Edie Sunday

Who are you?

My name is Edie and I was born in a small town in Texas called Magnolia, but I've been residing in Austin, TX since I was 19. I'm working on completing my doctorate in psychology but still have no idea what I want to do with my life! I spend most of my spare time with my cameras, cats, and soul mate.

How did you get into photography?

There are two versions to this story: The first is that when I was a child my grandmother gave me her polaroid camera, and I fell in love with its ability to capture and make tangible all of the fleeting moments of my life. I was also blown away by the chemical processes involved and would watch a polaroid develop from start to finish. I even started trying to manipulate them on my own by boiling them and then writing on them when I was 12. Then, after much disappointment with a digital camera I'd bought for myself when I was 14 my dad gifted me his 35mm Canon Rebel, and it was history after that.

Except for the second version--when I went to college and put all of my efforts into getting accepted into a PhD program and immersed myself in the world of science so intensely that photography and art in general gradually came to a halt for me. Upon completing my degree and gaining acceptance into the program of my choice, I felt a profound sense of emptiness that earning a PhD wasn't going to fill. I couldn't put my finger on it-- but upon meeting my boyfriend and him catching a glimpse of my antique camera collection--he was baffled by the fact that I no longer used any of them. He asked me very kindly to try to make some photos again and see how it felt, and it really was history after that.

What was your dream job as a child?

I always went back and forth between an artist and a doctor, and strangely enough things haven't changed too much. I'm on my way to becoming a psychologist, and art is a bigger part of my life than ever.

How would you define your style?

Dark and ethereal.

What is your typical shooting gear?

My most used camera is my Mamiya RB67, but I rarely shoot roll film in it. I have a polaroid back and shoot expired Polacolor exclusively, for now (until it's truly all gone). My next most used camera would be my 35mm Canon A1, and I'm in a sort of mad scientist phase experimenting with chemically manipulating 35mm film in order to get closer to creating the visions I see in my mind. I also shoot large format with a Graphlex Crown Graphic, and I sometimes shoot b&w and color sheet film, but of course I've got three different polaroid backs for it that I tend to use more than the sheet film.

How important is for you the equipment when photographing?

Well, I don't really care at all how "nice" my equipment is-- so you could say I really don't care about gear. However, the types of film I shoot really do require specialized, out of production equipment. So I guess in that sense, it's important. But if you took it all away from me, I would be just as fulfilled with a 1970s 35mm.

Why film?

Because it's real. Because I can see it, touch it, alter it. Because it's imperfect, and it's the only medium I feel I can truly capture my version of the human experience with.

Why instant film?

I think it might have something to do with childhood nostalgia and the fact that it was the first form of photography I fell in love with. But to me it's just magic and mystery-- everything about it. The tones I see in expired Polacolor are more beautiful than anything else I've ever seen, and no one painted them--there is no system to it at this point in their expired state-- it's just the chemicals creating the art with you.


This interview was originally published on BehindTheCamera.co.