One of my favorite photographers (and also one of my best friends) is currently based in my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Since I moved away from there ten years ago, it seems the art community has exploded, which makes me both sad and happy—I hate missing it as it’s happening, but unfortunately, I’m not a ghost who can float from place to place and check everything out. Yet.
Enid Valu is an exceptional documentary/fashion/band/portrait photographer who never fails to amaze me. Her talent lies in her ability to capture her subjects perfectly. Her presence puts the people around her at such ease that they become their true selves in front of her camera, and that comes through very strongly in the photographs. She’s mild, but intensely talented. She knows how to use her camera as if it’s an extension of her body.
I love that she chooses not to go down a dull path of simply buying fabric backdrops and then pointing and shooting, but instead does innovative things like building her own equipment and sets, and playing with lighting in unconventional ways in order to achieve incredibly interesting photos.
Ever since she began taking photos over ten years ago, Enid has been reluctant to learn Photoshop and other editing tools, simply because she’s a purist. As a result, most of her photographs are left raw, straight off the camera—even though you’d hardly know it. This is because one of her greatest strengths as a photographer comes from her constant experimentation with camera tricks and lighting. She loves to explore as she’s shooting, which is what an artist should want to do.
These are some examples of her in-camera tricks:
Enid is also a veteran of live shows, and happens to be great at capturing subjects during them. Below are Chris Martin, Muse, Thom Yorke, Sharon Jones, Bjork, Tom Petty, Beck, and more.
And here’s one she took of me, at a party:
But what I’m probably most excited about is her future book, A Charlotte Collective. Featuring truly amazing photographs taken in my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, I am so in love with this project. Not only do these pictures remind me of Bill Owens (my favorite photographer), but it’s my home.
Her work shows no signs of false indulgence or desperate extravagance. In the same way she pulls personality out of her subjects, she pulls ideas from whatever is around her. I think she is absolutely fantastic.
To see more of her work, go here.