Chrissie White says that without art she wouldn't be who she is today. Like many photographers, Chrissie has a shy-streak to her, but she has found photography as a way to express herself and show the world who she is through visual communication. The 20 year-old photographer says that “…when I am not actively engaged in something artistic I often feel very sad and worthless if there is no party or adventure involved.” She feels connected to the “creepier side of things” in her self-portraits, “because when I was first making photographs as a teenager I was very lonely, very angry and depressed, I would often stay up really late and play with my camera because it gave me a release and comforted me like nothing else could.”
She began by staging photo shoots with a toy doll called Blythe as her model. “I enjoyed the freedom of being able to sew clothing for my dolls and staging photo shoots with them, there was no pressure and it was easy for me to take pictures of something that looked human but didn't have a real personality to think about.” From Blythe she began experimenting with self-portraits, and using her twin sister as a model. “I have always preferred to stage my photographs and was naturally drawn to conceptual photographs versus candid memories.” She was “discovered” at age 15, and was featured in a variety of magazines—from O, Oprah to Elle Girl Korea, to American Photography. She is now expanding into commercial fashion photography—an opportunity to take another step towards collaboration with others and a step away from her shyness.
Chrissie’s main artistic themes are dreams and nightmares. “When I say that I do not mean that I get my ideas from dreams that I have…in fact that is very rare for me, but I spend a lot of free time thinking of stories and images. I want to create photographs that have surreal qualities to them even if it is a fashion shoot.”
Recently she’s been creating more scary images than pretty dream-like scenarios, “I like the mystery and the atmosphere of darkness illuminated by different light sources. I think my darker themes are mostly about aliens, monsters, ghosts…and personal internal battles as well like paranoia and schizophrenia.”
She says she gets bored with pretty models in designer clothes, and finds that she makes the most abstract and creative photographs when she is taking self portraits. Chrissie doesn’t see the pressure of involving others and it gives her the freedom to spend as much time as she'd like trying to master the lighting and the pose.
For Chrissie, photography is but one step in her creative journey. She plans to I learn how to make clay masks and how to paint because building sets and props are an important part in her work. “Oh and I also love to go to dance parties, that is probably my second passion in life.”
It seems that “passion” is not something that is lacking in anything Chrissie White does.