Rebecca Ratliff

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana  Website:  Instagram: @rebeccaannratliff

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

I became interested in photography in high school. I took two photography classes and started photographing with a small point and shoot camera. I never did any posed portraits or staged photos. I was more interested in documenting the world around me, as I witnessed it. I then decided to major in photography at Louisiana State University. Throughout my college career I made bodies of work that focused on documentary photography and became a photojournalist for the LSU Legacy Magazine. I started photographing my Louisiana Seafood project for my senior thesis. I became hooked on telling the story of the fishermen that lived around me.

How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?

I feel like this relationship is so important, mainly because of my documentary style. An artist needs to be immersed in the culture that they are photographing to capture every detail of it and tell the story accurately.

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

One of my biggest professional influences is Steve McCurry for National Geographic. His work is so raw and stunning and immerses you into the culture that he is photographing. My best teacher at Louisiana State University was Thomas Neff. He was one of those teachers who made you go out of your comfort zone and pushed you to get your best work possible.

Do you feel creatively satisfied?

I do feel creatively satisfied with the photos I have taken for my current project, but I’m always striving to add more depth to the project. It’s nowhere close to finished, and I think that is a good thing. I believe that an artist should never be completely satisfied with their work because then they won’t have any more challenges ahead of them.  

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

This summer I displayed my Louisiana Seafood project at the Fayetteville Underground gallery in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was my first real exhibition since I graduated college in 2013, and it felt great to show my work to others and share the story of my own culture to people in Arkansas. I hope to show this body of work in many other exhibitions.

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