Amy Elkins' Top Ten

Born in Venice Beach, CA in 1979, rooted in New Orleans, residing and working in New York with wanderlust for unfamiliar territories, Amy Elkins is a photographer who's work explores notions of vulnerability, identity and transitory states.

[Amy is also a heavy hitter in the blog world and can be found on her blog, wanderlustagraphy and is co-curator of the brand new Women In Photography.]

Amy Elkins Top Ten

10. Accidental photographs-

Such as…

© Amy Elkins
Those one's you swore would never work.. yet that blew you away on your contact sheets. You know the ones... everything was going wrong yet you still have some gems.

9. The World Wide Web-

Come on. Now really.. we're all quite hooked on it. I would be lying if I didn't say it was in my top 10. Shall I give more details? It is the reason I was introduced to most of the wonderful photographers I know today, including but not limited to: Richard Renaldi, Shen Wei, Will Steacy, Amy Stein, Justin James Reed, Joerg Colberg, Alec Soth, etc. etc. Talk about six degrees of separation. And well.. let's see what addictive (I never said they weren't embarrassing) sites are frequented: Netflix, Wikipedia, the epic blog roll in my Google Reader, Saatchi, ffffound, freerice, stuffwhitepeoplelike... and on and on. Oh and of course the ever-so-responsible On-line bill pay comes in handy too, especially when distracted by all of the above.

8. Music-

© Jerry Schatzberg

Neil Young to Daniel Johnston, Bob Dylan to Moldy Peaches, Matt Marque to Lambchop, Cat Power to Cat Stevens. I was raised with music. My mother has been a musician since before I was born. Family get-togethers at my grandmother's house usually involved hootenannies. My father, a fan of dance, took my brother and I to the dance studio several times a week. The combination left both my brother and I restless in the ears.

7. Portraiture-

© Seydou Keita

From the Dutch painting masters to August Sanders, I've got a soft spot for portraiture.

6. The ocean-

© Clifford Ross

Reminds me of my childhood on the west coast. My dad worked at a marine biology lab in Redondo Beach and when I went with him to work on occasion I would feed the giant sea bass, small shark, lobsters, sting rays, etc. His car always smelled like salt water. My grandmother lived by the Santa Monica Pier and we would go there often. My first road trip was just after graduating high school, taking three weeks to drive from Ventura, CA to Washington and back. The ocean on the north west coast line was insanely beautiful and rough.

5. Good writing- (input-output diagram)

Ondaatje, Salinger, Sontag, Kerouac, Bukowski, Rilke.. as well as hand written letters and postcards. Keeps my eyes from wandering while on rush hour trains, inspires me, moves me, keeps my mind reeling.

4. Notebooks-

My brain goes on overdrive quite often. Notebooks, Moleskin planners, Sketchpads and the like help me get my ideas out. My bag has all three during most outings.

3. Coffee-

I've been drinking it since I was about 12 years old. As of lately I've been getting more into actually drinking good coffee and can be found on any given morning, starting the day by pressing down on my Bodum.

2. Six Feet Under-

Best TV show ever made. Hands down. I wish it could have gone on forever.

1. New Orleans-

Super Sunday, 2002

She clutched my heart the day I set foot on her cracked sidewalks. Played me sweet songs until 4am on any given night. Introduced me to Second Line Parades, Funeral Marches, St. Joseph's Night, the Krewe of Saint Anne's, Super Sunday, French Fry Po'boys, Crawfish boils, Shotgun Apts, Vodka and Ginger ale's, Costume parties, Bingo, Klezmer music, Cajun, Zydeco, Brass, Funk and the rattling of spoons on washboards on Royal St. New Orleans held me close for the years I lived there, barely let me go when she knew it might be time to leave and has since tried to sway me back to her broken streets again and again.