Set My Mind On Fire with Possibility
We sat down (virtually) with some incredible women that we've had the honor of discovering through social media. With so many articles out about perceptions of those we follow and how superficial our social media lives can be, we wanted to take a positive spin on that and feature some women who are a positive influence through their work and the way they live their lives!
Each woman featured in this series is following her dreams, and listening to her heart and her intuition. We hope this inspires you as much as it did us!
Third in our series is the amazing photographer Madison Perrins. We stumbled across her work through another friend and have been following her for quite some time. Her posts on IG (@madisonperrins) chronicle her life on the road in the most beautiful way.
1. I know who you are and what your business or passion is, but what do you say when people ask "What do you do?"
When people ask what I do, the simplest reply is, “Photographer.” I’m one half of a road team that makes photo and video content in the national parks—so most days I’m a photographer and videographer, and sometimes I write for my job. And I’m traveling about 95% of the time. My side hustle is selling my personal artwork—photomontages with strong collage and design influence.
2. Was there an "aha" moment that made you feel like you just had to follow your dream?
I didn’t recognize it at the time, but my heart decided on photography while I was taking my first photo class when I was 19. I had nervously enrolled in a traditional black and white photo course, scared to even mention to anyone that I was taking it in case I failed miserably (little did I know that part was inevitable, and I was definitely going to be doing that. A lot.). In that first semester I was constantly in awe of the art-making process, and was empowered by this new knowledge that I had uncovered for myself. Being close to art might not seem very novel to some, but I had just come from a community of about 2,000 people in the rural Rockies—any culture beside Myth-of-the-West-inspired art was hard to come by. So the work we were studying for class, and being introduced to the intellectual aspects of various movements in photography, set my mind on fire with possibility.
3. Who are your biggest inspirations?
Inspiration comes from everywhere! But if I had to name just a few people, there’s this photographer named Francesca Woodman whose story is very tragic—she died when she was 23—but the body of work she produced before that time is profound in the breadth and depth of its symbolism, pulling from deep archetypes of identity, especially female identity. I’m among the legions of young female photographers who have been magnetically drawn to her work. The same goes for Pre-Raphaelite painters, whose depictions of many of their female subjects are expressive, decorated, and elegant. Lastly, my favorite book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, is a never-ending well of inspiration. It deeply analyzes the symbolism of fairy tales and fables, and basically blows everybody’s mind who reads it.
4. What does a typical weekday look like for you?
There is no such thing as a typical weekday for me living on the road : ) But I make sure to once a day read, write, or work on my personal art for a big chunk of time, so that I don’t go crazy from how random our life is. We camp almost every night, and spend a lot of time going to and fro in whatever national park we’re in, depending on our assignment.
5. What are you most passionate about?
Though making art is my lifeblood and my link to meaning, I am most passionate about equality. I can speak on the topic of women’s rights, but there are many other narratives that need to be heard from people who are living with discrimination—whether it be about race, sexuality, disability…we have to make room for and bring attention to those stories. How much potential brainpower, ideas, and wisdom are we neglecting by excluding huge demographics of people from having opportunity?
6. What has been the least favorite job and the most favorite job/ career you've had?
The absolute worst job I’ve ever had was working at Subway. I don’t know if it was because I was a teenager, but trying to drum up care about making sandwiches was not happening. I’m guessing they were not that sad to see me go when I quit. Was I a brat, or was working there that bad? I’ll never know.
The best (and the most stressful) gig I’ve ever had was as the director of a small but bustling student gallery on campus. The learning curve was huge, and I won’t bore you with the details of the job, but holy. Crap. It was great because it showed me how much I didn’t know about that part of the art world, and challenged me to step up.
7. What would you want to tell other women who are feeling ready to take the leap and follow what makes them happy?
To be very upfront, I would let them know that sometimes it’s a hard and ugly process, but only to emphasize to those who are gonna take the leap that it’s 100% normal to not have it all figured out. I would also emphasize the importance of supporting each other. If you feel envious or conflicted about someone else’s success, which does happen, remember that everyone succeeds at different levels at different times (a gem from my favorite professor that I repeat to myself often). For every perfectly curated Instagram feed you see of polished work, know that those pieces represent both shining bright moments of love born from inspiration, and alternately moments of highly crippling self-doubt. I find a lot of solidarity in knowing that everybody’s going through that same thing. And when we dedicate ourselves to doing our thing, we are inspiring others without even knowing it.
To see more of Madison's travels and art, visit her site at mperrins.com