JONATHAN CHERY: What did you want to be growing up?
GRACIE HAGEN: I asked my boyfriend this same question the other day & he said he wanted to be a doctor, I couldn’t remember what I wanted to be. I remember playing with my sister on our motorcycles (tricycles) that we rode to our jobs where we were archeologists digging up dinosaur bones (sticks). That’s really all I can remember job wise as a kid.
JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
GH: I’m challenging myself to do different things in my art, which I wasn’t for a while. The feeling of the unknown & accomplishment once I’ve gotten somewhere new is really exciting.
JC: What are you up to right now?
GH: I have a lot of ongoing series, two are ongoing because it’s quite hard to find subjects for it. I am looking for people with physical abnormalities; any age body type or gender. That could mean a genetic defect an accident that changed a physical aspect of their life etc etc. I am attempting to tackle physical differences that most people don’t have and document how that particular distinction affects the person in a safe positive & humanizing way. I am also looking for identical twins any age body type or gender.
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
GH: Not really, in the beginning I would “model” for photographers I admired to see how they worked with the technical elements and with the subjects. I found out different ways I would and would not take photos. So inadvertent mentors I guess.
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
GH: I’m in Chicago, I’ve lived here for about 7 years now & only in the past 2 years have I really started taking photos. So the people I have access to is what is shaping my photography I guess? The internet allows me to experience art that probably influences or inspires me, so I don’t really live in a cultural bubble. I guess short answer, it allows me to access some artsy crowds but not as much as New York but the internet makes up for a little of that.
JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?
GH: If you’re trying to make money off of photography, it’s going to be really, really tough. Keep making your own art as you’re paying the bills with things you don’t find as interesting. It keeps you inspired & constantly challenging yourself is integral to making you a better photographer.
JC: If all else fails - what is your plan B?
GH: I’m gonna try my hand at being a filmmaker, which was my original plan actually.
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
GH: It is but I don’t practice what I preach. I’m involved on the internet but I don’t involve myself in the Chicago art scene as much as I should. Networking.
Did an interview with this dude, cool!