H E L Y N D A V E N P O R T
Tryst's Feature Artist, Helyn Davenport
Tryst's Feature Artist, Helyn Davenport is an accomplished photographer/artist, website designer and CEO of Pixiport.com
Because of Helyn's 's extensive portfolio, a career spanning over twenty years, a fascinating and revealing perspective on life and art, this interview is the first of a three-part series. In this and future issues, Helyn discusses her professional and personal life, artistic beliefs, her artwork and career objectives. Tryst is honored to present, Helyn Davenport
Mia: As interchangeable and loosely-used term as Art has become, between photography and art, I find the line of distinction is blurred. When I think of professional photography, I often equate it to portrait sittings, family pictures, scenery, slick ads for tourist attractions, etc.; whereas, "art" may be more subjective in that it encompasses personal tastes and every type of media. Philosophy, genetics or physics, for instance, might be included in the realm of art, but I would disagree being somewhat of a purist in my beliefs that art is based upon imagery and creativity. I consider all poets, painters, sculptors as artists, but not all artists are poets, painters, or photographers. By the same token, I might add all poets are writers, but not all writers are poets and I would think this would hold true for photographers?
In viewing your photography, which has been digitally altered to fit your personal vision, "art" seems more of an adequate description of your work. Helyn, in your own words, how would you describe yourself: a photographer or an artist?
Helyn: I am an artist who uses the medium of photography to create my art. Photography is a medium as paint is to a painter etc. I have been a commercial photographer and there is also a degree of artistic expression in doing that. How does one light the scene? What emotion in the still shot of a product does one wish to convey? The other side of the coin is to what degree is the artist reaching? Driven by emotions that are not expressed by words, only feelings guiding you to reflect outwards what one cannot verbally express? Is the sunflower an expression? How about the many faces in a window with added backgrounds? Or a line drawn in the sand? It is all subjective. Art is whatever you want it to be.
An artist to me, is one who can express thru whatever medium, be it writing, stone, paints, flowers, chisel, or camera. It is not the medium that makes the artist it is the driven passion to express that creates the artist. The only time I ever wrote was when I was in deep emotional turmoil. I could not sit down and think I shall write a poem. But when faced with emotional pain as in the death of my grandmother, I could not stop the words from flowing onto the paper. Inside, deep inside is that place where some artists retreat to and Never come up (they cut ears off, etc.) and others go there but do come "back" up; it is the place where I find my expressions. I am driven to create; it is as natural as breathing for me. I "need" to express in visual terms inner and reflective feelings. It is not a conscious thought. It is a natural part of me.
I am driven from that place deep inside to express. I am an artist who uses the medium of photography to express myself. I have also used other mediums in artistic ways but photography is my love, my connection to that deep mysterious place that resides within me is natural.
Mia: What makes you an artist and less a photographer, then?
Helyn: I don't think of myself less a photographer as I have spent so many years in the darkroom exploring that world from studio to forests to commercial assignments. But again it was being able to express more thru this medium that has had so many challenges. The learning curve is important to me, as I always need to be challenged. Now, with advent of digital darkroom, the learning curve is great. There will always be more to learn and explore and create.
Mia: I like interpretations, or renditions of certain themes, primarily nature, mythology, literary works. All artwork is based upon fiction including poetry. But is all work poetry? Poetry being defined as a craft that evokes images, emotions, reactions, passions, or a certain truth through the vehicle of words. Would you say that your own work might be poetic and how so?
Helyn: To me poetry speaks to one's heart and mind. I hope my art does speak to others. When I was exhibiting the series on my grandmother, many cried and thank me for expressing as they understood and had gone thru the pain from loss of loved ones. So my work spoke to them. It helped them to express and feel their own inner feelings. It was ok to feel the pain, not hide from it, understand it, and know they were not alone.
If one reacts to art no matter what way, then it is art. It has reached them. It does not matter if the emotion is angry, sad, happy, etc....as long as a reaction takes place art has a voice.
A straight photo of a scene from the holocaust speaks. It is art, it is truth. A documentary, a manipulated photo also speaks truth from within. True artists cannot hide from themselves nor do they want to.
Mia: What do you feel is your role as the editor, website designer and contributing photographer of Pixiport?
Helyn: Pixiport is a love of mine..."she" is part of my soul and a doorway, a "port" for art photographers. My photography started her, and she has evolved into what she is today. I did not envision or set out to create her as she is today. It was a natural course of flow. I learned many years ago while in a "concrete" world that artists are the worst for the most part in representing themselves. It is not an easy task, and faced with many rejections, etc. can be heart stopping for many. Pixiport works to help artists achieve some of their goals with less pain, I hope.
We held our first Expo in Deland, Florida and had artists from around the world at the opening. It was a grand start to more gallery showings. I am also in the process of finding our own gallery. Again I never started Pixiport with any of these concepts. She has just evolved into what is needed. I want to challenge their creativity; explore deeper and to feel safe in doing as not to be stuck in one place; and, to open up their creative flow...to be everything they can be to learn more of themselves as well as the techniques. I think Pixiport gives them a place to not only show their work, but also with our PBI(Photo Board International) a place to explore with workshops with Bob Snell and also with The Quill in Focus we have various sections to aid in discovering techniques, image editor tips with Carol Tipping and Ken Windsor's Art Of Internet photography shows so many forms of art which is important to be exposed to. We have new things coming in Jan in that portal to aid this direction. We are always growing, evolving into what the artists need. More to come...stay tuned.
Mia: What contributions to the world of art do you feel are your best accomplishments?
Helyn: To me my best accomplishments have not happened yet. I am still evolving and enjoying the journey. But if I had to say one thing I am most proud of, it is the fact that Pixiport has given the finest art photographers a voice-a place to be "heard". She is one of the top websites in Fine Art Photography and I am very proud of that. And Pixiport could not be Pixiport without the photographers who grace her halls working together to be the best we can be.