Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Conversation with Carrie Will

Rikki Red, Carrie Blue, 2007, © Carrie Will
Rikki and Carrie, Sunroom, 2006, © Carrie Will

During the time I was in Syracuse University, Carrie Will's photography always intrigued me. Her series of portraits with her twin sister, Rikki, has that tension you feel when you first come upon twins. Knowing a few pairs of identical twins myself, I knew of the insider/outsider feelings these photographs express. It is very fitting that the series is entitled, "I Am Redundant, Half Of A Whole, A Freak, Identical And Lucky." I'm glad Carrie agreed to a little conversation with us.

Nymphoto: Tell us a little about yourself.

Carrie Will: I am an identical twin. As soon as I was old enough to be asked the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I always answered the same, “an artist”. My twin sister and I are both artists. I graduated from Purchase College SUNY with a degree in photography and I received my Master’s degree from Syracuse University also in fine art photography. I have almost always lived in New York State except for a small stint where I lived in New Jersey. Photography and yoga both fight equally for my attention.

Rikki and Carrie, Rikki's Room, 2007 © Carrie Will
Rikki and Carrie, Fire Island, © Carrie Will
"The relationship I have with my twin sister is tightly woven, beautifully strange and difficult to explain. This has led me to explore a visual language that articulates the intimacy and the oddity of being a twin."

NP: How did you discover photography?

CW: As the youngest of four girls I always wanted to be just like my older sisters. One summer when I was in grade school, my oldest sister and my father took a photography class at the community college by us and I was pretty jealous. When I got to take photography in High School it was hard to get me out of the darkroom, drawing and painting became things of the past and I was hooked. All of a sudden my art-making quest made sense. I had always loved art but I struggled at it quite a bit. I’d have an idea or a feeling for how I wanted something to look and only sometimes was that easy to achieve. Photography just worked so well for me. I fell in love with photography in High School and I have been taking pictures ever since.

Rikki and Carrie, Dining Room, 2007, © Carrie Will
"Having been subjected to stares and double takes my whole life, I use photography to exaggerate the gaze of others and to illustrate the interconnectedness of our identity."

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

CW: My inspiration comes from doing the things that allow me to look inside myself. Yoga, taking walks, keeping a journal, meditation and people are the things that inspire me. As a twin, being by oneself can be scary but it can also be a victory. I remember the first walk around the neighborhood I took by myself, it was weird and exciting all at the same time. While I was in graduate school my thesis was essentially written while walking around my favorite park. I try to have a daily routine that allows me time be by myself to think to meditate or to simply look. I tend not to carry my camera with me while I walk because the act of looking is what intrigues me and if I can do it without a camera I am endlessly inspired to create those moments in my pictures that would make someone like me walking through the world, stop and notice something.

Rikki and Carrie, Rikki's Kitchen, 2008, © Carrie Will
Rikki and Carrie, Raining, 2005, © Carrie Will
"It is difficult to see yourself as an individual when no one else does."

NP: How did this project come about?

CW: This project seems to just naturally keep coming about. I have been photographing my twin sister and me on and off since I was attending college at SUNY Purchase. It wasn’t until the death of my mother and a broken heart that I realized that artistically, I needed to come back to what was the most important, and that was photographing my sister, Rikki. As much as being a twin is apart of my life I realized that I had no idea what it really means. I started photographing us just so I could see what it looked like. I wanted to see our one-ness unfold and it did.

When I am together with my twin we are accustomed to stares and questions about our twin-ship. To be the one with the camera, the one staring and posing the questions was a liberating thing for me. I will be photographing my sister for as long as I can.

Rikki and Carrie, Williamsburg, 2008, © Carrie Will
"My photographs aim at grasping the idea that I am one person as well as two and discovering what that looks like."

NP: What's next?

CW: My work will be on display at The Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Cazenovia, NY September 3rd – September 25th in a show called HEADshots with four other artists.

I continue to take photographs of my twin sister and I. I am also in the midst of a new project that feels too new to talk about but I am very excited about it and I hope to have some examples up on my website soon (

Thank you so much Carrie! To see more of her work, please go to

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I saw some of your photo's this past Friday in a gallery on Central Ave in Albany. I am fascinated by your work. I am also glad I found this web site.
Thank you, and good luck. I will follow your work.
Sincerely, Pieter Hiemstra.