When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?
I remember having a desire to document things at a very early age maybe 10 or 11. I was obsessed with Harriet the Spy and I had a small notebook with teddy bears on it that I would use to write down observations of people on my street. My grandmother bought me my first camera when I was 15.
Who were the first photographers that you loved and who is inspiring you now?
Early inspirations were slightly outside of photography but very much inside the documentary tradition: James Agee and Leni Riefenstahl. I am currently deeply in love with work by Boris Mikhailov, Walid Raad, LaToya Ruby Fraizer, Stanya Kahn, A.L. Steiner and George Gittoes.
Can you tell me about your project As It was Give(n) To Me – Is this a project that you are still working on?
I am currently in my third year of working on this project. It’s such an unwieldy look at representation in Appalachia. I am interested in the unsteadiness of how we judge right and wrong, how we define other, othered, othering and difference. The work asks how can the photographer demystify stereotypes, represent culture, sum up experience, and interpret memory and history?
Right now I am preparing an exhibition of the work along with a series of pamphlets, posters and books.
If you could go back ten years, what advice would you give yourself?
Stacy, You have terrible taste in men. Stop embarrassing yourself and let other people decide who you should sleep with. Unless his name is Aaron.
Any worlds of wisdom for the up-and-comers?
I’m not sure I have any general words of wisdom. If you are reading and think I might be able to help with a particular issue you are facing as you negotiate your path in this world feel free to write to me. I respond to all email and am happy to offer my thoughts on most anything. But I wouldn’t ask me to find you a man.
(Stacy is based in Los Angeles. See more of her work, here)