Professional photographer and writer Felicia Shelton talks about travels, her blog, the Richmond neighborhood The Fan, and her contribution to Tom Dixon’s new book.
Erica Johansson: Can you tell us a bit about your blog This Time in Seoul? What do you usually write about?
Felicia Shelton: My blog was initially created as a way to share my daily life in such a dynamic city such as Seoul with my family and friends at home in various parts of the United States and Europe. I was so excited about and intimidated by my new camera, (a Canon), that the blog became a journal, my own magazine, if you will. It has helped me to become a better writer and observer. It also led me to some great gigs as a writer and photographer. So fellow bloggers, you never know who’s checking out your blog, it may be a door opener if you’re consistent with it.
Of all the cities you have lived in the recent years – Gothenburg, Paris and Seoul – which is your favorite?
Paris, Paris, Paris. In the words of Gertrude Stein ” America is my country but Paris is my hometown.” I was there this summer and not only was she, Paris, different but I was different as well. We’d both changed for the better and I’ve never loved that city more.
What do you like most about the district The Fan of Richmond, Virgina, where you are based?
I’m still trying to be based here but have now decided to be open to other locations. I am single and still want to travel and do as many wonderful things as I can while I do not have the responsibility and commitment it takes when you have a family. That being said, The Fan is where I love being single but also it would be a great place to start a family. The best thing about this neighborhood is that it’s walkable. The architecture is incredible, it has restaurants galore, the art scene is thriving, we have great universities. All these things and more make this a great neighborhood. For me, at the end of the day, it’s just the fact that people smile and wave to each other in the morning, throughout the day. There’s nothing like Southern hospitality.
Your photos can be seen in Tom Dixon’s new book The Interior World of Tom Dixon, and you’re also working on a travel photography book. Which do you prefer, working with others or on your own?
I love to work, period. It’s really not work at all, I enjoy it and my life that much. Whether it’s work that I’ve initiated or whether someone is inspired enough by my work to hire me, it’s all the same to me. It was a chance of lifetime to work for Tom Dixon on this project, really he gave me my first professional start. He would send me chapters and I’d make sure through him or his staff that I was clear about what was needed, then I would go out into Seoul and shoot. In a way I was still free in that I didn’t have a boss breathing down my neck or making me prematurely gray with demands. I like that someone, a client will give me some idea of what they wish to have in a book or magazine and then I go out into the world and photograph that thing, place, object, etc. on my own, with my own eye.
I read on your blog that you got an offer to work as a photographer on a project in Mali. How exciting! What can you reveal about the project?
It is exciting! I can’t reveal too much now as everything is still in the air with preparations but I hope to join a great group of people who want to bring awareness of Malian culture to the city of Richmond, starting with it’s public schools. I am a strong advocate of learning about foreign cultures, languages and people. People are any country’s greatest resource. I’ve never been on the continent of Africa and it would be an honor to photograph the daily lives of Malian people, artifacts, colors, textures…
If time and money weren’t any obstacles, where in the world would you travel and why?
Several places come to mind: Italy, Brazil, India, Indonesia. I have a soft spot for Italy I was there some years ago and my first stop was Perugia. Never before had I seen such light as exists in Perugia or Italy for that matter. It was as if everything was golden, bronze, simply luminous. It was like a fairy tale really. When I travel places I usually just like to walk around leisurely, slowly. It helps me see things as a photographer and a traveler. I love Italy and Italians, in that order.
Anything I forgot to ask?
Nope. Thank you so much! It’s been a pleasure and an honor.
Thanks again Felicia and I wish you all the best with your future projects.