Interview with photographer Alice Teeple

  • How did it all start out of? What inspired you to pursue photography as a profession (or as a hobby)?

A lot of factors kept me from pursuing it seriously when I was in high school during the 90s. I didn’t have money, or access to a darkroom, or equipment. I found the opportunity when I started shooting for my high school yearbook. I learned the craft on my own with a beat-up Pentax K-1000. Digital photography took another ten years to catch up, so in the meantime I focused on illustration, early digital video, and experimenting with antique cameras and alternative process. 

  • Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

I am from rural Pennsylvania and moved to NYC in 2015. I’ve had a varied career that is too convoluted to explain.

  • Who were your early influences? 

David Lynch, William Blake, Anton Corbijn, Diane Arbus, Francis Bacon

  • What are the subjects that you enjoy photographing the most? What draws you to a particular scene or subject as a photographer?

Portraits. People show me who they truly are and I reflect that, for better or worse. Right now I’m working on a series based on Victorian mourning art.

  •  What has been your most memorable experience related to photography? 

I unknowingly photographed Peter Murphy in the middle of a heart attack. Joseph Keckler and I broke into an abandoned insane asylum. I have walked in on people scattering cremains…twice. Once I was hired to shoot a BDSM party on a junky old boat but the fog machine broke and there were all these people in leather harnesses wandering blindly trying to find “the cuddle dungeon.” I’ve had to run from cops a bunch of times. Always some weird adventure.

  • What are some of the challenges of photography? 

Planned obsolescence of equipment. Luckily I’m not a gearhead and work the best I can with the tools I have. Do I need a $2000 lens? No, although I’m certainly open to receiving one!

  • How do you balance between what you see and making it as dramatic and beautiful like a standalone artwork?

It happens automatically. I see the composition in real time as I’m shooting.8. What do you want to capture in your photographs? I let things be revealed to me.

  • Are you always keeping an eye out for what’s new on the camera market? 

I couldn’t care less about any of that. I can create pictures with an oatmeal can or paper in my windowsill. Gear talk bores me.

  • What’s the post-production process like? 

Lonely and secretive.

  • Where do you want to take your photography career? 

A place of total creative autonomy.  I let opportunities reveal themselves.

  • What’s the most difficult part of what you do and what advice would you give to up-and-coming photographers? 

The most difficult part of what I do is men getting in my way. My advice is don’t waste your money on art school, or listen to people who call themselves experts. Do whatever brings you joy.

  • Where can our readers find you online?