Rebecca Foley is a photographic artist, university educator, and gallery director based in Saint Joseph, MO. Her artwork bridges digital and historical photographic methods, while exploring ideas of personal history and universal experience.
How long have you been a photographic artist?
I have been a photographic artist for about 20 years. I found my voice as an artist and first developed my skillset in college at Rice University, under the mentorship of a fantastic professor. At that time, I realized that I wanted to continue as a photographer while also pursuing photography education as a career. I have been the photography professor in the Art Department at Missouri Western State University since 2009.
What drew you to photography as a form of expression?
I think I have always been attracted to the ease of photography as an extension to vision, along with the endless possibilities of the medium. I love that I can mix digital technology with darkroom and analog techniques and mixed media. I have always felt like photography allows endless possibilities for expression and exploration.
Are there any artists or art styles that help inspire your work?
The first two that come to mind are Harry Callahan and Abelardo Morell. Both artists experiment with the medium, just as I do.
Has your work seen any transitions or transformations from when you first began in this medium? If so, in what way?
After 20 years, I can see patterns within my work and reoccurring motifs. After graduate school, I was interested in more topical explorations, with subject matter ranging from food to displacement. Since becoming a parent, my home life has taken a larger role in my artwork. I think back to my first polished body work of botanical photograms, and I feel like I could pick that project back up and continue it any day, which lets me know that even though I have matured and changed, I have been working in something of a circle.
With the quarantine in place, how are you using your photography to deal with being in isolation?
I have been photographing what is right next to me, but that is not so different from my usual approach. I tend to explore my family and personal history with my photography, utilizing a lot of still life subject matter. For me, home has been a great place to be.