Amanda Briggs: Color Fields Photographer
If a first-time viewer were to look at Amanda Briggs’ feed on Instagram, they may believe that she is a seasoned photographer. It is impressive to learn that Briggs has only been practicing photography for just over a year, and she is completely self-taught. Before photography, she worked for 15 years at a major retailer focusing on helping interior designers, decorators, and visual merchandisers with home furnishings and decor solutions. This experience taught her a great deal about design and has helped her develop an eye for taking her own photos.
With the desire and need to create her own canvas, she picked up photography and explored the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. While searching for her style, Briggs found herself drawn to the metropolitan commonplace, and finding beauty in the ordinary.
“I take photos of the urban sprawl. I adore the mundane….I often find the cleanest lines and incredible texture among architecture. Light, shadows, and color give depth…it can be quite powerful.” She composes and edits her shots into abstract geometric forms, with shadows casting across the facades. Within the lines, vivid colors with a luminous quality that resemble color field paintings.
What do you look for when you go out to shoot?
“When I’m out and about, I look for lines. Anywhere, not just on buildings. Horizons, the sky, the ground…all of this gives you lines, color, and texture. There are times that I find a colorful building(hotel/motel or restaurant), take a shot of the entire building, and then go home and study it. If I see something, I go back and simplify the shot. There are other times that I stumble upon a cool shadow or interesting blocks of color and take the shot then. I almost never leave my house without my camera!”
What kind of camera/gear do you use?
I am currently using a Canon Rebel SL1. Most of my shots are handheld except for the occasional long exposure(infrared) which I then use my tripod.
Do you use Photoshop/Lightroom, e.t.c to edit your photos? Do you ever go back to the same spot to retake photos?
“I do edit my photos, but not with Photoshop or Lightroom. I shoot in RAW, so I first pull up the photo in DDP. This is where i adjust WB, contrast, color tones and exposure. I reduce noise(if any), correct distortion and aberrations. I then pull the photo in to Gimp. This is where I adjust midtones, saturation of colors, cropping and scaling, perspective tweaking…the possibilities are endless. Gimp is a free alternative to Photoshop. Free being the key word. Free is good while I’m learning. I am certainly not opposed to using Photoshop or Lightroom, but for now, Gimp gives me all I need for a nice clean edit. If I find that I did not get what I wanted on the first try of the shot, I will go back and retake it. I may get better light, or shadow or just an overall better shot.”
Which artists or photographer inspire you?
“My inspiration is pulled from old artists like Frank Stella. He once said in Harold Rosenberg’s book The De-Definition of Art “…all I want anyone to get out of my paintings, and all I ever get out of them, is the fact that you can see the whole idea without any confusion…What you see is what you see.” This is exactly what I am trying to do through photography. “
Any advice you’d like to give to other photographers starting out?
“One of the hardest things for me, when I first started taking photographs, was making the camera see what I see. Practice photography, lots of it. I too am still trying to figure out things like positioning and angles.”
Written by Yung Tsai. Photos © Amanda Briggs.
Follow Amanda Brigg on her Instagram account.