We have a gritty, grungy, moody treat for you today! One of our favorite artists, Allison Ferris (@allie_57), sat down with us to chat a bit about her life and creative process. Her imagery is gorgeously ominous, but never without a touch of optimism. Read along and learn along and don't forget to say "hello" to her on Instagram!
My name is Allison Ferris and I’m from New Jersey. Well.. South Jersey I should say. Grew up in a little town called Clayton.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN HIGH SCHOOL?
Yikes! I’d like to say I was friendly with everyone. I didn’t have just one clique of friends. Looking back I guess I just tried to see where I fit in. I was into sports a bit. I think being on the track team was my favorite. I loved to run.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
I’ve had this thought many times. I always wanted to be a chef, or interior designer would be cool. Maybe even have my own shop of all my work. Never too late I guess!
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD?
Ooo, that’s hard. Probably Mashed Potatoes or my homemade rustic bread, right from the oven with lots of butter..
WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL?
Spirit Animal.. I love sooo many animals. Ravens are so mysterious and cool. But I actually took a quiz, twice, and it said I’m a deer.
WHAT TWO CELEBRITIES WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE YOUR PARENTS?
I have the best parents. But if I had to choose celebrities it would be Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel. He is hilarious, and she is always so fun in everything she plays. And I love her Vintage pea coat in Yes Man.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
I have a fear of water, that you can’t see through especially. I’m afraid of being on a boat. Which is weird since I grew up on a lake, swam in cedar water, canoed and ice skated in the winters with no concerns.
WHAT'S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN'T LEARN FROM INSTAGRAM?
I love to cook and bake. I’m always making something. My husband definitely gets spoiled. I also do some woodworking. I make cutting and serving boards and like distressing things. I have a 1950 Chevy pickup my husband bought for my birthday, I’m super excited for when it gets fixed up.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET IN TO PHOTOGRAPHY?
I first got into photography in 2010 after some hard times. I needed a hobby to keep me busy, so I bought a camera. I’ve always been very into art and photography. There are many things that have kept me interested and continuing to better myself. The many creative and talented accounts on IG that have inspired me through the years, and the support I get from my small following definitely doesn’t go unnoticed! Every bit of nature to anything rusty catching my eye. I love detail and to show different ways of looking at things. Mextures plays a huge role in how interested I am with my photos since I can now obtain the moody look I’m going for with all the layering filters they have to offer. Once I got the hang of this app my style changed completely for the better.
HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?
Social media has absolutely played a role in my work. Instagram more than Facebook. In the very beginning of my IG, I came across @cptnmarco/@cptnrust and fell in love with his work. He sent me a print of a mossy old truck which I proudly have on my wall. He inspired me. Along with many others. I got more exposure using more hashtags and started getting features and I liked it. Photography had become my happy place. Finding inspiration in others on IG, supporting and getting support felt good. There’s no competition, just a bunch of super creative people making friends with each other from around the world on an app of little squares full of talent. It’s great.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU TRY TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH YOUR WORK?
If anything I try to communicate beauty, mystery and emotion. Even if in a stage of decay, from flowers, rusty cars to abandoned places. I love to show detail. For flowers, I look at every angle and detail before choosing which ones to photograph. Of the decaying, I love the muted colors, and fragile curly petals. There’s a sense of sadness in them, I love to preserve that beauty and emotion. I’ve had many people tell me they now appreciate a decaying flower. I love to add mood to my shots. Make the viewer want to be there and feel something.
WHAT DOES YOUR EDITING PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
My editing process starts by going thru whatever batch I just shot and eyeing every detail, angle and orientation. Sometimes I’ll flip images around if I like that angle better than I shot it originally. I’ll open up Snapseed (sometimes Lightroom) and change the exposure or to darken/lighten select areas and to rotate it if needed. I have taken many crooked photos and you’d never guess it!
Then I go right to Mextures. I rarely use other apps to add stuff to my photos. Everything is as shot. Except maybe one recent photo.. All of my older photos are Snapseed and sometimes PicsArt edits. As soon as I switched to an iPhone, Mextures was the first app I downloaded. If you scroll thru my feed you’ll probably be able to tell when the Mextures edits started. I edit everything from my iPhone or iPad as I don’t own a computer.
HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY USE MEXTURES?
I use Mextures in the majority of my photos. If I’m doing a portrait, (of mostly my dog) or select black and white images, I’ll use Lightroom. A lot of times it’s only Mextures and no other apps. Just tweaking and I use my own formulas. Currently up to 99! I will either tweak the formulas accordingly to the image being used and save the new formula, or just use one as I had it saved. I love that there are countless ways to edit using Mextures. Layers upon layers of texture, light and colors, blending modes and texture orientation. I can go as moody or happy as I want. However I always choose mood.
WOULD YOU MIND SHARING TWO OF YOUR FAVORITE FORMULAS?
The first formula, Daisy (RVPKDFH), I made when I wanted something dark and to cover the background. This formula works well with a darker background and makes yellows pop, while also adding a dismal look, giving the image some grunge without over doing it. I use this formula often.
I have so many formulas, I like so many but here is one that is neutral and works well on a lot of images. I use this one called "Fresh" (DNTDFCH) often. I wanted to make this image simple, with a farmhouse or shabby chic feel.
WHAT MAKES MEXTURES A VITAL PIECE OF YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
Mextures is such a vital piece of my editing since it is THE app that makes my photos. Like I said before a lot of times I don’t do any tweaking on other apps, using Mextures is honestly the reason for my style now. I’ve always wanted my photos to have that emotional, slight grunge, deep and dark feel to them but I never could find an app to do so. When I switched to IPhone I was super excited to be able to dabble into it and now I’m hooked. Photography and the editing process is almost therapeutic, a creative outlet that I’ve actually stuck to.
WOULD YOU SHARE TWO OF YOUR FAVORITE PHOTOS WITH US?
I love this “Fall Path”. It is actually my old neighbors driveway and I used to walk by it almost daily with my dog. What stands out to me is its ability to pull you in with its enchanting bright fall colors. Makes you want to walk through and see what’s on the other side.
The second photo is an old railroad station near my work. I love the old western feel it puts out while also saying, “Hey. I’m a pretty creepy place.” But its really not! Just looks like a ghost train might pull up at any moment.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU MOST?
There’s so much. It can’t be just one reason. Inspiration to create for me comes from a variety of sources. One being nature itself. From new growth to the stages of decay. Birds, animals, trees, sun, rain.. From the colors and textures of old buildings, structures and rusting cars to the daily support I receive from my family, friends and Instagram followers. There are many talented artists on IG who keep me inspired by viewing all of these amazing photographs from my own state to around the world. And also, My husband, Mark, @markferris1974. He is a huge inspiration to me and so so talented, dedicated and passionate about everything he does in his art. He teaches me to not give up, to try again when I doubt myself. Supports me in every aspect and always brings me back up when I sometimes think I want to quit. But I’m pretty sure I won’t. I definitely want to keep at it, keep learning, and keep bettering myself.
IF YOU COULD TAKE CREDIT FOR ONE INSTAGRAM FEED, WHOSE WOULD IT BE?
Take credit of someone’s feed? I could choose so many, but I’ll go with @Blacktoner_5150. Such amazing locations and colors. I’m a fan of long exposure. I tried once and failed. But I’ll try again one day.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MOST INSPIRED YOUR WORK AND STYLE?
As stated before, @cptnmarco I’ve followed since I joined IG. He had inspired me to keep taking pictures, and I love his rusty cars.. Definitely Check out his 2nd account @cptnrust! There are so many styles of photography that are inspiring. I’m a fan of street photography/portraits, long exposure, black and white, macro.. I really need to expand my following list! I can’t list them all but, here are some inspiring accounts that I follow:
I’d also like to give a special shout out to where I am from. There are several accounts that are all about Jersey, showcasing how beautiful our state really is. Please check them out!
See more of Allison's gorgeous work here!