Anna Liza Dela Cruz is a Los Angeles based photographer; here is a link to her blog:
Q: What made you interested in photography?
A: I remember a fascination with the lighting in a certain photo. It was a photo of me sitting on the couch in my childhood home, and the morning light was shining through the windows. It somehow illuminated the surroundings in such a way that I never noticed before. I don’t even remember who took the photo nor do I know where that photo is today, but I am thankful that I still have that memory.
After my folks passed away, I earned enough to be able to travel, which was a treat for me because my family was unable to afford any vacations. I pretty much had a sheltered childhood, and so when I finally had the opportunity to travel, I was eager to capture everything that interested me in these new places because life is uncertain and memories fade away.
It is through the aid of the photographic process that I am able to exist and experience this life in a productive and meaningful way.
Q: What kind of educational background do you have?
A: I’ve attended public schools during my childhood, and have taken classes at Cal State Los Angeles and at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division. I initially wanted to major in Biology and minor in Business, but life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans so now I’m trying to nurture my creative side.
Q: What kinds of day jobs have you had and how do they inspire you?
A: I’ve mostly had clerical jobs. To be honest, some days it was hard to find something that inspired me about such work, but then there were moments of little triumphs that made work easier or more meaningful, and that kept me going. Any prior job experience is a part of who you are, and the skills that you learn along the way help you to be a contributing member of society.
Q: What was your most challenging job?
A: The most challenging will always be the next job or project I work on because I never know what surprises may come my way.
Q: What kinds of things do you like to photograph?
A: I like to photograph many different things—from people to everyday objects, trash, and even dog poo—yes, dog poo. Ideas, emotion, timing, serendipity, and other factors play an important part in the type of photos I make, but I do gravitate towards facial expressions, interesting compositions of shapes and lines, a good color palette, flower arrangements, and abstract compositions.
Q: Who are some of your creative influences?
A: Hiroshige, Hokusai, Da Vinci, Monet, Van Gogh, Redon, Kandinsky, Picasso, Gallé, T Enami, Wright, Höch, Matta, Coburn, Duchamp, Nagy, White, Miyatake, Fuss, Nachtwey, and Fontcuberta just to name a few. All in all, those I meet, the things I see, and the moments that I experience, are what influence me. I especially look forward to encountering those who have a passion for their work.
Q: What makes for a good self-portrait?
A: Being able to get an idea or a feeling across to the viewer is the mark of a good photograph whether it is a self-portrait or not.
Q: What do you look for in a subject?
A: It really depends on the circumstances, but generally, I look for elements of design that complement each other.
Q: What is interesting about LA?
A: It’s the merging of different types of people, their cultures, and ideas—that is what gives life and character to any place.
Q: What is your oddest LA story?
A: I suppose the most recent recollection would be the time I went on one of my “photographic eye” walks through Downtown Los Angeles. I was in skid row when I saw this lady in a dress sitting on the curb, and then I realized that she was peeing onto the street. At that moment, I had several emotions and thoughts running through my head—the dominant being that men have it easy because they can pee standing up! The rest mostly brought up more questions than I had answers for. What is this lady’s story? How did it come to this? What can we do? What can I do? Why would this be odd? She seemed so carefree and content in that moment. She didn’t care what other people thought. It was wonderfully human.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)