The Essence of Vintage Elgance

When I work on personal projects, I tend to fall into one of two genres, either vintage photography or the world of high fantasy. The love of nature, the desire for simplicity, and an obsession with all things vintage and nostalgic. That is how I would describe the other side of my artistic soul.

If you were to enter my home, the first thing you would notice would be the massive bookcases that have taken over my living room. Secondly, you would see random bits of vintage items and ephemera. To give you a better inclination of my personal style, you could use the trendy phrases on social media such as:  Cottagecore, Dark Academia, and Light Academia.

  • Cottagecore: Is a social media movement that exemplifies the simple rural lifestyle. You will find elements of nature, forests, and English gardens. Along with historical fashion, especially the turn of the 19th century, European influences, colonial, and more.
  • Dark Academia: Is an up-and-coming social media movement that focuses on reading, writing, and learning. Examples in this genre are old libraries, classical literature, coffee, stacks of books, deep neutral tones, and cozy autumn sweaters. One of my favorites that live here is the Romantic era of art.
  • Light Academia: Is the softer side of dark academia. It embodies the love of learning but with an airier feel. The light academia aesthetic crosses with the vintage of cottagecore in some areas. Elements of this movement include the idea of the British moors, chateaus, herbal tea, stationery, fountain pens, music, etc.

Combining these three aesthetics gives you my vision for Vintage Elegance.

Madison Garris-Vintage Photographer Sabrina L Greene

How I Interpret Vintage

My love for vintage items, classic poetry, the Romantic and Impressionist eras of art, literature, and nature heavily influence my work. Often the concepts of my photography are inspired by what I have read and imagined or stunning works of art from bygone eras.

When I feel creative, I will dig through my collection and style beauty in the way that I see it. Some days I might create with a few beautiful books, candles, and a pair of glasses. Other days it might be working with a model with a sundress, picnic basket, and a tea set. But it often revolves around something that brings up happy memories for me.

For example, reading “The Secret Garden” or “Anne of Green Gables.” Many women still connect to these books from their childhood. I still believe I will find a secret key and that “a bit of earth” will be given to me to watch things grow. Who can forget Anne’s wild imagination and not be caught up in her romanticized view of life? Hand me my camera, Anne! We can take off and chat all day while I take photos.

Mix in a bit of haunting Romanticism of “Wuthering Heights,” and I will create all day until I drop from exhaustion. But allow me a moment to digress about the period of literature that influence my vision of vintage photography and, in my opinion, influenced the trending social movements above.

Literary Movements

That Influence My Photography

The American and British literary periods that influence me as a photographer are:

  • Romantic Period (1790-1830): This period in literature is marked by characteristics such as the celebration of nature, idealization of women, melancholia, focus on the individuality and spirituality of a person, and a focus on the imagination and emotions. In art, Romanticism is often depicted as “man against nature.” For example, small people would often be juxtaposed against a massive landscape. My favorite writers from this time are Wordsworth, Emerson, Poe, Keats, Shelley, and more.
  • Victorian Period (1832-1901): This period in literature and history roughly correlates with the reign of Queen Victoria in England. Elements of this time reflect concepts such as nostalgia, the rise of the novel with writers such as the Bronte Sisters and Charles Dickens, an interest in fables and legends, and sentimentality.
  • Realism and Naturalism (1870-1915): You can think of realism as a return to the commonplace in its simplest form. Writers during this time began to write more about what was directly around them and explore the motivations of characters. They brought back the “magic of the every day.” Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” are perfect examples.

Now that you know more about my influences and why I love to photograph vintage concepts, you can look for these characteristics in my work. As well as enjoy snippets and quotes from my favorite books and poetry. 

Lady with books and flowers Haywood County NC