Freelance Photographer & Weekend Photo Editor
I work as a Freelance Photographer, as well as Photo Assist. I am still working my way into the industry and know I can still learn a great deal from other photographers while continuing to build my own business, so that’s what I’m currently focused on. I was also just hired as People Magazine’s Weekend Photo Editor, and am excited to get started in this new endeavor!
WHAT SHE DOES FOR LOVE: Photography will always be my first and foremost love, but I’m also extremely passionate about women’s rights activism and actively run a feminist blog that has been steadily building steam: Feminist Like Me. I do my best to make sure it’s as diverse and inclusive as possible, addressing not only women’s issues, but also diversity issues, lgbtqia challenges, ageism, and ableism, because I strongly believe all these marginalized groups will only benefit from working together and acknowledging the prejudices and disadvantages we all face. I especially love working on photo projects that combine with my activist passion, and am currently developing a few concepts that I hope to share soon.
I’m also an avid outdoorswoman. I love to go hiking, kayaking, swimming; anything that gets me outside and back in nature is always a high priority for me. I feel it’s deeply important for people to reconnect with our roots and remember that our planet is something far more valuable than we realize, and in great need of protection.
HER BEAUTY: It sounds silly, but I just love MoroccanOil. I love my hair, but it’s always been a tangly, fly-away-ridden mess that I never felt really lived up to its potential. Finding MoroccanOil changed all that by keeping it healthy and hydrated without weighing it down like other oil-based products. Combined with a solid haircut, now I love my hair instead of feeling like it always let me down, and I don’t think I could ever go back to living without it.
HER 2015 GOAL: A big goal this year is getting work published or recognized in some way. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on my work since I’ve moved to the city, but have fallen short in translating that feedback into exhibitions or publications. I will always consider just creating my work an achievement in and of itself, as so many people never even allow themselves the opportunity to pursue their passions, but I would love to do more with the work I do.
ON HER PASSION PROJECT: I would love to find a way to turn my blog, Feminist Like Me, (run strictly on passion and free time currently) into a profitable side [business]. I will always do my absolute best to continue to run it no matter its financial returns (or lack thereof) and have been doing so for over three years now, but I would love to work with UltraViolet, the Center for Reproductive Rights, or many other women’s rights organizations to help make even more change possible.
ON ADJUSTING TO THE CITY: It sounds strange to say, but just getting to NYC was a struggle. Coming from rural Pennsylvania, adjusting to city life was certainly a challenge, and a big fear to overcome. Despite living relatively close my whole life, we never really ventured into the city, so my first real taste of it was when I moved here two years ago, and it’s been a long adjustment period. Even now, I still sometimes feel out of place or that I don’t have what it takes.
ON PROVING HERSELF: I had a photographer whose work I’d always admired and been inspired tell me I “didn’t have what it takes” to survive the city and that I was “a rabbit who would get eaten by the tigers.” While I can happily say that has yet to be a true assessment of my character and talent, his words came at a difficult time and dealt my artistic confidence quite a blow (it was very much a Rory Gilmore/ Mitchum Huntzberger moment, without the dramatic spiraling out, for my fellow Gilmore Girls fans). While it was a soul crushing experience for a few weeks, after the initial blow, I was determined to prove him wrong, and I like to think I’ve been successfully doing so for the moment.
ON HER WORK: I have two photo projects currently that I think are both poignant and necessary. One, Natura, is about respecting and remembering the invaluable nature of our planet, while the other, Silence, explores the frequently stigmatized nature of living with mental illness, specifically depression. While they are completely different types of projects, I’m very passionate about both, and hope that they can communicate on these issues far better than my ability with words ever could.
LADIES SHE ADMIRES: I seem to surround myself with other smart, talented, beautiful women and have many friends and family members that inspire and motivate me; it seems to be something that just naturally happens. I like to think that we all have different strengths that build each other up, and I know each and every one of them reminds me of what we all should aspire to be, in different ways. From my fellow activists, to my fellow artists, to my family, they all remind me to have passion, as well as compassion, and [of] the value of hard work and determination.
One of my favorite professors from college, Renee Kredell, was a mentor and wonderful person who shaped my life more than she probably will ever realize. She not only encouraged me to follow my own path through the collegiate system, but took such a personal and passionate interest in my work and success at a very crucial time in my education. My father passed away very unexpectedly at the start of my senior year. As a wife and mother who dealt with the same thing not long before my own situation, she was irreplaceable in helping me survive that last semester. She wasn’t just an advisor, but a friend and an inspiration; she helped me see that life doesn’t end when tragic things happen, and that while they will never be the same, they can and will get better.
Another person I really admire is my friend Christina Raia – not only is she a female director (which we are in desperate and great need of) who tells not only women’s stories, but also LGBT women’s stories, for which we currently have a massive lack of representation. She also volunteers her time to I Was There film workshops, which provide filmmaking as a therapeutic way to cope with PTSD. Her work specifically aided three servicewomen that dealt with sexual assault from superior officers, which I commend and respect her greatly for, as that particular kind of PTSD so often gets swept under the rug and forgotten by the rest of the military.
She also has built a huge monthly indie film screening, called IndieWorks, through her production company CongestedCat Productions, which to me is awe-inspiring due to the true sense of community she’s brought to the NYC indie film scene. Not only does it provide an outlet to screen smaller film projects, but it actively promotes supporting and working with fellow filmmakers, and I have made countless friends through attending the event regularly. It has become one of my favorite activities, both as a professional and personal event, and I am already looking forward to next month’s!
ON PLACES TO VISIT IN HER CITY: Front Toward Enemy (Astoria), Beehive Oven (Wiliamsburg) and Burly Coffee Shop (Bed-Stuy), [which is the] place finally made me feel like a real “New Yorker.” There’s just something about finding your coffee spot in The City That Never Sleeps that makes it suddenly feel like home. Not only is their coffee solid, but they’re easily one of the hippest joints in the area and bring more business into the community.
HER WISDOM FOR FELLOW LADY GUNS: Comparing yourself to others serves no use or value; it only opens you up to doubt, criticism, and unfair comparisons. Success comes at different times for different people, and second-guessing your purpose won’t help you achieve it any faster. I often feel I’m lagging behind in the race, and have to remind myself often that there is no race in real life, but only in my mind. So just maintain the endurance to keep running, without looking at the others you’re running beside.