Angela was the shining smile that welcomed me to my first wedding industry event as a vendor. As a bundle of nerves and insecurities about what I’m doing with my life as a cake decorator and pastry chef, she brought kindness and calmness to my experience at the event. I got to know her story as a photographer, that she went to Madison and was given a chance to work with a photography ad agency. Doing the model photography thing felt natural to her as she loved interacting with people, thus her fluid transition to owning her own wedding photography business. Her work was displayed around her behind the table and its romantic play with light impressed my socks off. That evening she gave me heartwarming advice and also engaged in chat about our crafts and who we are as humans. Needless to say, I’m thankful to have met her that evening.
That warmth and personal depth is so apparent when looking at Angela’s fine art photography. She shared a collection of her senior thesis work with me, and also the itch she has to continue to create similar work for her wedding clients. These collages of scanned film pictures are her representation of memories. Places and people who mean the most to her are scattered in these scenes that seem more like blinking through time verses a stagnant photograph. As we talked about this collection I found that a lot of these pieces where taken in her grandparents’ home in what she called “the last good years of their lives”. It’s a sad and relatable story about wanting to remember how those places felt in her bones, how they smelled and sounded and changed her as a person. Her grandparents’ home is still something that lives through her in a figurative but also literal way, she told me about when they sold their house how she cut out some of the flowered carpet you see in many of her pieces and has it as a runner in her own home.
That carpet was one of the first things to catch my eye as I looked at her work. Turning photography into a cake design intimidated me at first. Then I broke down Angela’s work into how it made me feel and I tried to channel how it made her feel. These collages of photographs aren’t about a photograph or the direct image of something, they’re about depth. These scenes are something layered in our minds. The moments we experience change with time, we always see them a little different from all the angles we grow into. When I looked at these pieces I could sense the layers of feeling Angela must have been experiencing through making them. Angela also mentioned that she started doing this type of work when her grandparents where diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s, which is another layer to the choppy fragmented moments in time. How hard it has to be to watch a loved one’s constant stream of conscientiousness start to fade to a rough-edged moment, but how lovely that Angela could turn to art to cope.
This cake was something deeper than just taking someone else’s art and translating it into a cake design. It was a step into one of those moments and getting to know someone one layer more. Art influences us and heals us every day, cake serves us and fills our bellies with celebration and joy. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive. Inspiration for art and design is everywhere and there’s a lot to gain when we step into someone else’s world and feel what it’s like through their eyes.
Many thanks to Angela Divine Photography for sharing her work, story, space and for documenting our conversation.