Linnea Stephan is a twenty-one year old portrait photographer from Lindstrom, Minnesota. Linnea’s portraits are a mix of snapshots and fine art, strangers and best friends, film and digital. She studies photography and media arts at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. You can find her in South or Uptown, daydreaming of snowboarding, and you can check out her work atwww.linneastephan.com.
Q. 5 words that best describe your artwork?
“Lively. Faces. Thoughtful. Strangers. Babes.”
Q. Influences/ Inspiration (friends, family, other artists)
“Since moving to Minneapolis, I got into photojournalism, wedding photography, fashion work, all kinds of work, so often my influences really depend on the project. Garry Winogrand, the street photographer, is someone whose work never fails to totally impress me, even when I am shooting something that seems unrelated. Dance and music are important to me. The talented illustrators and painters, writers, and punks that I know influence me too. I want to photograph them all. “
Q. Do you have a larger project you’re currently working on?
“Just trying to find my groove, and meet as many people as possible. I want to learn to play the trumpet and longboard!”
Q. Have you been on any recent trips that have inspired your photography?
“Last summer I drove out to Long Beach, California with my best friend. I didn’t expect to love it there, but little did I know that Southern California is portrait photography heaven, there are taco stands everywhere, and it’s just generally a fascinating place. Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada is where I called home for the past four months. Yes, that’s where Trailer Park Boys originated. It was amazing though, studying within constant walking distance of the ocean.”
Q. Where else would you like to travel and document your experience?
“Traveling to Russia sounds fun to me, so I guess that’s a rare trait because I can’t seem to find anyone who wants to join me haha. Recently, I am convinced that I would love New Orleans so I’d like to get down there soon too (and eat all their food). My list of places to see is pretty long, so hopefully traveling will always be a part of my life because I plan on it.”
Q.In your opinion, does taking pictures of people capture their soul?
“It depends where the photo ends up. If you photograph someone and then they decide to allow the photo to resonate that strongly in his or her life, then it is definitely possible.”
Q. Can you shake it like a Polaroid picture?
“Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor! (YES)”
Q. Favorite place to grab some food around the city?
“Over the summer, I worked for Heidi and Stewart Woodman on Lyndale Ave atHeidi’s. I think it definitely says something about Heidi’s food and atmosphere, when even as an employee the place always tempted me. The ingredients and staff are incredible. I almost always cook for myself, and when I do go out I try to go to spots I’ve never been to before, but I will always recommend Slice of New York’s vegetarian basil feta pizza. “
Q. What do you think makes a solid photograph?
“Composition is crucial. Just thinking about all the decisions you can make about what to include or what not to include in a photo makes me want to pick up a camera. Sincerity and originality. But to really make a solid photograph, I can’t assume I know everything. Gotta stay humble and curious towards your subject.”
Q. Where do you see yourself in 5 years and what will you be doing?
“I hope to be lying around on the beach in Indonesia, surfing, teaching English language, and making portraits. I’d like to work for a magazine or other publication.”
Q. Do you have a secret talent? If so, please elaborate!
“Last time I checked, the American Red Cross has me on their list of lifeguards, so I can swim mighty well and I know my CPR.”
Q. What made you want to get into photography and why do you want to be a photographer?
“My dad gave me a camera when I was 10, a Canon Rebel that I still use it for homework, which is hilarious to think about. I wasted so much of someone’s money on film for stacks of bad, little kid vacation pictures. I want to be a photographer because it’s a voice for my beliefs: environmental, social, whatever it may be. But I really want to be a photographer because I want to remind people of each other’s faces and what they mean, the stories behind them.”
Q. Any last shout outs?
“A big, cheesy, but genuine thank you to everyone I’ve ever photographed. A shoutout to my Mum and Dad. The Original Three. Sasha Schoen. My peers at MCAD and in Canada. A thank you especially to H.H. Lim, Judy Kepes, Marcellina Reis, and all the other art moms and dads of my life. And last but most, Jesse Selden.”