Amongst the ruins of abandoned houses, the wilderness, carnivals and interiors of apartment buildings. Cari Ann Wayman appears to us a lost girl found. At only 20, her photography has already begun to inspire and awe those who visit her yyellowbird flickr site. The Chicago native who says she didn't speak until she was 12, is clearly being heard through the camera lens. There you will find her with maps, birds and struggling between industrial city scape's and nature. In hushed whispers and soft tones she shows us abandonment, loss and secret places. Cari Ann's photos display a raw-talent and subtle beauty that exceed her years. There is much still to discover.
I'm happy to present my first interview here on Good Winter, with the keeper of secrets, known to the Internet photo world as yyellowbird - photographer\model\artist Cari Ann Wayman
Good Winter (GW) what do you love about photography?
Cari Ann(ca) haha, everything i guess. but one thing, well, i like that i wasn't immediately good at it. i like that i have to work it at it, and it's a challenge --unlike art like drawing or painting, which i was always a natural at --i like that i can see progression in my own work.
GW: Tell us where you grew up and what you like about living in Chicago?
ca: well i was born on the south side of chicago, but i moved out to the country when i was pretty young. i went to school in a declining industrial town called rockford. and well, i don't like the city that much actually. i'm moving as soon as i can, haha. it's too busy and crowded and i really don't like people very much. and there's no abandoned houses! but i guess i do like all of the museums. and all the sparkly lights at night.
GW:What's the best trait of a midwestern girl?
ca: we look good in plaid.
GW: Would you share a Valentines day story with us?
ca: uh, er, well i have a horrible memory. and i always have nice valentine's days, but nothing too memorable ever happens, really! the love stories in my life are often somewhat unexpected.
GW:What do you eat for breakfast?
ca: i am a fan of sugary cereals such as captain crunch berries or reese's peanut butter puffs.
GW: what movie haven't you seen that almost everyone else has?
GW: reading any good books lately?
ca: i'm re-reading extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safran foer. it's one of my favorites. i just bought the collector by john fowles, so i'll be starting on that one next.
GW: Have you ever seen a ghost?
ca: no, actually, which is surprising considering the locations i frequent.
GW: Favorite ride at a theme park or Carnival?
GW:What makes you crazy?
ca: like, what drives me crazy? i hate being around lots of people or being forced into awkward and uncomfortable interactions with others. i hate parties. i also don't like when doors are unlocked, when glass breaks, babies, and bells, alarms, or ringing sounds.
GW: what items are high on your want list for your apartment?
ca: i need bookshelves. terribly. everything is all over the floor, ha. also a turntable. also my boyfriend, but he's moving in soon anyway. also a puppy.
GW: Do you play music when you shoot your self-portraits?
ca: yes definitely! it totally helps.
GW: Whats currently on your playlist?
ca: this time of the year i always get into quiet, sleepy, nostalgic type stuff. yo la tengo is one of my favorites. i'm really into beach house's self-titled album right now. also, woodpigeon, vetiver, twin cats, meg baird, and alela diane. oh, and ryan adams is one of my all-time favorite musicians, and i've been listening to his "suicide handbook" album a lot lately.
GW: What is the most important element you look to capture in your photos?
ca: ah, it varies. i just really want to keep in the realm of my particular aesthetic. i want people to be able to look at one of my pictures and recognize that it belongs to me. i really want my work to be particular to me.
GW: Has getting your "look" down using photo-editing (which you do very well) made your work harder or easier?
ca: both- in a way. obviously it helps because i know what i'm going for, but that can be a hindrance too, because sometimes i feel like i've run out of ideas and i'm not progressing enough. i'm really trying not to plateau. i always want to keep going forward and coming up with bigger and better things, all while continuing with my "look." variations on a theme, i guess.
GW: How bout something off topic, like what character from Wizard of OZ do most associate with?
ca: dorothy i suppose, though honestly i only saw that movie once when i was very little because i used to have a pathological fear of tornadoes. but dorothy, you know, being a lost little girl and meeting wonderful people all the time. though i don't often wear red shoes. i prefer combat boots.
GW:Do you have any favorite photos or photographers from flickr?
ca: oh wow, that's hard. there's so many people whose work i really admire, though i'll admit i don't get the chance to look at others' work very much. i'd like to, but i try not to let myself be too influenced by outside sources.
GW: why don't you let anyone else photograph you?
ca: i do! haha. i mean, if people want to. i actually just got back from a photo shoot with saverio truglia. he's a photographer here in chicago and he does some amazing work. he even shot andrew bird (the musician, if you know him) for rolling stone! i modeled for him, with some giant albino ball pythons. it was amazing.
GW: do you look to create recurring themes in you photos? and if so, what are they?
ca: not really. i mean i have vague things running through my head, but most of it is just sortof instinctual and i don't know, i'm not a very "conceptual" person i guess.
GW: In what direction do you hope to take your photography?
ca: well i'd like to go professional one day, obviously, haha. maybe do some fashion-related things. on a broader scale, i'd like to make a difference with my work, putting back honesty and simplicity into art, taking the complication out of beauty. i just want people to be able to look at my work and feel something because of it. i really don't like most of what's prevalent in the art scene right now. it just feels so contrived and forcibly stoic to me. i think every one's trying way too hard, haha. i don't know if i'll ever be super rich or famous --i don't think i fit in well with the "art world" --but i just want to make people feel things when they look at my art.
GW: dream location to shoot?
ca: pripryat, in the ukraine. it was a city affected by the cherynobl explosion and now it's all abandoned and amazing and gorgeous. there's even an abandoned ferris wheel! also, gunkanjima, in japan. an abandoned city on an island! also, the tyersall house in singapore. a palace abandoned in 1904. it's beyond gorgeous. and maybe some of those abandoned amusement parks in japan and korea. and i've always wanted to shoot in an abandoned mental hospital, though so many are getting torn down. basically anywhere in the world that is abandoned. :]
GW: If you could photograph anyone in the world who would it be?
ca: oh, haha, i just like taking pictures of myself.
GW: rank the following: Bird - Jellyfish - crystals - maps
ca:they all receive a ranking of awesome.
GW: most prized possession?
ca: camera, duhhh. or computer, duhhh. but a not-obvious item, probably my big (fake) fur coat. it's in a lot of my pictures. i've had it for so long it's sortof become an extension of my personality.
GW: favorite part of the day?
ca: early morning, when the sun is coming up.
GW: tell me a secret?
ca: there are too many. and not really any at all.