1. Could you please give us a little introduction and tell us about your first experience with photography? Who or what inspired you to begin photography?
It started back when I was a little girl playing with my Dad’s Minolta camera. I would run around the house frantically taking pictures of every object I found interesting, and then he and I would take it to be developed at a local shop in the town I grew up in, Great Barrington, MA. I didn’t have a darkroom to develop the film, but it was fascinating for me to go and pick it up from Tony (the shop owner) several days later. More often than not, the images were terrible; I was still learning, but it brought me a lot of joy and was something fun to do with my Dad. Honestly, I saw my father’s interest, and that interested me. He’s a great landscape photographer, though it’s not his profession.
As an only child, I wasn’t typical; I spent a lot of time drawing, singing, acting, and finding interest in the arts. My parents could almost always time how long it would take me to climb down the stairs during the opening number of the Tony Awards. When it was time for me to decide my career path, I started out in musical theater as an actor/singer, graduating from the Hartt School in 2009. I was always a late bloomer, and by the time I got to NYC and started auditioning, I realized beating the pavement wasn’t for me. There is so much talent out there, and I wanted to find something that was unique and special to me – something that I could give back to the community and to help make people feel good about themselves. I found that in photography; if I could make someone laugh on a stage, then surely I could do the same behind the lens. When working as a photographer, it’s always collaborative and fun! The costumes and makeup remind me of my college years, and having the background of theater and makeup has definitely helped me achieve a lot of different editorial looks, which I’m eternally grateful for.
2. From your point of view, what are the most exciting aspects of professional photography?
I’m a lifelong learner, so I’m always discovering new techniques or editing styles. I’ve been having fun experimenting with studio lighting most recently and am looking forward to releasing those concepts. When an idea that seemed totally abstract finally comes together, that to me is the most exciting. I grew up with film, but the age of DSLRs helps create instantaneously. I think it’s exciting that technology has kept up with the times, and now we have new AI technologies that allow us to expand even more.
3. As the expert you are, what distinguishes your work from other photographers?
I don’t consider myself an expert in the least. I’m always learning, growing, and doing what I can to help foster a sense of community. Whether that’s through working with other photographers, models, designers, or industry professionals – I believe these are our greatest allies. I enjoy drawing inspiration from everyday life, through nature, art, music, and in my case, theater of the absurd. I like tipping the scale of what’s considered beauty, fashion, art, or a statement piece.
4. What are your goals for the next year with your photography business?
I’m in the process of acquiring studio space in Westfield, MA, and working with other colleagues in my area. My goal is to open and run a successful studio space and continue to expand my portfolio by working with other creatives. Potentially, I would like to get into creative directing down the road. I’d also love to get into films one day and learn that process as well. I’ll never stop learning, but for right now, it’s baby steps. I’ll continue to create editorials and work with wedding photography. I thoroughly enjoy meeting and working with couples to create timeless images. To be a part of someone’s wedding day is such a happy experience, and I feel blessed by the couples who choose to work with me. That’s why I tailor a lot of that work to meet the unique needs of my clients, and the editorial work is extremely creative and different. It’s a win-win for all!
5. Are there any other photographers you look up to? Who?
I’m deeply inspired by French photographer George Hoyningen-Huene, especially throughout the Old Hollywood era. I think that style is making a comeback. I follow current icon Lindsay Adler and love her work, which I feel is deeply rooted in that Old Hollywood style. Of course, I love Annie Leibovitz; if I ever had the opportunity to meet her, my dreams would come true. I enjoy the work of the early avant-garde artists, mostly Man Ray. His “Veil” in 1930 is so iconic.
I’m more of a chameleon myself, gravitating towards different genres. I really enjoy taking an idea and flipping it on its head. Recently, I did a glam shoot with model Emily Grondine titled “Queen of Hearts: A Modern Day Lucille Ball.” It was definitely a throwback to the 1950s, and I was channeling some of the photographers of that era. Instead of a traditional hairstyle, I decided to flip her hair around to a large, massive front bun and added heart gemstones to her face and neck. It’s a juxtaposition of beauty, timelessness, and is slightly avant-garde. Just enough to tip the scale between fashion and art. I love that about avant-garde photoshoots; it really allows the theater of the absurd to come through and gives us an opportunity to think more about important social and economic topics.
6. Can you walk us through your planning process for this photoshoot?
I wanted to start working on Spring editorials. This particular set was something my model Amanda brought to me as an idea and its story evolved over a few weeks. I figured out how to make a mushroom hat from cardboard and old newspaper into paper mache. I knew I wanted to create something larger than life about the spring equinox. Think Super Mario Brothers Mushroom meets Greta Garbo with a splash of Elton John sprinkled into those mushroom sunglasses. It’s bright, bold, and whimsical – the makeup tied it all in, and I even painted the ears to match. This was an opportunity for people to stop and question if they were real or not, and I feel that we were able to capture that joy and sense of whimsy in this piece.
7. What are your upcoming projects?
I’m excited to be collaborating with the incredibly talented Italian fashion designer Georgiana De Prisco to photograph her latest exclusive series, “Not of Angels.” We are in the final stages of the planning process and will be premiering this work in the next month or so. It will also feature Italian jewelry designer Katy Giarrusso. I have several other fun topics I want to cover throughout the year, so please stay tuned!