Debe Arlook (debearlookphotography.com) is an American artist working in photography. Through color and diverse photographic processes, Arlook’s conceptual work is a response to her surroundings and the larger environment, as she seeks to understand the inner and outer worlds of human relationships. Studies in filmmaking and psychology inform these views. Arlook’s awards include 2022 CENTER Social Award, Honorable Mention; 2021, 2020 Critical Mass Finalist; 2021 16th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, 2nd Place and Honorable Mention; and 2020 Photo LA Top 20 Finalist. She exhibits nationally and internationally including at the Lishui Art Museum and Lishui Photography Museum (China), Fotonostrum (Barcelona), Griffin Museum of Photography (Massachusettes), Lancaster Museum of Art & History (California), Foley Gallery, and Rick Wester Fine Art, (New York City), Center for Photographic Art and California State University (California), Center for Fine Art Photography and Colorado Photographic Arts Center (Colorado), A.Smith Gallery (Texas), San Diego Art Institute, and Los Angeles Center for Photography (California). Arlook’s work is featured in Lenscratch, Frame Magazine, Strange Fire Collection, Fraction Magazine, L’Oeil de la Photographie, Rangefinder, Shots Magazine, What Will You Remember, and One Twelve Publishing amongst others. Books include California Love, Perceive Me, and Emptiness Defined. In addition to her studio practice, Arlook is a photography instructor; mentor; advisor with Pasadena Photography Arts curating for FORUM and Open Show Pasadena/East Los Angeles, and; contributing editor for PhotoBook Journal. In a transition from the darkroom to inkjet printing, she founded Arlook Printing Services, working with fine art photographers providing project consultation and archival printing. She is based in Los Angeles, California.
LACP Interviews Debe Arlook
LACP asks Debe Arlook ten questions about their background, career in and beliefs about photography.
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
Debe Arlook: I am a fine art photographer who uses multiple styles to communicate reoccurring themes about relationships with others, the world, and ourselves. My practice includes photo-based work, conceptual, abstract, text, collage, and documentary.
LACP: How long have you been photographing?
DA: Does getting my first camera at 6 count?
LACP: Where did you get your training?
DA: It began while I was studying filmmaking with studies and resumed many years later at Julia Dean Photo Workshops, as it was called then. I’ve seen taken workshops with talented artists from around the world.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
DA: Around 2012 when I was a life coach. I realized the work prevented me from the full attention my projects needed.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
DA: Financial stability is a concern for most fine art photographers.
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
DA: A strong community of kind, smart and talented friends and colleagues from around the world. Waking up and looking forward to the day ahead. The gift of introspection and pause. The camera is an invitation to see deeper into oneself, others and our surroundings.
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
DA: The Art of Photographic Capture for Teens
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
DA: Seeing the spark of excitement.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
DA: I can only comment about a career in fine art photography. To be an artist, you must love what you do, consume yourself in your art, and know that talent alone isn’t enough. Most of the time is spent on the business side of photography, not the art-making. It takes time, full commitment, and unending passion to succeed. Equally important is to nurture relationships with colleagues and give back to the photo community.