Kellie Grengs

The Southern Glossary Instagram account is curated by a new artist or photographer each week. Every curator will put their own spin on the account, showing off work, their process, and their surroundings. Here's a Q&A with last week's curator, photographer & designer Kellie Grengs.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Instagram: @kitty_brott

How did you interest in your medium begin and how did you arrive at your current style?

I have always had a camera. My first was a Kodak Brownie. I have every photo album of the pictures I took as a child and cherish them, even the blurry ones! I recently shared my Nikon N2000 (circa late 80's) with a student who was taking an intro photography course at Loyola and needed a "film" camera. The delight of seeing him develop his film and enlarge prints was magical. Our technology today makes photography accessible to everyone and I think that is great. 

How do you choose your subjects? 

I am drawn to nature and the remarkable details that are generally overlooked. I guess growing up in the Midwest on a small farm made me aware of the little details.  Planting seeds in a garden and watching the changes that happen daily.  I appreciate a slower approach to viewing subject matter and nature generally holds still during photographs....

Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?

For photography, local artists Cheryl Gerber and Chris Granger. Both shoot for numerous regional and national publications. I have assisted both of them and watched how they approached a shoot. Confidence is everything and their work reveals honesty and care for their subject matters.

Are there any aspects of the Southern aesthetic that you embrace or ones you consciously avoid? 

Growing up outside of Minneapolis the ground was covered in snow more than half the year.  In the South, the ground is pretty much always visible and reveals seasonal changes.  I love the constantly changing and lengthy growing season for fruits and vegetables. Nature is highly controlled in the fabulous gardens of the Garden District while it is completely out of control when vines take over a blighted building.  I see something everyday in nature that inspires and captures my attention- ranging from the macro to the micro.

Do you feel creatively satisfied?

Yes! I wear so many hats creatively which continually keep everything I do stimulating. 

Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.

I recently designed costumes, hair and makeup for an upcoming documentary film about Lafcadio Hearn.  He visited New Orleans in the 1880s and was moved by the diverse culture.  He wrote for the Times-Democrat (and later the Times-Picayune) and was fascinated by all things in the South - ranging from the size of our mosquitoes to the amazing food.  He wrote a cookbook about Creole food that is still in publication. He left New Orleans and traveled to Japan where he became wildly famous and highly revered. There is a plaque honoring Hearn at the Botanical Gardens in City Park in New Orleans.

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