We have talked about photographer Christine Shields before; She had a show at Haunt a couple of months ago called "Dream Dust" and has done fashion photography for local designers here and there. Upon taking a closer look at her portfolio we realized that her work speaks beyond your basic fashion editorials. Her photos give the viewer not just something appealing to look at, but also bring forth depth of thought and emotion, allowing for an otherworldly place that speaks to the imagination without props or scenery manipulation (okay, maybe some manipulation). Her style has a haunting quality; both beautiful and eerily relative. I see it as a nod to the origins of photography, and not many can pull that off.
Besides her work as a photographer, Shields is also a model and does hair and makeup for shoots, as well. I was inspired to connect with her and discovered that she's conjointly a normal, fun loving personality.
Mercury: You are a fashion & fine art photographer, a model, and you do hair and makeup! Which came first, and how did everything happen?
Christine Shields: I was a model first, then makeup, then photography. I was Googling modeling in Portland one day and found a site that allowed me to meet photographers for tests. I did one test, then a spread for Plus Model Mag. My agency, Sports and Lifestyle, saw the images and signed me! I was lucky; I didn’t have to work too hard to get signed with an awesome agency.
After a few years I needed a change in my 9-5 career. I have always loved doing makeup so I just jumped. I did a few makeup and hair tests, then I started getting hired so I quit my “normal” job. After a few years of doing hair and makeup a photographer friend let me borrow his camera. I expressed to him how I would love to try photography and he was so kind to loan me his camera! I shot a model friend and fell in love. I called him up and told him I wasn't giving him his camera back, so I bought it.
Do you prefer one form of photography over another or do you feel passionate about both?
Oh! I love both! I love fashion because I like telling a mini story. With fashion you mix colors and textures, and it’s hard to duplicate its story. Fine art is romantic to me. I love playing with movement, light, and shapes. It’s more about my subject than what my subject is wearing; focusing on the way the skin hits the light and just the right way to capture an expression.
Do you prefer to have total control and do the MUAH styling, or do you enjoy working with others to expand the possibilities of a shoot?
I want to work with a team of creatives. When I’m doing photography I want to just focus on photography. I always have ideas on what I want the styling or hair and makeup to look like, but having someone else’s input is so great! Sometimes I think I want something, but then my makeup artist will do her own thing and I love it so much more! Watching my team work inspires me to be more creative.
What is your goal as a creative person? Are you close to that now?
I think my goal is to keep growing. I want to be better every day, every shoot. I want to think of ideas that haven’t been thought of yet. I don’t think I will ever be close to that goal, but I am so happy with my work and I think I take great photos. But am I the best I will ever be? Probably not. I love what I do. It’s a challenge. I want it always to be challenging.
Do you feel like Portland is a good place to attain your goal?
Yes! I have met so many amazing, creative people in Portland. The only way to grow as a creative person is to be surrounded with creative people. I would love to travel and work, but Portland is always my home base. This city is getting bigger and bigger every year and I am so happy and grateful to be a part of it!
While Shields' website features a few collections all worth looking at, I highly recommend viewing her blog, which displays an abundance of photos that further describe her work, including some fascinating and well executed nudes.