Devin Lunsford is a photographer in Birmingham, Alabama, and he's attracted to the mysterious atmospheres of isolated surroundings. His images, whether of home exteriors lit up from within or a stoic line of trees, communicate silence and solitude. Last year he was selected to exhibit at SlowExposures photography festival and represented Alabama in Lenscratch's States Project.
How did your interest in your medium begin and how did you arrive at your current style?
In 2010, I was laid off and had too much time on my hands. I was bored, unfulfilled, and I needed something to fill that time. I was spending a lot of time in Montevallo, AL, which is a small town surrounded by a liberal arts college, so I was interacting and hanging out with a diverse array of creatives. I bought a point and shoot and a SLR at a thrift store and spent an excessive amount of time teaching myself how photography works from a technical perspective.
I arrived at my current style by merely shooting a whole bunch. School helped dramatically in improving the conceptual side, as well as pushing me to make work outside of my comfort zone.
How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?
For me that relationship has to exist or I simply wouldn’t be making the images I am making currently. Most of my images are a response to my environment and it is difficult for its influence to not creep into any photo I make.
How do you choose your subjects?
It’s instinctual and a gut feeling. I rarely go out with the intent of making a photograph of a specific subject. I walk or drive around and shoot what catches my eye. Many photographs happen to and from work when I’m not necessarily going out purely to take photos. I find great joy in finding the alien within the mundane, that quality that turns an otherwise everyday subject that usually goes unnoticed into something special.
Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?
I was extremely lucky to have Daniel Lawson as a friend when originally picking up photography. He showed me the ropes, and his guidance and friendship were crucial in me wanting to pursue photography as something more than a hobby. Jared Ragland taught me to look beyond just the technical and to embrace the conceptual as well. He taught me the importance of shooting constantly, to always have a camera on me, and to work a scene to uncover the significance that could be hiding behind a different perspective. He also introduced many photographers into my vocabulary, artists that would go one to be great influences of mine like Robert Adams, McNair Evans, William Christenberry, and William Eggleston.
Where do you go to draw inspiration?
My partner Christina Daniel is incredibly inspiring to me. Her hustle and determination for her art as well as for others within the community and abroad is immense. She is always introducing artists outside of the photographic realm to me and is there to always tell me of an open call, art show or a zine that I could submit to. Utilizing Instagram properly has been the biggest game changer for me though, I have discovered and met so many artists whose work I more than likely would not have seen unless the platform existed.
Do you feel creatively satisfied?
No. Don’t get me wrong, I am very satisfied with the creative process and the act of making, But I’m not even close to being satisfied. Maybe one day there will come a time when I can throw my hands in the air and proudly proclaim that I have made all the photographs that I desire to make, But the reality is I’m still hungry and I will keep on fulfilling my desire to capture whatever compels me.