20 Questions with 2011 Weekends Administrator Eileen Rafferty

Our 2011 Weekends season is underway and we thought we’d give you a quick look into the world of our Weekend Administrator, Eileen Rafferty. Eileen, along with instructors Tony RizzutoTim Cooper and Doug Johnson are the core of this traveling program. Check out the 2011 Weekends schedule to see if there is an event coming to your area this year

What is your favorite part of Administrating the RMSP Weekends?
THE TRAVEL.  Getting to go to places I might never see otherwise and getting to see art in every city. (Oh yeah, and the company of the amazing instructors!)

You also teach RMSP workshops and in Career Training (CT). What is your favorite subject to teach?
I really love the intensity and long term commitment of CT. I enjoy watching the students grow, and in turn, they help me grow.

If you could sit in on one of Tony, Doug or Tim’s courses, which one would you choose? Why?
Anything with Tim and Photoshop. He’s a master and I learn something from him every time.

Where did you get your photographic education?
RMSP SI 1999 and MFA Photography and Film, VCU (Richmond, VA).

When you first decided to become a photographer what kind of photographer did you think you’d be?
I had no idea. I wanted to never hate my job and so I decided to live, eat and breathe it for awhile…I figured that would tell me if I was going to love it or hate it. I guess you can figure out the answer to that one.

What kind of a photographer are you? (ie: portraiture, landscape, architecture)
An expressive one.

If you could be anywhere in the world shooting right now, where would you be?

What’s your favorite aspect of photography?
Its constant evolution, even though it can be hard to keep up with all fronts (camera equipment, hardware, software, the market, social networking, etc.) it keeps me on my toes. I also love that I can make an image based on whatever I can dream up in my head. It can be pure reality or pure fantasy…whatever I want it to be.

Printing. Love it or leave it? Do it yourself or outsource it?
LOVE IT! Love playing with different surfaces, mixed media, etc. It’s a huge part of the process to me, but that probably comes from the darkroom.

Coffee. Yes or no? Cream, sugar or straight up?
YES! Straight up, baby.

What’s your favorite food?
Right now, curry dishes.

Your car. Automatic or a stick?
STICK. Automatic is for wussies and old people.

What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
So many! For content -Women Who Run with the Wolves and for eye candy -Kyoto Woodcuts by Naoko Matsubara.

What do you like to do when not shooting or teaching?
Anything that feeds my mind and body and challenges me on some level, big or small.

What’s your worst horror story related to your camera gear? (lens dropped in a toilet? run over by charging buffalo?)
I dropped a lens in a river, but everyone does that. The funniest was assisting Athena (Athena Photography) on one of her biggest commercial shoots and being so engrossed in the scenery that I let her sit down while she was shooting in a cowpie! She fired me and then hired me right back (she fired me the day before too and hired me right back). Good things she’s not only a great photographer but a great friend! I guess I won’t get any more assisting gigs with big name photographers after this post?

You’ve done a lot with video. Do you like still photography or video better these days?
They’re different beasts. It depends on the project and what I’m trying to express. There’s a time and place for each medium.

If you could photograph any person in the world, who would it be?
The amazing photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto and I’d pick his brain on how his mind works the entire time!

What is the highest high you have had in photography? (cover of a National Geographic? Photographed the president?)
Showing up to my final thesis show for my masters, with my colleagues and mentor and loved-ones after two years of blood, sweat and tears.

What’s your dream assignment/job in photography?
To go to Japan and learn paper-making and woodcut printing from the masters. I’d love to document Japanese culture and spend years photographing all over Japan.

Do you have a favorite photo that you’ve taken? If so, describe it.
Not really. That would be like having a favorite child or pet!

What was your New Year’s Resolution?
I don’t make resolutions. If there’s something I want to be or do, why wait until January 1? This year I feel the need to give on a greater level. Not sure how that will play out.