Duration: One-and-a-half years as a freelancer.
Location: Brooklyn, New York.
Education: BFA in advertising photography, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Rochester, New York.
Career path: When I was in high school, I began taking photos with my family’s camera—which then became my camera. In eleventh grade, I attended a photography lecture at the RIT, which solidified me wanting to study there in the future. After that, I never really considered another path. While I was at RIT, my professor asked us to start bringing photo books into class, and this completely changed how I started to make work. Until then, I had been regurgitating work and knew very little about both photographic history and contemporary photography. This practice pulled me out of my narrow bubble of work that I had been looking at and introduced me to artists that influence my current work.
Artistic influences: I look at fashion magazines and photo books often, and I adore looking at fashion ads. I also love art books as precious objects and often look at them for inspiration. Fashion gives you control and an ability to execute an exact vision that I don’t get in my other work, which is what I love most about it. Most of my other work tends to be at the mercy of the elements, others’ interests, whims and cultural rituals.
I’m from Camden, a small town in the woods of upstate New York, and that influences the subjects I like to photograph. When I was younger, I was always out exploring the forest, playing with frogs and swimming in the river. My parents also studied biology and taught me a lot about the Earth, encouraging me to be curious about my surroundings and to learn. I love finding people with strange interests who are really passionate about what they do; they make for fantastic subjects and are always interested in sharing their knowledge. I’m deeply curious about other people and their lives, but I prefer to observe and absorb my surroundings.
Favorite projects: My work The Sound of the Sun, mostly because of the memories it holds and the peculiar timing of it coming together. I shot these images on a road trip with my mom and sister as we traveled from San Diego to Massachusetts. My mom and I have not always had the best relationship, and I had been dreading the two weeks we would spend in a van together. However, the trip was actually very sweet, and I’m grateful that we were able to spend that time together. Shortly after, my mom experienced a relapse in her mental health condition, and it would be a year and a half before we spoke again. When piecing the images together afterwards, I realized that they felt very telling of the days to come.
Work environment: I often work by myself or with very small crews. Most of my portrait work is intimate and on the fly; I feel this process has a way that lets people open up to me. I enjoy capturing people in their own spaces, and I often shoot on location rather than in studio.
Approach: I feel like the warmth and earnestness in my work is appealing, and it speaks to a lot of people’s experiences. I can’t pretend that shooting with film is unique, but I do think that the way it forces me to shoot makes every image precious, assuring that I choose my moments more thoughtfully. I love strange things, but strange things are not far from the truth—and can be rooted in real, banal experiences. Themes of familiar relationships, searching for home and loss are all universal themes that most people are drawn to some extent.
Aspirations: I would love to publish book projects and shoot more fashion work. I have a long list of things I’m interested in shooting for my personal work, and hope to spend as much time as possible shooting those projects!
Philosophy: I want to center the stories of others in my work. It’s also important for me to work with others who are kind and compassionate, and to work with brands that focus on the environment, BIPOC and creatives, and socialist ideas.