Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are you passionate about? What do you do?
Originally from Salt Lake City, I currently live in San Francisco; where I am finishing my BFA, with an emphasis in editorial photography, freelancing for local companies, and pouring latte art on the weekends. I am a personable photographer, pretend Italian, coffee shop enthusiast, writer, bleeding heart, high volume music consumer, with constant wanderlust, who lives for good conversations.
How did you get started with Photography? Who were the first photographers you found inspiring?
It was apparent at a young age that a career in the photography industry was in my future. In 4th grade, I took home first place in a state wide art competition for Photoshopping my sister’s face on our pet mastiff. The piece was titled “My Favorite Things.” Originally wanting to be a music photographer, I was drawn to Annie Lebowitz’s raw approach to her subjects. Wanting to sing along instead of shoot the concert, I began to experiment with my style. Instagram greatly influenced this shift – suddenly people were taking beautiful and unique images of everyday life and telling stories through a single square. Photographers such as Chris Connolly, Michael O’Neal, Chris Schoonover, and Ryan Muirhead taught me the value of simplicity and the strength of narrative.
What kinds of subjects do you find yourself drawn to when you shoot? What do you look for? In other words, what fires you up?
Emotion drives my work. In all my photographs, I strive to pull out the feelings of my subject (whether that be a person, an atmosphere, or a item) and thus often exposing my personal reaction to these emotions. To me, photography is the greatest way to tell a story and thus I am constantly searching for a new chapter to capture. There is nothing more powerful than an image that spills a plot without a single word and leaves your emotions breathless.
I hear you have a great success story about a late night photo shoot that resulted in some sales on Snapwire. Can you tell us this story?
I HATE self portraits. There is nothing more awkward than me in front of the camera and it is a side of the lens I wouldn’t mind never seeing. With that said, a few semesters back one of my class assignments was just that – take a self portrait. I stressed about it for days and when the deadline was drawing near, I decided to dedicate an entire evening to capturing this dreaded selfie. I spent hours sitting against the white walls of my apartment, the fog gathering outside as the only witness to my agony. Over a hundred flash-lit poses later, I was still completely unsatisfied. So I did what every artist does when they are depressed and brooding and can’t get over the embarrassing act of self portraits – I poured myself a glass (okay, more like three glasses) of red wine and turned on really bad pop music. Sitting in front of the camera, held by a tripod with the self timer set, I took twenty photos and called it a night.
After such positive reviews in my class critique, I changed my profile picture on Facebook, and noticed there was a Snapwire ‘Hair’ Challenge just added. With a “what the hell” attitude, I uploaded three of the self portraits to the request. All three were nominated, marked as premium, and added to the marketplace. A few weeks later I got three little notifications; a buyer for a hair salon had purchased my images.
What does your photography process look like? From setting up the shot to the final edit, what tools do you use to get the look you desire?
Most of my work is influenced by a concept, driven by emotion, and created with a good soundtrack. I create a playlist that is used through the whole process, this keeping the mood consistent for my subjects and myself. I shoot primarily with prime lenses, because I love the intimacy they present. If you want to get closer to what you are shooting, you have to physically get closer. Most of my editing is done in Lightroom, using Vscocam as a base guide for color processing, followed by fine detailing in Photoshop.
How has the community in San Francisco changed how you shoot?
San Francisco is such a creative city, it is hard not to be inspired, but the natural welcoming nature of the community really helped me grow in photography. After a year in the city, I attended my first “instameet,” which was such a relaxed way to meet other artists, share/learn techniques, and experiment with styles. When I first came here, I photographed for others to notice and what I thought they wanted to see. San Francisco brought out my sensitive side and now I shoot with a more personable approach. This city lets you be yourself and the community helps you build the confidence to expose it.
Do you have any tips or advice for fellow photographers?
Stay curious and always shoot for yourself. You will never know everything about photography, so constantly seek and learn new information. Feed your creativity through outlets other than photos; music, movies, poetry, cafes, paintings, books – anything! Most importantly, always shoot for yourself. The minute you start to photograph for someone else, you will dilute your unique perspective and the lack of heart will become obviously exposed in your work.