We caught up with Riley Halliday to talk about her vibrant creations, colour theory and the New Year.
Are you particularly interested in colour theory and how does colour play a part in your photography?
I love the idea that different colors evoke different emotions, and it’s something I’ve explored through my photography. I’ve definitely had my blue periods, where all my photography has had bluer tones in it. I use blue as a way to make viewers feel calm, yet nostalgic in a way.
More recently, I’ve taken inspiration from the 60s, 70s, and 80s which were full of vibrant colors like reds, yellows, pinks, and oranges. These fun, plastic-like colors are just a part of what I see in my head before I shoot. I want people to feel like they’ve been transported somewhere else in my photography, so the more unnatural the color scheme, the better.
In your work – how do you represent ideas about your own culture?
A lot of my photographs are reimagined ideas of the past. I like to take concepts, such as the stereotypical 50s housewife, and turn her into something powerful, or even have a man play her. Since I live in a nondescript suburban town dominated by sports culture, I like to take images that make people have to think – or even leave them confused. This is why the majority of my photographs have feminist undertones or messages about animal rights without them being obvious to the viewer.
What’s the most surprising response you’ve had to your work?
My series “Ruth” with model Micah playing a distraught older female created quite a bit of confusion for some. A couple of people went out of their way to message him asking him if he was serious. The goal of the series was to make people think about fragile masculinity, as well as what the stereotypical female looks like from a man’s point of view. Maybe it didn’t hit the nail on the head, but their response to the series was the exact reason I made it.
As we celebrate the beginning of 2017, do you ever create New Year’s resolutions that concern your photography and artwork more than your personal life?
This year in particular, the majority of my New Year’s resolutions concern my photography. 2016 was the jumping off point for me; before then I was taking pictures of the same people and kept my concepts more conservative. In 2017, I hope to take the high dive into a crazy, colorful, conceptual world. I’ve been working with vintage clothing and products, as well as wigs, and I hope to capture elements of the past while taking pictures that lead people into the future.
One big goal for me this year is working with a variety of models. I want my photography to be a world that celebrates everyone and I would hate for someone to look at my pictures and feel like an outsider looking in. I definitely want to work with more male models as well and help shed fragile masculinity.
What do you think is missing from a lot of mainstream media that artists on social media offer instead?
Social media has this sense of individuality that main stream media will never emulate. For instance, it has allowed photography to be more diverse. If social media didn’t exist I may not even know of some awesome female photographers I’ve discovered because they live on the other side of the world. Social media makes the world larger but more intimate at the same time.
What social media has brought about is different perspectives as well. In mainstream media the diversity of models and concepts is few and far between. We usually see the same type of girl sitting in front of a white backdrop with a mannequin-like pose. Social media gives us so much more than that one perspective; it shows how each of us see the world in so many different ways.
Check out more of Riley’s Work here!