Here's what photography winner Anya of the JUVEN Myths and Legends Contest have to say about craft, process, and journey.
1. Briefly, who are you? (Feel free to shout out any social media handles and all that as well).
My name is Anya! I’m 14 year old and live in Portland Oregon. My Instagram is @anya.v.d.m . I enjoy creating many forms of art including acting, painting, drawing, photography, sewing, and I hope to explore many more! I love to read as well, because I see books as portals to endless other worlds.
2. What is your piece, and what is it about? How does it relate to the theme, from your view?
My piece is based on the myth of Persephone. I wanted my photo to convey Persephone as being powerful, rather than the damsel in distress title she’s often given. That title has always confused me, considering she’s a powerful goddess and queen of the underworld. I used both life and death imagery in my piece; the nature around the subject representing life, and the skull and pomegranate juice as blood to represent death. I used these two contrasting themes to show both sides of Persephone’s life, being the goddess of fertility and the Queen of the underworld.
3. On the theme of Myths and Legends, what's a myth you love, and how has it affected you?
Not a specific myth, but a mythological creature - fairies have always been one of those mystical things that I’ve felt a connection to. I love the playful and mischievous manner of them, and I’ve been told I have a fairy-like spirit. Whenever I slow down and appreciate the little beauties of life, or do the things I love like dancing, feeling the sun, reading an amazing book, looking at the stars and the moon, making art, and being in nature, it makes me feel like a fairy.
4. What has your photography journey been like? What is your art to you, and why do you do it?
I’ve been interested in photography and film for a while. My dad works a lot with cameras and photography, which caught my eye when I was little. I would make short films with my friends when I was in elementary school as well. I only got back into photography a few months ago and I have been trying to learn more about it since. The reason I do it is because I just love to create and use my artistic energy. I love to look at something I’m proud of, remember the process and thought I put into it, and say “yeah! I made that!”. I think that’s pretty neat.
5. What's your favorite part of your process? What's a myth most people don't know about it?
My favorite part of the process is coming up with ideas and getting really excited about them. I enjoy examining all the little details and thinking about what I can put into a project to make it better.
6. What challenges you most in photography?
The thing that challenges me the most in photography, and creating art in general, is the disappointment when a piece doesn’t turn out the way I wanted or imagined it to. I also struggle with comparing myself to others and feeling lesser than. Though I know every artist is constantly learning and growing, and we should be proud of our personal work, it’s hard to remember that sometimes.
7. What is your perspective on both yeses and nos, (wins and rejections)?
My perspective on wins and rejections is that it’s important to experience a balance of them to come out well rounded. Too many no’s and you’ll probably feel bad about yourself and lose motivation. Too many yeses and you might get a bit of an inflated ego, or lose sight of the things you need to improve on, and you’ll have trouble moving forward.
8. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from a lot of places, people, and things. I get it from books, media, music, nature, emotions, surrounding environment, etc. I have a lot of inspirational people in my life, but I’ll mention two here. Ava, my best friend and person I’ve looked up to my whole life, as well as the model for my photo. She is the bravest and most magical person I’ve ever known. Sophia, or @shots_by_sophia , who I don’t know personally. She was who inspired me to reacquaint myself with photography and read more, and is the reason I entered the myths and legends contest in the first place, after I saw she was one of the judges.
9. What's something you wish more people knew about photography?
I wish more people knew to have fun with photography and to experiment. I think if you get too caught up in trying to make something look perfect and are too serious about it, you’ll forget to enjoy the process. Some of my favorite photos I’ve taken are ones I’ve taken while playing around on my phone or camera, or doing fun photoshoots with my friends.