Interview and photography: Erin McKinney
Every Saturday we’re spotlighting remarkable local females who could change the way we look at the world. This Saturday is Erin McKinney’s turn, an American artist making Trieste her home.
Where are you from?
It’s always complicated to say where I’m from really. I was born in Indiana. We used to take trips down to Mississippi and New Orleans to visit my grandfather who had retired there and when I was 13 my father decided to move us all there. I was distraught at the time. At that age, 13, going into a big High School already seemed hard enough but moving to a whole new place and doing that seemed like the end of my life! I have to say now that I’m so grateful that we made that move and getting to grow up in the South really shaped me and gave me a new perspective on life. I love the south of the US, New Orleans in particular. The people, the food, the music, the nature, just the energy in general, all of it. I lived in Southern California for some years as well which was beautiful but nothing beats the deep South for me! I have brothers in Pensacola Florida so when I go home I spend my time between New Orleans and Florida which ain’t too bad at all!
What brought you to Trieste?
Love and being the right balance between curious and crazy! I was living in The Netherlands where I had moved to study photography and I met this funny, charming Italian musician. After some years we knew we didn’t want to live there much longer and we had to decide where to go. I suggested Italy because he’s from here but hadn’t lived here for many years. I was always fascinated by Italian culture and people so it wasn’t a hard decision for me. He’s from Manzano which is a little village in Friuli famous for chairs. I’m not so into chairs and I knew I needed a bigger city to start working and integrating into Italian life so we chose Trieste. We adopted our amazing little dog Lucy and now the family is complete!
How did you get into photography?
I always liked taking pictures but at a certain point I started getting more interested in what I could say with those photos. I wanted to be a documentary/social photographer so I went to study in Amsterdam but quickly learned I didn’t really like focusing only on the heavier subjects of life. I learned I could document life in a more lighthearted way and still have an impact so that’s kind of what I do. I’ve always been a curious person so photography just works as a language for me. I get to meet so many fascinating people and hear their stories and that’s what really inspires me. I love funny and ironic situations and I love trying to capture that with my camera. I also love travelling so I get to combine my work with that often. I do a lot of concert photography as well and since my husband is a musician, we find ways to travel together combining work and pleasure. We’ve been all over the world together and my camera has captured it all!
What inspires you in Trieste?
I love elderly people and Trieste is full of them! I love chatting with them and taking their photographs and having a glass of wine sometimes at 9 in the morning with them! I also love dogs and Trieste is full of them too. I’ve been performing with the Pupkin Kabarett for the last 6 years which has taught me a lot about the culture through comedy. Trieste is also amazing for the location. I have the sea here and in an hour I can be in the wine hills of Friuli or the mountains. There is still so much for me to explore around here!