It's no surprise that one of our most adventurous artists, Sylvia Cook, is related to Captain James Cook. That's mere speculation but based on her adventure themed photos, it could be true. After all she was born in Panama and has lived all over the United States in addition to her international photo explorations.
Sylvia has been taking photographs since she was 8. The picture above is the evidence. Sylvia started with the Twin20 camera. Being of formal training who grew up in her father's darkroom, Sylvia fought the digital photo revolution at first. Sylvia has discovered the benefits to digital photography and incorporated it into her work. Sylvia excels at photo composites and her digital expertise allows her to craft seamless, whimsical fantasies using her vast library of image captures.
In addition to being a photography expert, Sylvia is a lover of pillows. In her words, she is a pillow fanatic. Which makes seeing her work crafted onto the KessInHouse Home Decor collection, that much more sweet. If you plan on visiting Sylvia's home in Seattle, prepare to wait for a seat as she clears off a chair for you. I have heard that all of her soft surfaces are covered in designer pillows.
KIH. Of yours, which is your favorite photo?
SC: My favorite photo? Oh I could never pick one! I do so many different things, have so many different styles, I like things about them all. I love carnival images, they evoke alot of nostalgia for me. I love the colors, the lights, and can almost smell the fair food when I look at them. I love shabby chic florals, all soft and pastel. And I love shooting the beach! This last summer I was honored to be published in Somerset Life Magazine with some of my images from my Etsy shop. What a thrill it was to see that issue on the store shelves! Here's a blog post about it with pictures.
KIH: Where are you traveling next?
SC: My next trip will be to Kauai in June. Going there for a family wedding, that I offered to photograph. But after that, a whole week of picture taking. Hawaii beaches, here I come!
KIH: Where were you born?
SC: I was born in Panama, moved to West Virginia when I was about 5, then California for one year, and finally the Seattle area of Washington state.
KIH: Tell me about growing up Sylvia...
SC: Elementary school in West Virginia, then out to the west coast for the remainder of it. I began my college career as an art major, but after the first 2 years I switched to nursing. I've been in critical care nursing my whole life. I wanted something to guarantee me income and a steady job. Art and photography could be done on the side. And now I've been able to cut back on my nursing job to allow more time for the fine art photography and portrait business, thanks to being a part of companies like Kess Inhouse.
KIH: Tell me about your "dark room"/studio ...
SC: My dark room is my computer since I am all digital. I resisted the digital switch at first, but am glad that I finally gave in. I not only love taking photos, I love working in photoshop too. I enjoy making fun, whimsical art out of my images by combining a couple of them together, often times adding typography.
KIH: Tell me an interesting story about a photo you have. What happened after the photo or before the photo that viewer may not know...
SC: Besides the other types of photos I take, I used to really be into taking macros. In order to do that, you have to often times be down on your hands and knees, or laying on the ground. I've spent many a morning out in my yard, after a rain or a frost to get macro shots. Living in the damp.... ok wet, Pacific Northwest gives me ample opportunity to find moss and mushrooms.
One day I was out in the front yard, just coming in from taking some shots of the fall leaves. I stepped onto my porch, turned around for a minute, looked down, and saw a grouping of tiny mushrooms at my feet. I almost missed them. But instead, down I went again, laying on the ground to get those shots. To this day, that image is one of my most popular shots.
Part of the satisfaction I get from photography is seeing things through the lens that so many people pass right by. I cant tell you the number of times I've made a comment to a non photographer about the sunset, or the cloud formations, and they say "what's so special about it?" I see things differently. I can see the clouds and envision a photo I want to make from the shot, or I see in my mind how I want to edit it before I even get the image off my camera. That's the magic. If you'd you like to read more check out Sylvia's blog.