Featured Artist: Photographer Amber Flowers

Author: Ronnie Jaggers for The Amplifier

Amber Flowers said she has an unexplained need to release the creative tendencies within her mind, to document the world as she sees it. She said she literally finds as many excuses as possible to photograph or focus her emotions into her poetry and writing. Amber finds that the release of creativity is relaxing and sustaining. She said that this is her time to leave a legacy for her children and future generations and she hopes to achieve that.

Born in 1984 in Glasgow, Kentucky, Amber grew up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky and as an adult returned to Glasgow. Her current home is in Nobob, Kentucky in Barren County. She hopes to eventually move to the Elizabethtown area and one day maybe California or somewhere warmer with plenty of hiking and oceanic swimming opportunities.

Ms. Flowers owns Soul Gaze Photography Studio and describes her work as: "Artistic portraiture and landscapes in a wide assortment of specialties." “I mostly focus on photography, but also provide writing via poetry and content copywriting and also graphic design work such as website graphics, social media designs and other such creative endeavors. I am plagued by the need to always be creating in some form. It's like an invisible thread encouraging me to leave a legacy behind in my own unique way. This could be why I've been learning CSS and HTML and developing my SmugMug hosted website myself (with some help from Dgrin). My website constantly evolves as my knowledge grows just as with all forms of my art."

"The beauty of creativity is the ability to migrate from one form of art to another so that you are never bored. Even my editing workflow has evolved to include better technology and more advanced skills and ways to define my personal style”, stated Amber. “Occasionally, I'll decide upon a personal project with a purpose. Primarily my photography is a randomization that culminates from my travels and adventures which will be detailed via my new personal blog starting this year. The link is on my website. I've been slowly gathering photos and landmarks of all the places that have had sentimental importance to me and that I think would be of significant interest to others. Most of this new work is still awaiting editing. I have a bad habit of forgetting my personal work in favor of client sessions despite still working part time. I am starting to try to better organize my time to enable me to share more of my personal work."

Amber Flowers said that despite being varied in her interests, photography has remained her focus. She does not feel that she has reached the professional level where each image is perfect according to photographic standards and expectations, but she does leave a part of her soul in her work. She said, “I have my own style that is always evolving like the intricate changing flavor of a vintage wine. In that sense, I am still not fully ready, but I believe that in reality there is no true expert or professional of any craft. When I find a unique location to photograph and capture the shot how I envisioned it or occasionally capture the 'lucky' shot I wasn't even planning, I tend to jump as excitedly as a school child. My true intention is to document the world through my eyes. I've enjoyed photography, but not with such true interest as when I discovered my capabilities with infrared. It became the window into my dreamscape. I started to see the world in infrared even without my camera present - which is a rare occurrence for I carry my gear with me everywhere”.

Ms. Flowers does not currently have a separate studio space, saying, “Currently, I utilize my home office for editing, writing and business needs such as client consultations and tutoring. It is small, but well lit and decorated very eccentrically with things that have meaning and inspiration. I plan to redesign my entire office to be more accommodating to clients, while still maintaining an eclectic atmosphere. I do most of my photo editing and writing while my children are at school and late at night when all is quiet. I tend to sacrifice sleep because I prefer the solitude when creating. I guess you can blame my ADHD! I would feel so blessed to have an investor to make that dream a reality, but for now I am saving towards that goal. I love being an on-location photographer, but I have so many studio requests that I know income would greatly increase in comparison. While that aspect is ideal and it would be lovely to ignore the weather and control my lighting, there will always be something so magical and divinely real about capturing humanity in its true form. I'd never stop being an on-location photographer for I love the freedom of exploring our world for exactly the background I, or those I photograph, desire whether it be urban or nature themed”.

Amber’s photographic obsession began via the gift of a Kodak 110 at around eight years old. It enabled her to begin to capture the world in the unique way that she saw it through her eyes, saying this later gave rise to the reasoning behind the name: 'Soul Gaze Photography'. “My first digital camera was a Canon A70 which I'd purchased using my first full paycheck at Wal-mart in Glasgow which was also my first official 'career' out of high school. I continued to improve my photography during the five years I worked with Wal-mart, but only in my spare time. Eventually, I'd upgraded my camera to a Canon S5IS and later to a Nikon D40, my first DSLR. I'd then discovered my ability for infrared photography which became the perfect creative outlet for my vision. As for my writing, I had excelled in English class in high school. I helped grade papers and whenever I'd had a bad day, I focused my energy into my words. I may not be as much of a perfectionist in my English skills, but my words still have imaginative significance. My profession has enabled me to document and preserve memories. It's helped me better appreciate how short life is and the important responsibility of capturing life before it's too late. I've experienced many deaths both of people I personally know and of those who've touched my life. I've seen towns grow and change and places of sentimental or historic significance lost forever. I photograph to remember. It is a digital time capsule that truly forges a deep appreciation for the fragility of our existence”.

Truth and honesty is paramount. I do not claim to create anything that is not my own. I've heard of 'fauxtographers' stealing others work rather than to learn for themselves and I find that so appalling. Share your knowledge and treat others as you would expect to be treated. This includes the environment which is of utmost concern to me. I am a kindred spirit with nature. I never damage anything just to get a shot. I find that when you respect nature, good things tend to happen when you least expect it like the magical glow of a sunset shining just at the right moment despite the previous disappointment of an overcast session. Maybe it is wishful thinking, but I do believe karma exists so I do my best to follow that belief in every aspect of my life. Inspiration is something that defines who we are as an artist, yet for many it is not something that can be explained. That's how I feel in regards to my work. I see things in a certain way sometimes. I just capture or write what I see or feel. It flows from a part of my soul into a tactile form. I do find that I work best after I've been hiking or exploring in nature or listening to music. Unfortunately, this also means that I tend to work at my own pace which limits my availability and prevents me from obtaining 'rock star photographer' status. I find that if I push myself to rush into a creation I no longer see the magic. The problem with modern society is it's choosing to move at such a pace to not enjoy life as it happens. By allowing your spirit some creative freedom, the pieces within your soul can be released”, stated Amber.

In December of 2009, Amber founded Southern Kentucky Photographer's Club with the intention of finding other photographers like herself, of all skill levels, who reside in Kentucky. She said, “I'd wanted to find others to join in on my adventures that weren't afraid of getting dirty or damaged while pursuing a shot. I'm also a trained spotter for NWS in Louisville where I frequently submit weather photography when it has a scientific or journalistic interest. Otherwise, I've not really focused on a photographic organization. I had decided to wait until I had more time to dedicate to the requirements. PPA is top of my list along with several of the honorable pay it forward organizations”.

Amber said that everything she has ever created has been fully self-taught. She has had no formal training besides what she has learned from doing, networking with others and research online. “I would love to have formal training and would most likely enter Western Kentucky University Journalism program if I had the funding and help caring for my children during class. Photos are meant to tell a story, so anything that can help me do that effectively is welcome. For now, I'm thankful for what I've learned on my own and hopeful that I will continue to evolve in new ways”.

Amber Flowers has been featured online, in newsletters and has won accolades and freebies. She tied for 1st place in a logo contest for another photographer and won a CD of digital downloads. “I felt honored when my photograph of Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky was chosen by a Louisville marketing company to represent the hospital on their Leadership Development Guide project. I've also had photography featured on the front page and website of Glasgow Daily Times. I've been a contributor for The Amplifier (Bowling Green Daily News) since 2010. My article on photographing fireworks was in the #5 most read articles for 2010. The Fall/Halloween article made the top 25”. She said she would love to be rich and famous so her husband could work for fun not profit, in order to provide their family a comfortable life.

Yet, regardless of financial assets, Amber said, “I want my work to mean something...to inspire others and to continue to grow in uniqueness as I grow as a person and an artist. My photographic dream is to have the resources to create authentic tintypes and cabinet cards. I find them to be absolutely unique and love how they are truly one-of-a-kind. It is an art that is also dying which I would love to be able to help prevent. I'd also love to have an Infrared converted Nikon D300 to expand my creative abilities with my infrared work; most importantly, to be able to make a difference in the world. If I could travel the world and document my adventures such as a National Geographic photographer, I'd be in photographic heaven on earth”.

Amber Flowers said, "Everything happens for a reason". And, she likes a quote by Vivian Green, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain"

You can contact Amber Flowers at:

Additional social media links and contact information is available on her website.

Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 9:00 am

http://www.bgamplifier.com/arts/photographer-amber-flowers/article_028dab34-b1af-11e2-931d-001a4bcf887a.html

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