Stephanie Severance has made a name for herself with stunning photos that celebrate the beauty of the feminine form, that juxtapose elegance and grit, that evoke a dreamy, fantasy world.
And the 26-year-old can trace a fairly straight line from her booming career to her time growing up in the Tri-Cities.
This is where her photography journey began.
“When I was a kid, my parents would give me disposable cameras, and my friends and I would go out into the desert and take pictures,” she said. “We’d create modeling portfolios, which were really just Pee-Chees with the pictures taped in them.”
Severance has a real photography portfolio now — one filled with work that’s gaining fans and acclaim.
Some of that work will be on display in Richland over the next several weeks. Severance’s new exhibition, Fringe Fantasy, runs June 9 through July 6 at the DrewBoy Creative gallery, which is in the Confluent makerspace at 285 Williams Blvd. It’s free.
An artist reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. June 9 at the gallery.
Fringe Fantasy includes about 20 to 30 images from Severance’s recent travels in Europe, with prints available for purchase.
The signature piece is a striking photo of a young women in a tutu and mask.
The setting is spare — the woman is sitting on the floor in front of a plain white wall. She isn’t wearing much beyond shoes and socks, the mask and the tutu, although everything is covered.
She has an elegance about her, a delicate loveliness.
For Severance, the photo was a breakthrough.
“(The woman) is my friend in Berlin. We were in her room, and I saw the tutu and I saw the mask. I said, ‘Will you model for me?’ She was brave enough to let me do my thing,” Severance said.
“Throughout the trip, I kept thinking, what am I going to do? How am I going to advance myself as an artist?” she said. “Getting someone to open up for me is something I think is really beautiful, and I want to share it with everybody.”
Jess Stangeland of DrewBoy Creative, curator of the show, said, “celebrating (Severance’s) journeys, her creative process, her artistic endeavors, and the risks that (she) takes is exactly in line with the vision of DrewBoy gallery.”
Severance “has the most wonderful, creative spirit, and being a witness to her growth as a woman, as an artist, as a professional, as a friend, as a student of the world has been an incredible gift,” Stangeland added.
She called Severance “one of those rare individuals who emanates beauty in everything and can do anything that she puts her mind to.”
Severance is the daughter of Scott and Teresa Severance of West Richland.
She graduated from Richland High School in 2007 and went on to study architecture at Washington State University in Pullman.
After college, she moved back to the Tri-Cities, got a job, settled in. But something wasn’t quite right.
She’d always had an eye for photography, a love for it. She began taking photos for family and friends, booking weddings and the like. She grew busier and busier.
“In 2014, when I decided to move to Seattle and I had enough confidence in myself to make it work and network and start calling myself a photographer” — that’s when it all really clicked, she said.
Severance is poised to take another leap. She and her boyfriend, musician Guy Keltner, plan to move to New York later this year.
They recently returned from two months in Europe, where Severance created the images that appear in Fringe Fantasy.
She’s excited to share her work with her hometown, she said. She hopes they inspire.
She hopes her story does too — her story of taking a chance on her dream.
“If I can do it, you can do it,” she said. “It’s not easy — it’s not like everyone can go quit their job and do what they want to do. But if you plan, if you sacrifice, someday you can get there.”
For more information on Severance, go to www.sevlynn.com.
She’s also on Instagram. Her professional account is @sevlynn and she posts personal artistic work @stephanie_severance.
IF YOU GO
What: Opening reception for the Fringe Fantasy exhibition by photographer Stephanie Severance.
When: 6 to 9 p.m. June 9.
Where: DrewBoy Creative gallery at Confluent Space, 285 Williams Blvd., Richland.