Lydia McCarthy is one of the winners of this year’s Conscientious Portfolio Competition. About her work, juror Elisabeth Biondi wrote: “In the course of a week, a month, a year I view many many photographs & much of it good photography. I always keep my eyes peeled for a surprise, either in content or style. Portraiture is an important part of my work, or better the work that I assign. It therefore is important in what visually I pursue. These portraits are different from anything I have seen before. They are impressionistic in a contemporary way. Looking at them puts me in a reflective tender frame of mind. Perhaps this is so because we always are looking for picture that might work for the fiction we publish. We try to pair pictures to words that express a mood rather than edge features into the reader’s mind. We want to let the mind wander. This is why I like these pictures.” In this extended conversation, I talk with Lydia about her work.