Hayley Eichenbaum's photography takes full advantage of light; vibrant colors contrast with stark landscapes to make something that appears as if it's a painting. Her background in illustrating and painting has provided her with a peculiar eye for detail and texture, which shows in her photographs. We asked Hayley a few questions about her work and the story that led her to where she is.
So what's your story? Where are you from, where are you at now, when did you get into shooting photos, has it always been photos? Did you start out by painting or working in a different medium?
I am from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but have been living and working in Los Angeles for the past two years. I began my undergraduate career at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2007. I ultimately transferred to the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2010 where I received a BFA in Integrated Studio Arts with a Minor in Illustration.
I focused primarily on drawing and painting up until college. I dabbled in photography, but mostly as a documentary tool for performance-based work. My thesis was a performance-based installation that included some very intricate construction and engineering. It wasn’t until after graduating that I turned to digital photography as a primary medium. I was attracted to its immediacy, and found that my 3D capabilities directly and beneficially informed my photographic process.
The color in your photos is amazing, where do you find these places? What's your process when you go out to find something to shoot?
The majority of the images have been captured in the American Southwest. I have completed Route 66 eight times within the last three years. The care that goes in to preserving its history is endearing. Many businesses rely on bright colors and neon signs in order to attract drivers, especially since the route is no longer the most utilized highway.
I’m constantly hunting for that kitsch. I prefer to take these trips solo, so I can stop anywhere at anytime. There are towns that I may linger in for a week, waiting for the right weather or ideal shooting conditions. It’s important to honor the magnetism of each location – this calls for either quick action or a lot of patience.
Have you had any exhibitions of your work? or has it been mostly on Instagram?
My first solo photography exhibition took place in March at a gallery called Dustmuffin in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. The exhibition, titled The Preservation of Romance, showcased a selection of photographs from The Mother Road Series (many of which can be viewed on Instagram). I have participated in a multitude of group exhibitions in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and New York City. I am currently showing a series of photos at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design’s Alumni Exhibition, which runs through August.
Where are you going from here? Do you have any shows coming up right now?
I recently secured a studio space in Santa Monica that is attached to an artist-run gallery. I look forward to having the space to get messy and return to 3D and performance-based projects. The Mother Road Series feels like it is coming to a natural conclusion. I will probably never stop shooting the open road, but I’m interested in reactivating my interdisciplinary methods.
I have no immediate exhibitions on the horizon. The next few months will be dedicated to creating an entirely new body of work, with an aim to combine 2D and 3D. In addition, an online shop of prints is set to launch by the end of this summer.
See you on the road, Hayley!