Melissa Ann Pinney was awarded a 1999 Guggenheim Fellowship for her photos of American women and girls, which was turned into the book, Regarding Emma: Photographs of American Women and Girls, published in 2003 by the Center for American Places in partnership with Columbia College Chicago. Her work has been included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
What percentage of your work is premeditated and how much is shot in the moment?
‘At most, 10 percent of my work is premeditated’.
What is your process when planning a shoot?
‘Planning a shoot for me means looking for an interesting event such as a party, or a place, like the pool or beach. I bring tons of film and a flash if necessary’.
Do you find it easier to work with kids compared to adults?
‘Of course it’s easier to work with children because they are free of our adult self-consciousness and vanity. As I don’t ask them to pose for me or interrupt their play, I am generally ignored — the best position to be in! Right now, I am less interested in young children and more intrigued with teens, who are self-conscious about everything. This is a challenge. It’s much harder to be the unobserved observer, the fly on the wall’.
What camera are you using?
‘I use a Mamiya 7II’.