Interview with Alicia Liebel-Berg from United States

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Alicia Liebel-Berg

Alicia Liebel-Berg is the proud owner of Studio Bismillah that enjoys telling the story of life that one would miss at any given moment!

Interview With The 2023 MUSE Photography Awards Winner – Alicia Liebel-Berg

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?

Hello, I am Alicia, the owner of Studio Bismillah. I'm a mother of two lively children and a wife to a hilarious and very handsome husband. I always enjoyed being the archivist of my large family of five siblings. During graduate school, I was an intern at the North Dakota State Historical Society.

Part of my work was traveling throughout the state documenting the deteriorating remains of the one-room schoolhouses as they stood in woebegone on the open prairie. It was my first time with a SLR, a Nikon. Even though I had to turn it in at the end of the summer, I later purchased my own and I have had a Nikon ever since.

2Where did you study photography?
I didn't study photography, formally. Instead my study has been practice, lots and lots of practice.
3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
The first one I treasured was a photo of my baby brother on a wooden dock at our family lake cabin.
4What equipment do you use?
A Nikon D780. I have multiple lenses but my favorite are my Tampon prime lenses: 90mm for macro, the 35mm for everyday use and the 50mm for portraits.
5What compliment inspired/touched you the most?
The encouragement from others to keep on shooting and keep developing my craft.
6What inspires your unique storytelling?
Telling the story of life at scales that some would miss on any given moment. Zooming in on something small or highlighting the details of an activity. Unscripted, I let my voice display its strength on the initial capture. They are viewpoints that hold focus on unique features, layers, and texture. My artistic touch is subtle in post-production using balanced adjustments to elevate the image.
7What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
  • Color.
  • Scale.
  • Layered.
8Congratulations! As the winner of the MUSE Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
It is always an honor to have your work recognized and appreciated.
9Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

I am an owner's representative for a Development firm in Minneapolis. I spend a lot of time on construction sites and enjoy the many details and material textures that they provide. On this particular day, I asked for permission to climb the 131 feet on the construction crane to see the work going on below. It was the last nice day before winter set in, it was now or never.

There was so much activity going on with the trades as they shaped the rebar tensile grid and ties for the post-tensioned concrete structural pour. The layers of material, the bright colors and the lines that intersect, gave this composition an interest that could hold ones attention and let them see something new each time they saw it.

Leaving the scaffolding for the crane was also intentional as I didn't want the photo to be mistaken as being taken by a drone. I chose to enter this image because of its unique perspective. It isn't often that construction sites are documented or are considered worthy of fine art.

10How has winning an award developed your career?
Winning awards has launched my photography from digital representation and social media to fine art prints and the invitation to present at art galleries.
11Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
  1. Zack Jokela out of Billings Montana.
  2. Sarah Cornish out of Fort Collins Colorado.
  3. Miriam Hancock from New Zealand.
12What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
To photograph, as often as possible. The more you photograph, the more your skills will improve. Practice, practice, practice. Always keep practicing.
13What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?
To avoid comparing yourself to others, view other photographs as inspiration but do not let the comparison keep you from finding your creative spark.
14What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
I keep my creativity active by joining in creative challenges on Instagram. These groups help keep me motivated and their prompts encourage me to take photos of colors, objects and compositions that I wouldn't have considered otherwise. It's good to stretch your comfort zone.
15How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
Without challenges, one cannot learn and grow or continue to develop. Without refinement and evaluation, there cannot be growth.

Winning Entry

A Day on the Dinkytown Job Site | 2023

On the last nice fall day in November of 2021, Alicia Liebel-Berg, the photographic voice of Studio Bismillah...
(Read more at MUSE Photography Awards)

Alicia Liebel-Berg

Alicia Liebel-Berg is the proud owner of Studio Bismillah that enjoys telling the story of life that one would miss at any given moment!

Read more about this interview with Marios Forsos from the United Kingdom, the Category Winner of the 2023 MUSE Photography Awards.