June 7th, 2017
Jesse Gussow

The first image I ever saw from photographer Marla Red was one of Scarlett Storm. It was outstanding! The way her hair flowed over her tattoos was perfect - it sculpted her body and accentuated her tattoos. The lighting made the whole photo feel enchanting. The manner in which Scarlett looks up to the sky as it clearly shows her tattoo of a UFO, was perfect! Since that moment I’ve been a fan of Marla’s work and she was kind enough to be interviewed and provide some work to share with you.


Where are you from?

South Jersey suburbs, 10 minutes outside of Philadelphia.



How did you get started in photography?

I can't remember a time when photography wasn't a part of my life. I got my first camera at 5 and things progressed from there. I was a pretty shy kid, so it was nice to hide behind a camera. It's still one of my favorite places to be.



Who is your biggest influence in your photography?

I'm not sure there is any one person, but more so people/life in general that deeply impact my work. Ilse Bing, Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, Man Ray, Chuck Close, Annie Leibowitz, David LaChapelle and Ellen Von Unwerth are just a few who have made me want to pick up my camera.



How would you describe your style? How have others?

I love chasing light and using it as a second subject to my portraits. I spend a lot of time in the woods and nature is one of my biggest inspirations. My work has really been evolving over the years and as I approach my 40's, my focus has changed as well. I tend to gravitate towards more gritty/bw portraiture, but it really depends on the subject and my mood. I don't go into a shoot knowing 100% what is going to happen. That's the beauty of it!



What do you feel the role of photography and photographers is in today’s society and cultures?

Every photographer I talk to will say the same thing, "Everyone is a photographer now." The introduction of smart phones made a camera accessible to everyone and with social media, no subject is off the table. We see the news like never before. We are a much more visual society and even though it can be a blessing and a curse, it's given some talented people a platform to showcase their work and reach others in their field, when before it wasn't so accessible. We are still the memory keepers and time stoppers, we just have a broader audience.



Best story of some hate you received?

I can't say I have received much hate. I'm selective on what I put out there, but this answer may change in a year. I'm planning on taking more risks with my art. Stay tuned.



What is in your camera bag?

My Nikon, lenses, memory cards, business cards, MAC lipstick (Ruby Woo) and a pressed penny from Seattle.



Do you have any funny shoot stories you might like to share with us?

I seem to have a knack for attracting the cops! During one shoot, I collaborated with a fellow artist who was running around the woods in a prison suit, with a white mask and handcuffs. I laugh writing that now, but at the time I didn't really think we would attract enough attention to have someone alert the police. After showing them our identification and going through all 450 photos on my camera, they let us go. I laugh now, but I really didn't know how that story was going to end at the time. I took some of my favorite shots that day, so it was all worth it. Lesson from that day, take chances!



What kind of music and books do you enjoy?

I have always been a big reader. I pretty much read anything and everything I can get my hands on. I would have to say that Stephen King and Clive Barker were my top authors growing up. I love all things horror and suspense. Neil Gaiman and Chuck Palahniuk are also favorites. My music varies as well. I can literally go from Wu-Tang to Nirvana. Really depends on the day!



What software do you use? why?

When I first started photography my software was a darkroom, but these days I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I've always embraced technology and I mainly use them now to save time and space.



If you weren't a photographer what would you be doing?

I'm also a Barber and a Freelance Hair Stylist/MUA. Photography has always been a part of my life and it's what I went to college for, but it's never been my main job. I like that I'm able to make the art that I want to and not be forced to take on jobs I don't have a passion for. I like my creative freedom.



Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies? or something else?

Oreos, but now I want to try Fudgee-O's! Ha

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