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Meet Liz Rice

Today we’d like to introduce you to Liz Rice.

Liz, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I first got my grubby lil’ paws on a proper camera when I was eight. If I recall it correctly, I was stuck in a summer day camp tucked on the south side of the Oklahoma fairgrounds. The favorable bit of it was that I got to choose which workshop I’d spend half the day in (thanks mom). I opted for photography and the opportunity to peep inside a darkroom (the alternative, crafts, made my stomach churn). Anywho, I loved it.

Around the same time, my dad took Glamour Shots for a short stint and took me with him often (that was awesome, thank you pa). Cut to far too many years later (8 plus a decade), a fistful of offbeat encounters and experiences and mini epiphanies and aftermaths imprinted upon me and thus contributed to where I am with this proclivity and cup of tea: a titillating tip and a compact digital camera from a dear and wise friend who suggested a selfie would go long distance and buoy up a young, dumb, endearing and doomed “love” with a fish from another aquarium; the feeling I felt soon after (a humbling but emboldening one) and the rabbit hole learning curve that followed; an in debt and desperate diablo with a habit who offered up his DSLR and one lens for a week’s worth of my waitress tips (that camera became my first); and the opening shot of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (a closeup of Scarlett J.’s bum and see-through chonies)… the frame filled with a woman unselfconsciously inhabiting her room… embodying a physicality and femininity so subtle yet palpable and all at once intimate and real.

If I am a wee amalgamation of what and whom I have been exposed to, then like a moth to a very bright flame, I took to and took from all of the above (and then some). There’s more meat to my story, but that’s the gist of it, except for this last tidbit- I wanted others to feel what I felt after that first self-portrait. I wanted others (still do) to feel that tinge of adrenaline, wariness, vulnerability, singe of energy, concern, relief, assurance, boldness, empowerment regardless of whether the feeling’s a fleeting one or doesn’t sink in and sit for weeks to come.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Oof. Nose scrunch. Is it for anyone? It’s been a colorful one for sure, but a late-blooming, wayward road that I’ve bumbled along.

A few months ago, I emptied my storage unit and dug out the very first photo I took and developed in that makeshift camp classroom all those years ago- a portrait of my first photography influencer, a grandpa doppelganger and the gent who taught the lot of us chitlins how to tinker with magic potions in developing trays. With hat cocked to the side, his arm on his camera, sporting a cardigan, brows puckered and wrinkles perfectly fallen… the composition, lighting, meaning… I somehow nailed it all. I sure do cherish that print, but I see only now what I wish I would’ve understood then- something clicked within.

Occasionally I think of all that lost time, flailing about, figuring out who I wanted to be but without a camera in hand. But whatevs, I’ve got one now and am head and hands deep in cultivating my thing. I count myself lucky.

Tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I am all about authenticity and am most proud of this. That is what I look for and go after and showcase. I like to keep it raw, flaws and all, and hone in on the parts that seldom see the sun and amplify them because to get up close and personal and shift the camera and light just so is to shift perspective… all at once, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. This is what I want to glimpse, collaborate with, ignite, illuminate and spotlight.

I do what I do because it’s intoxicating and awe-inspiring for me to be privy to such a thing, as it is to capture that unguarded moment of detachment from diffidence or indifference- the moment a muse sinks into themselves… this is when I press the shutter button.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
To keep on keepin’ on.

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