Photographer Sally Canzoneri shares her fascinating portfolio and talks about her journey in becoming an artist.
ABI: Your background is quite diverse. How did it lead you to becoming a photographer?
SC: I went to Bennington, a college known for arts, but I majored in history. After college, I worked in city planning, then went to graduate and law school. When we moved to DC, I became a Federal government attorney.
Years later, a time came when a bunch of people in my life needed nurturing; so I decided to become a homemaker. I expected to go back to practicing law, but it didn’t turn out that way.
Teaching creative writing classes to kids led me to book arts. Inspired by British artist Paul Johnson, I started incorporating book arts into my classes. I also started making artist books.
Then I started working in digital photography – initially, to make images for my artist’s books.
I think my varied background shows in my work. My professional education and experience has shaped my “photographer’s eye” and, because I was a book artist first, I tend to look at photography as tool for creating graphic images, rather than traditional photographs.
ABI: How would you describe the concept behind your photography portfolio?
SC: I have a pictorial style that gives my images a quality of “old fashioned” prints rather than modern photographs. This often contrasts with the content of the images, inviting viewers to look more closely at everyday scenes. I like this because it gives viewers more room to imagine stories behind the pictures than “straight” photographs do. Frequently, photographers are trying to tell a particular story. I’m more interested in having viewers develop their own stories for the images.
ABI: What success have you found through exhibiting your work?
SC: I’ve had work in numerous juried shows in the last two years, mostly in the Washington, DC area. Submitting locally saves me shipping hassles, and it has helped me build relationships because I can go to openings and network. I had two solo shows in 2015, and have two more scheduled in 2016. The networking helped me get those shows.
I have sold a number of pieces through exhibitions, particularly in the last few months. However, submitting regularly to juried shows can take up time that might be better used marketing your art other ways. I like the ego boost of juried shows, but have learned to be more selective about where and how often I submit.
ABI: What future projects so you have in mind?
SC: Right now I’m working on a solo show about the NoMa neighborhood of DC. I’m making lenticular pictures combining historic photos of the neighborhood with my own current pictures. I also have a number of ideas for artist’s books incorporating my photographs.
On the business side, I plan to pursue more avenues for sales of my work. I feel that I need to “rev up” my marketing efforts and my online presence. I went to an ABI workshop last year, and want to make more use of things I learned there.