Tell us about yourself, both personally and professionally. How long have you been making photos? How did you get started?
I’ve lived in St. Louis for 22 years now, moving here to go to college. With a BFA in design, my truest passion is photography. After hitting rock bottom 7 years ago—jail and rehab—taking photographs became a safe way for me to process my stuff. I’ve found IG to be a safe, supportive place for me to check in with myself and stay connected to others. I think my willingness to be vulnerable and express what’s really going on, without a glossy veneer, gives my followers a kind of permission to say, “Me too! That’s how I feel.” It’s very humbling to get that kind of validation. At the same time, I’m honored to be able to offer them these moments of shared humanness and show them that there's beauty in them.
What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
I feel most people are absolutely regal, regardless of where they are. If you create room for them to reveal themselves, you see it. A really great portrait is candid. Shooting in public spaces forces me to relinquish control. While discretion in itself is important to me, being a fly on the wall also helps to capture the kind of images I want. I’m in their space. When they catch me taking a picture, I stop being a witness. All of a sudden, they are on a stage and that kind of portrait doesn’t have the honesty that I’m drawn to. If you try to manipulate your subject or get someone to strike a pose, you’ll take a picture or a likeness of them, but you won’t capture who they really are.
Your Instagram account shows like a fine art gallery. How do you create consistency in your feed and why do you feel that’s important?
My images are not necessarily about what I’m seeing right then or if ever. When I look back on them, I’m most jazzed to be reminded of how I felt when I took the picture. If you look at my photographs, it’s a feeling that’s being conveyed, a story being told. It’s an honest capture into myself.
The images you’ve shared with us are edited using PicTapGo. Can you walk us through your approach to post-processing on mobile?
First, I’ve been shooting with my iPhone for about 6 years now and have tried so many different apps—truly too many to count. The one issue I've had with all apps I’ve tried is that my photos looked like everyone else’s that were using that same app. We all feel like our photos, our expression is our own, unique, and I wanted my photos to feel and look like that. I wanted my photos to reflect who I was rather than what app I was using. PicTapGo was exactly that. I bring a raw capture image into PTG and use it from start to post. I start with converting my image to a Simple BW and from there adjust contrast or brightness, usually Auto Contrast does the job, 50-75%. I love using the AgPro 200 (20% or so) affect to add a touch of warmth to the image. Lastly, I love being able to create Recipes, truly allowing me to reflect a consistency in my photos.