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Insightful book: The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World. Author Peter Wohlleben shows us how trees are more like us than we could possibly fathom, and that we should have more humility in order to recognize the impressive intelligence of species we view too simplistically. He makes powerful analogies to remind us of the intricate web we share and how connected we all are. Just like a forest, we need to take care of one another for all of us to thrive.

Creative visionaries: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s Free Solo. They brought cinema to the documentary world and are pushing the boundaries on so many levels.

Stress relief: Bikram yoga and remembering to breathe. A massage helps too.

Self-motivation: Walk into the world like someone who has just discovered color and that unicorns exist. Take a brave step into your quest for an extraordinary life. The first step is always the hardest, but it’s going to create a chain reaction for every life decision you make going forward. Become your own catalyst and do it now.

Unexpected inspiration: Going to Broadway plays has been inspiring to me as of late. It’s interesting to see how the crew lights the stage, how actors move and how all of these details impact the audience’s experience. Photography is all around us; it’s important how we take it in.

Go-to planning app: I use Evernote to store all of my thoughts, ideas and plans. It’s amazing because it’s on Google Cloud, so I can access it from anywhere, even if I’m not by my phone or laptop.

Increasing diversity: Photography didn’t fall into my lap. I didn’t know it could be a viable career choice until my midtwenties. The journey toward everyone having a voice in photography has challenged me. It’s an ongoing process, but as long as there is more representation behind and in front of the lens, this makes the journey—not just for me, but also for others—easier to digest.

Emerging talents: I love what Donté Maurice and Dawit N.M. are doing.

Reliable lighting: For projects requiring both stills and motion, I’ve been digging the Arri SkyPanel LED lights. I love its portability, its color temperature range and all the accessories. The remote control is also awesome for when you’ve got your lights set up impossibly high or need to move quickly, or if someone’s feeling lazy and doesn’t want to move her or his feet.

Thoughtful leader: Jill Greenberg is challenging the commercial photography industry with her fight against gender inequality. In editorial and commercial photography, male photographers outnumber female photographers, despite most advertising being geared towards a female audience. So, Greenberg launched Alreadymade, an all-female, curated directory of photographers, directors and branded image creators. She’s also started a conversation about the differences between the male and the female gaze, and what different qualities a female photographer can bring to a job.

Fun workout: I wish I could tell you that I do some sort of super hip exercise routine. Instead, I’ll confess that my young kids and I are enrolled in a family kung-fu class together. It’s hilarious, but it’s also one hell of a workout.

Organizational lifesaver: My file naming structure, which has evolved over the years. In terms of applications, I use three for organization: Adobe Bridge, Adobe Lightroom and Photo Mechanic.

Tech resource: CGI. I love it for automotive work, as it’s perfect, but a lot of car shooters don’t seem to be embracing it, which I think is a mistake.

Keys to success: The ins and outs of CGI from step A to Z. And working as a professional automotive retoucher for a couple of years.

Creative fodder: Behance, Pinterest and Google. I also have a few saved mood boards that I usually go to.

Dream collaborator: Photographer and filmmaker Anton Watts. His work has inspired me for years.

End-of-day reward: Sleep.

Enlightening read: I read To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret by Jedidiah Jenkins earlier this year. It’s about how Jenkins cycled all the way from Oregon to Patagonia. It was a pure pleasure to read this book and get insights into both the world around and within him. It was a lovely mixture of a travel documentary and a diary, and it touched on the topics of childhood, dreams, expectations, faith and creativity.  

Mind-blowing work: I recently stumbled across the work of Michael Novotny, a Czech photographer living part-time in Iceland. His series Iceland – home away from home is intimate and raw.

One to watch: I love the work of Reuben Wu. To me, he is a true artist—someone who not only has extremely clear and beautiful taste, but also finds new ways of defining how to “paint with light.” He uses drones with lights to paint landscapes at night.


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