Missy Prince

Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself: what you do, where you’re from, what you’re excited about.

I grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast but I currently live in Portland, Oregon. I worked in a record store here for about ten years, acquired degrees in Philosophy and English, and somewhere along the way became preoccupied with photography. It is what I am most excited about these days, and travelling. I got a lot of that in this summer.

What kind of America are you trying to document? Or maybe what do you think about the America you photograph?

I’m not consciously trying to document America. I want to document what is around me, and I don’t primarily think of things I see in terms of their place in national culture, though I often find myself drawn to typically American scenes. It’s always good to run across evidence that America is not as homogenized as popular culture would have us think. I like to imagine the states as countries in themselves, with their own marks of distinction.

How do you interpret your experiences into a photograph?

I feel less like I interpret my experiences and more like I am just casting a wide net hoping to catch something good. You can try to control your body of work, but it tends to take on a life of its own if you’re just looking openly. Sense of place, both literal and psychological, is strong in the photos I enjoy by others, so I think that’s what I’m trying to get across in my own. You never know what detail is going to convey that. It’s always a surprise. And that’s the best part.

Do you have any good road trip stories?

Somehow the most exciting ones in hindsight are the bad ones, like almost driving my van into a not so dry lake in Utah.

What’s your relationship to the environment around you?

Well, I know the habits of everyone on my street. I don’t sit and peer out of my window all day or anything…well sometimes I do. I can’t help but notice a lot of what’s going on around me. I love looking.

Do you see yourself as a part of the landscape or as a visitor?

I definitely feel a part of it. I think the reason I travel is to have an exchange with the places I visit. I suppose I am a tourist, but I feel entitled to my experiences as I pass through. I want to interact and come away feeling alive.

What is beautiful to you and what inspires you?

I find beauty in lots of things. Imperfection, neglect, and wild nature are a few. I like to see things I haven’t seen before, to explore. When I was a child I lived near an interstate and I used to wander around the woods nearby. It was really exciting to come across evidence of the people who passed through overnight: campfires, mattresses, clothing, sleeping bags, trash, food, magazines. I loved wondering about these mysterious people, imagining what they had done there, where they were going. I think I am always looking for suggestions of something unknowable, even if it’s just a feeling.

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@4 years ago with 15 notes
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