We welcome Heather Byington to Las Vegas and to the Emergency Arts Collective! When we visit her, she is sitting in her studio office behind her computer on the first floor of the EA building. She’s very friendly and energetic and invites us into her office. I sit on a short pedestal made of plaster that belonged to her great, great grandmother. It's dark in the office, mostly because she was working on editing her color photography files. Past photography work decorates the walls. It’s stunning. Surreal. Haunting. Strange. I stare deeper and deeper into each image, allowing each photo to tell me its mysterious story. I am told epic tales and transported to lands that I’ve longed to visit. I am reminded of nightmares that had me in their clutches, and sweet fantasies I’d like to dream again. It’s almost like they vibrate against the walls. They beckon you to keep looking, to dive deeper into the meaning, metaphor, mystery and character. Each photo will tell a different story depending on the viewer. It’s your own private conversation.
Byington is originally from a small town in Minnesota. We ask what brought her to Las Vegas. "Bad decisions," she jokes. She was actually going through a heart-breaking, emotional breakup that ended up in a dramatic reconciliation. One stormy night in Minnesota, she heard a knock at the door and it was her boyfriend (who had moved away to Las Vegas) asking for her back. The rest is history. She’s here now, reunited with her love, and working for herself.
Byington started out in the photography field as a photo assistant for 5.5 years. She never took a photography class and instead acquired all her education on the job. "I got paid to learn" she admits. She immersed herself in the job as much as she could, worked for several photographers and was exposed to various points of views and ways of working. After countless photo shoots setting up equipment for other photographers, she thought, "I could do this! The only thing that separates me from the work they do is the paycheck.” To fuel her passion and get her career going, she began working on a 365 day photo project. She released a photo a day no matter the circumstances or environment she was in, often driving one to two hours to find service so that she could release her photo. She received overwhelmingly positive feedback from her viewers. You can see this work by clicking here
Byington is currently working on a multi-media photo project and collaborating with a creative writer who will write short stories based on her images. “They will have a Renaissance feel to them,” she says. She’s going to paint on top of them. She is currently spending long days and nights editing, sometimes taking breaks to shoot more photos when she’s feeling stir crazy. She does not have a release date for her work yet, and is focusing on marketing and finding representation. When it comes time to showcase the new body of work, she hopes to visually immerse the viewer with at least 40x40 sized prints.
Byington is a curious traveler, constantly inspired by her surroundings. She has a map of the state, has divided it into counties and plans on taking road trips throughout Nevada, and is scouting for projects for next fall. We are very curious to see how Las Vegas and Nevada inspire and influence her upcoming work.
A little more...
For more of her work go to heatherbyington.com