Tytia Habing lives and works in Watson, Illinois very near where she grew up on a working farm. Having spent most of her adult life living in the Cayman Islands, she moved back to her roots a few short years ago. She holds degrees in both horticulture and landscape architecture and is a self-taught photographer. Tytia’s work has been exhibited internationally and has been published in Lenscratch, Black + White Magazine, The Sun, Shots Magazine and National Geographic to name but a few. Most notably, her work has been featured on CNN recently and shortlisted for both the Black and White Photographer of the Year 2015 sponsored by Leica and Critical Mass 2015.
How and when did you become interested in photography?
It was a happy accident really. I never had any interest in photography previously even though my older brother graduated with a photography degree. I was in my last year at university in 1999, working towards my landscape architecture degree and I had some electives I needed to fill. I happened to find an intro to photography class that fit into my schedule and it was in a building very near the architecture buildings so it was convenient. I thought it would be a fun, easy class to round out my schedule. Little did I know I would almost immediately become obsessed with it. I spent every spare minute in the darkroom and my other classes kind of fell by the wayside. My intro to photography class suddenly had first billing! My last semester I took the follow up class as well, and that ended my official training in photography. Everything else has been self-taught.
Is there any artist/photographer who inspired your art?
When I first started photography, I knew nothing about the history of it or anything about other photographers so I was able to find my own style of shooting before being influenced by anyone else. I feel lucky to have been able to do that, because it’s very easy to fall into a trap of trying to emulate others and shoot like them. That’s not to say I don’t admire many other photographers, because I do. I’m inspired by others every single day, but there’s no one particular photographer that has inspired how and what I shoot.
Why do you work in black and white rather than color?
Black and white removes any distractions for the viewer. It’s easy to distill a black and white image and show the viewer exactly what you want them to see. I can focus on contrasting light, shape, lines, texture and negative space and not have to worry about color distracting the eye. Black and White also has a classic, timeless feel you can’t achieve with color. There’s nothing better than a black and white photograph with deep, rich blacks and a broad tonal range!
How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs?
I don’t have to do much preparation at all. All I need to do is make sure my camera batteries are charged and ready to go. My work is documentary in nature, so I grab my camera and go.
Where is your photography going? What projects would you like to accomplish?
I hope to continue shooting my fine art work as well as taking commissioned projects. I recently began working on my first conceptual project. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it’s based on the natural healing properties of nature. I hope to complete it by this fall.