabilities, etc. Do not let anyone tell you that you aren’t ace enough; your asexuality being different from theirs does not make yours or theirs wrong. Don’t let anyone who isn’t asexual tell you how to be ace. And especially do not let anyone tell you that asexuality isn’t real. It is and so are you.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
As stated before, I only do photography for fun, so it isn’t really anywhere other than my computer. If anyone’s interested in seeing more though, they can message me on my personal blog (kiyoshitanaka) and I might set up a separate blog just for my photography.
Thank you, Danielle, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.