Patty Carroll received her BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and a Master of Science degree in photography from The Institute of Design, IIT in Chicago, studying fine art traditional photography.
Carroll has participated in many one-person and group exhibitions consistently since graduate school, mainly in traditional photographic exhibit spaces. Exhibitions include the large group exhibition entitled, Elvis and Marilyn: 2 X Immortal, which featured a variety of artists using the imagery of Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe in their work. She has exhibited her “Anonymous Women” series in various museums and galleries world wide, including at White Box Museum in Beijing, Northern Illinois University Museum, DeKalb, IL, the Cultural Center of Chicago, and Martha Schneider Gallery, Chicago, IL. For more check out the interview below and visit her website www.pattycarroll.com.
Photographers observe, comment, criticize, and make fun of the worlds we live in by interacting with reality, and visibly displaying those perceptions in images. My training was as a straight, documentary photographer, but I stray back into the studio to make up fictional worlds.
I believe that every artist has a moment or time which became a defining point in their life view, and as we struggle to discover it, we repeat work trying to either recreate that moment, or possibly redefine it. As our inner and outer worlds collide, photography seems to be the most satisfying way of expressing that convergence. Perhaps there are several moments that define a personality, and I look deeply for each one as it emerges. Artists often go to great lengths to find their soul place. Fortunately for me in this work, I only have to return to Park Ridge, either metaphorically or in actuality to find my defining moments and place.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Someone who loves to dance with images.
Whom do you look up to?
The Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, and Barak Obama. Lots more, but they are at the top of my list.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
Resistance from family members. The more I was unacknowledged, the harder I worked to be more successful. I know it is backwards, but sometimes that is how it happens!
How did your photographic career start?
I was in Graphic Design in college and we had to take photography. So, when I took my first photography course, and we had to develop film in the dark with a friend, my friend kissed me. He became my boyfriend, and I thought that photography had many possibilities that I was not aware of!
Also, when I was growing up, my parents owned suburban newspapers. We were always around photographers, and my father had his picture in the paper every week it seemed. It is probably in my blood.
What was your favourite project and why?
All of my projects are my favorites at the time I am making them. They are all like one’s children, you don’t love one more than the others. Some last longer, however.
How do you define creativity?
Giving oneself the time and space to follow a thought, moment or idea, and acting on it.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Don’t stop. Don’t stop yourself from carrying out the crazy ideas you have. Don’t stop yourself before you begin. Don’t stop working no matter how dark it seems.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in?
An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as a photographer?
Watching the guys get all the attention when I was younger and making work that was comparable. Also, the self challenge of not having enough confidence.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
Way too many things to admit or list.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion of photography?
All images © Patty Carroll