You studied photography formally and learned from some of the most inspiring photographers in the business. What has your creative journey been like so far?
I started shooting in college, at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA, about 10 years ago. After college, I moved to New York for a couple of high profile internships which ultimately helped me decide that I did NOT want to work at a magazine or at a photo studio. Those internships also lead me to a small digital capture and retouching company which trained me up as a digital tech. I worked for years as a freelance digital tech for some amazing clients including Santiago & Mauricio, Emma Summerton, and Billy Kidd (to name a few!) who helped shape my eye as an artist, all the while shooting on location and also in the studio. Presently, I am working as a beauty and fashion photographer, shooting everything from cosmetics to look books to musician portraits.
Your work emanates strength and empowerment in a fantasy realm. What is your creative process and what message do you hope to communicate through your work?
My creative process starts typically with Pinterest! Whatever the initial idea or project is that comes to me, I will begin pulling loads of inspiration until I have drawn out what I feel to be a very clear plan to execute a specific set of images. Sometimes I will go so far as to test theories about lighting or different camera techniques before I do a shoot. The shoot itself is one of my favorite parts because it allows me the opportunity to experiment and play with my light and my subject. After the shoot, I spend quite some time on the post-production. Retouching is a huge part of the process and gives me a chance to re-envision and expand on my original idea. I always hope to communicate a message of strength in female character and fantasy/departure from the norm.
I was fortunate enough to see your immersive gallery experience, ICEBOUND, that you and Mary Lee presented in NYC. How did you and Mary decide to collab on this empowering project. Did you accomplish what you set out to communicate through your powerful photos?
Mary and I have been collaborating on projects for years, and typically shoot one big, high production, shoot every year and half or so in a radically different environment featuring faceless creatures. We ultimately want to show all of the series together, but wound up with so much material after shooting IceBound that we felt compelled to show it on it’s own. I believe we absolutely accomplished everything we were looking to communicate through the images, and more!
I often hear photographers tell me they do not rely heavily on too much gear. Is that true in your case?
Honestly, I am not one of the photographers who cares a lot about gear. I use the equipment I think will best help me execute my vision, which is typically a 35mm Canon or Nikon and a good lens or two. I suppose if I had to say what I cannot live without, it would be my Apple laptop, which is where I capture to and do my retouching on. I also utilize Capture One and Photoshop on a daily basis, both software give me the widest ability to manipulate and output my digital files.
You have learned a lot from renowned photographers like Nick Knight and Billy Kidd. Which photographers have influenced your style the most? How have they influenced your thinking, photography and career path?
I have been very influenced by (in no particular order) Steven Klein, Paolo Roversi, Nick Knight, Albert Watson, and directly by Sebastian Mader and Billy Kidd. Steven Klein, Paolo Roversi, and Albert Watson all influenced how I consider light and mood. Nick Knight has influenced my career path as of recent because I am in the Mastered class he is hosting where he speaks volumes about ways in which we artists can pursue a commercial career and expand our visions. Sebastian Mader is one photographer I have assisted for years who has an incredible eye for light and is a fair and honest critic of work. He has been kind enough to teach me tricks in lighting and has given me invaluable criticism of my work over the years. I have also known and assisted for Billy Kidd for years and have picked up a lot on how to approach my subjects and my clients, as well as learned how to be a better retoucher.
What does your creative future hold? Any upcoming projects you are looking forward to working on?
My immediate creative future holds more beauty work and an expansion of technique. I am working on learning how to do projects in 3-D which will open up loads of new doors. In relationship to my future collaborations with TwistedLamb, Mary and I already have two different series planned that we will begin production on this year. We hope to change the game in fashion by doing series that are more expressive and outside the standard of beauty set by the commercial industry.