Duration: I worked part-time as a photographer for three years during university. Officially, I’ve only been working full-time for six weeks!
Location: Chicago, Illinois.
Education: BS in community health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, and Champaign, Illinois.
Career path: I started practicing photography when I was in high school, but I didn’t start taking it seriously as a career path until my freshman year of college. A month into school, it hit me: once you’re out in the real world, you spend about 75 percent of your life working. I realized that if that is the case, then I should really be pursuing something I actually enjoyed doing. So I started sending out requests to modeling agencies and creatives, and it snowballed from there. I majored in something completely unrelated to photography in college and was a student and a part-time photographer simultaneously.
Favorite projects: Last summer, I shot some portraits of Danish musician MØ for LADYGUNN’s fourteenth issue, which is still one of my favorite projects to date. Not only are musicians my favorite subjects to photograph, but also I genuinely feel that these portraits of MØ are an accurate representation of a collaboration—her personality captured by my eye.
Another project I’m really proud of is a piece I shot for i-D earlier in 2017: a series of eight duos presented in one collection that shows a well-rounded definition of love. I photographed couples, roommates, best friends, siblings and collaborators—it was shot over two weekends full of great vibes, and I feel that it really conveys how love has so many different forms and cannot be limited. As cheesy as it sounds, I’m a complete believer in only surrounding yourself with positivity, so any project I create that can send that message out, I do it.
Work environment: I have a studio in Humboldt Park, Chicago, that I shoot in—it’s a massive, raw space that I adore and share with a few other photographers. Aside from that, I edit and work in my room at my house in the Chicago suburbs, which I’ve decked out with photos, Post-its and stickers placed all over the walls and art books, magazines and vinyls stuffed into the shelves. I have really intense nesting instincts; wherever I go, all my stuff has to come with me.
Culturally, I come from the warm, nurturing environment that is the art community of Chicago. It’s small, but completely supportive, creative and open. Everyone that I’ve met and worked with has enabled me to push my creativity and has encouraged me in every aspect. I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such authenticity and genuineness.
Aspirations: I would love to live in New York City and travel the world as a photographer, shooting for magazines, designers and other creative platforms—both established and up-and-coming. I’m definitely looking to explore documentary photography, but in a style that still stems from my art and portraiture roots. I’m still in the very beginning stages of that, though, so we’ll see where it goes! Really, I just want to keep doing exactly what I’m doing now—just on a larger scale and with more resources, so I can create bigger and better things.
Philosophy: Never limit yourself. As long as you love what you do, you’re on the right path.