When did you start taking photos? How did it begin?
I’ve had a camera in my hand since middle school, at least. At that point in time I really had no idea about my love for photography, I just wanted to hold on to those memories with my friends. Fast forward to my senior year, I just kind of floated by most of high school and hadn’t really decided what I wanted to do after that. I took a photography class and everything about it just blew me away, I hadn’t found anything that I felt any connection to up until that point.
I continued a course in photography when I went to college and eventually got my first camera. I really only had experience with film at the time so digital was a complete new learning curve for me. There was a very long period where I wasn’t shooting but one day something clicked and I was tired of the daily routine. If I’m being honest, I still feel like I’m at the beginning of my story but every so often I get a compliment that will really make me thankful for how much I’ve grown in such a small amount of time.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
I love music and I love books, both can take me to a completely different place. There’s a quote by Anais Nin that goes: "Had I not created my whole world, I would certainly have died in other people's."
And that’s exactly what I plan to do before my time is up. I’m a very private person and I’m extremely shy. The work I put out are pieces of myself and parts of my world I want to show others. I would like to be able to inspire imagination and really take my viewers somewhere else.
Where do you find your inspiration and how do you keep yourself motivated?
I take inspiration from many things, my eyes are always open to the things around me that I may find visually inspiring. It could be a song, a wall of graffiti when I’m driving down the freeway, the way the light hits a bench at sunset, or simply scrolling down my pinterest feed. I’m also just a lover of art and creation in general so whether it be a photographer, painter, graphic designer, architect, you name it- if I like it, I’ll draw inspiration from it.
I’m very fortunate to have an education with instructors that I have a lot of respect for. Their lessons have taught me an incredible amount of what I know and apply to my work daily. The education I sought to really hone in on my craft, the possibilities of just how far you can take it, and the raw truth of the how hard it is to be an artist is what keeps me motivated.
How would you describe your style and how important is it for you to stick to a specific style?
Most of my subjects are really dark, kind of gritty. I like to think of it as horror with a hint of sweetness. I still feel like I’m developing my style but I’m trying to learn how to shoot and edit with a more cinematic vibe to take my concepts to the next level.
It’s important to have a recognizable signature on the way your photographs are presented. Taking photos for pleasure is one thing, but when it comes to presentation for the public eye and business, your clients want to know who they’re working with.
What are your thoughts on working on single images versus projects?
Many of my single images are more spontaneous, whereas my projects are planned out every step of the way. Projects admittedly are a bit more fulfilling for me but I enjoy both very in their own way.
What’s one of the favorite photos you’ve taken recently? What’s the story?
I took this photo in Waikiki when I was on vacation. This was one of my spontaneous shots on my walk to a park overlook to see the sunset. I loved the blue sky, the clouds, the shapes of the tower, and how it looks like they’re touching the clouds. It almost feels lonely but beautiful at the same time.
What are some tips/advice you would give to yourself if you started photography all over again?
Nothing you love should ever be easy.
Name a few photographers you get inspiration from.
What’s your photography plan for the future?
A little over 6 months ago, I went to an event for a short film debut by Skrillex & Wiwek. The short film is called “Still In The Cage”, directed by Jodeb. They had a Q&A afterwards and hearing the vision for OWSLA, where they began, and where they’re going inspired me to continue pushing my creativity to the next level.
I can’t say I will always JUST be a photographer but I will take this career as far as I can possibly push it. I’m currently exploring some different ways to present my work that can stretch beyond a singular photograph and hope to have some new projects to work on in the near future.