GT: What does working feel like?
AJ: I feel so lucky, I enjoy it so much. Now there is a business aspect to it, like I have to keep checklists in my mind and there are new responsibilities in taking photos for someone else. There’s a difference between working for myself and my own art and working for work, and finding a balance is essential! But either way, I can’t believe I get to do something I love for work.
GT: What are you interested in investigating in your work?
AJ: Im interested in being able to call myself an artist and not solely a photographer, and what that actually means. I want to push boundaries in ways that surprise me, let my imagination and creativity take me new places.
GT: Describe your relationship with your work.
AJ: My work is so integrated. It’s been a part of my life since I was 13 so it feels very much like an extension of myself. Like a sibling that’s always with you. As I spend more time working as a freelance photographer it’s a constant work in progress to not only do that work but also create time to work on personal projects.
GT: What is your approach to your work?
AJ: My approach has evolved over time. This year I want to be more organized. I like lists, categories. When approaching an image, I like to get a feel of what my goal is. A lot of the times I start writing words to help me describe the place i’m trying to get. I spend a lot of time gathering reference images and generally looking at art on the internet, those are almost like brainstorming sessions.
GT: What differentiates your work from that of other photographers?
AJ: I think the same things that differentiate any human, my characteristics. They translate into my work, the quirks and preferences…If I could use a pair of words to describe the way I feel about my personal work right now, bright tenderness…The brightness in my work is more significant now than ever, introduced to me by falling in love and spending more time in California(Los Angeles)
GT: What started you in photography, and when did you start?
AJ: I started at 13, mostly because I hadn’t found a passion and photography seemed like something simple and fun. As that evolved I began going on shooting expeditions mostly on my own. Midwest summers are hot, but I trekked into the woods with the mosquitos and shot until my legs were covered in bites. I would run back and forth wildly, shooting. I had never had that feeling before – such satisfaction and excitement, like I knew I was doing something right…
GT: At its best, what does an image have the power to do?
AJ: It has the ability to stir something up within someone, really move them whether it’s happy or sad. It has the ability to change the viewers mind and help them see differently. It’s such a rewarding and exciting feeling when someone confesses my work has helped open their eyes, that’s all I want to do.
GT: What advice would you offer to young women ages 13 – 19?
AJ: I’d want to emphasize how rewarding it is to do what you love. Put yourself out there in the world and good things will happen. It’s inspiring to think about that when you do what you love, magic happens. Be proud of your art and eager to learn more. Experiencing the industry for the first time in my life, i’ve learned it’s most important to be yourself. If you’ve already taken the leap of faith to be a freelancer, then you shouldn’t have any fear.