Freelance writer and boudoir photographer April Courville talks going full-time as a professional creator.
Q: What’s it like being an artist in Lafayette?
A: Being an artist in Lafayette can be a double-edged sword. On one side, it can be challenging to educate consumers and the community on the value of your work. It’s not a commodity. In a perfect world, people would hire you because they like your work, not because you cost the least amount. But the reality is there will always be someone charging less than you, so we as artists have to educate and show our customers why it’s OK to pay and charge what we are worth.
On the other hand, because Lafayette is such a tight-knit community, it’s incredible the amount of support people give. They may not be able to afford to hire you personally, but they are more than happy to help spread the word, offer encouragement or connect you with other people. That is invaluable. I recently took the leap to go full-time photographer and writer in the fall. So many people congratulated me and had such kind words.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I’ve always had a love for editorial and fashion photography. When I was in photography school, I fell in love with Cindy Sherman and David LaChapelle. The over-the-top props, lighting and glamour really drew me. Today, I try to translate a bit of that fashion and glam into my work. I photograph women, I’m a boudoir photographer, and what woman doesn’t want to feel like a model? Today I follow a ton of boudoir photographers, and I’d say I really like Lilly Anne Photography. She specializes in maternity portraits, and she captures movement really well.
Q: What’s your favorite medium to work with?
A: My Canon! LOL, but otherwise if I am drawing figures, I like to work with charcoal or dry pastels.
Q: What would you like others to know about you and your art?
A: I have specialized in boudoir photography since 2011. I learned to shoot with film and develop negatives and prints in the darkroom. I really miss those days. I’ve worked with women of all ages, shapes and cultural backgrounds over the years. And I’ve learned that as women, we all have similar struggles. Yes, each of my clients has a story of adversity that she has overcome, but the basic insecurities are there for all. My clients just happen to be able to put them aside in order to see and reveal their true beauty.
Q: Is there something you’re currently working on?
Christmas is a very popular time for boudoir photography. Many women want to give an album or wall art to their special someone as a Christmas gift. So I’m working on client orders! Other than that, I am working to incorporate original drawings from each session as part of an option for a client to purchase. If you are going to invest in having well-done portraits taken, why not have an original drawing from it?
In addition, I’ve also been selected as one of the Conversation Starters’ Voices of Race photographers. In the spring, Conversation Starters will host an exhibit at the Acadiana Center for the Arts telling stories through film and photography of local people who have experienced racism. I’m really excited to be able to work on this project. It gives me an opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and also get to know a new group of people.
Q: Where can locals see your work?
A: I keep my Instagram and Facebook up to date. @adannettephoto and @A. Dannette Photography, and www.adannettephotography.com
Q: If you could travel back in time and meet one person, who would it be?
A: What a tough question. After thinking for a while, I’d say Andy Warhol. I know it’s cliché. Aside from the fact that he was the trailblazer for pop art, he seemed to be a really interesting guy. He formed “The Factory” where loads of beatniks and up-and-coming artists and musicians hung out. The entire place was painted silver. I bet he saw A LOT of stuff happen there. I want to ask him about those times, and what he saw and learned from that period.