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 Stephen Milner.
How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?
I am a firm believer in an artist living somewhere that inspires him or her. For me, I need to immerse myself in a smaller city that has easy access to the natural environment. I had the pleasure of living and working in New York City for a year, but I was far from inspired. I actually did not touch my camera once while living there, which sort of put a permanent cloud over the city for me. I had the Ogeechee project that I needed to finish in Savannah--I saw my exit and took it, and I have never looked back!
Do you have a creative or artistic peer group in your area that you're a part of? What opportunities are there for artists like yourself in your area?
Living in the same city where I got my undergraduate has a lot of pros. I am still very close to the professors who supported me the most, and a few good friends still live here, one of them being a recent curator of Southern Glossary, Carson Sanders. Carson and the rest of the Aint-Bad Magazine editors have been very supportive of my work and I am totally grateful! Savannah is a wonderful and creative city to live in.
Where do you go to draw inspiration?
There are plenty of online art and photography magazines that I spend hours viewing photographers’ work on, like Lenscratch, The Heavy Collective, and the Humble Arts Foundation. I also find Instagram to be a interesting tool in discovering contemporary photographers. The Savannah College of Art & Design's library also has very good photo book collection; I like to spend rainy days there.
Are there any aspects of the Southern aesthetic that you embrace or ones you consciously avoid?
I embrace people’s connection to the natural environment. I love the quirky American south and especially its culture that is directly related to water. I would like to keep my work water-based, as I feel like I create my favorite work that way.
Do you feel creatively satisfied?
Satisfaction for me as an artist is always fleeting, I am always looking to grow or create new work. This is also an interesting question because I spend most of my time photographing with a 4x5 camera. This process doesn’t allow the instant gratification of a LCD screen. The anxiety of having to wait is addicting and in the end, the quality of 4x5 is worth the wait.
Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.
I recently had my first solo exhibition here in Savannah for my “Ogeechee” work! This goes back to the creatively satisfied question, having my work finally hanging for the public was very satisfying. I hope to exhibit the work in other big cities in Georgia and to start working on a book.
This is also a very big week for me, as it is my last few days in Savannah for a while. I am off to Eugene, Oregon, to start my MFA candidacy at the University of Oregon!