What got you into photography?
I started out on my high school yearbook staff and freelancing for my local paper. I didn’t get serious about photography until I was in college though. I went into the intro class thinking I knew a lot about photography, because I had been doing a lot more than other people my age. The class was taught by Clarence Williams, a Pulitzer Prize winner who used to work at the Los Angeles Times. He knocked me down a few pegs and then built me back up. Working under someone who was very passionate about telling people’s stories through photographs— rather than the technical side of photography— was really inspiring to me.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a series called #crescentcitycreatives. My goal with the series is to document the people that drive the creative culture that makes New Orleans what it is. Besides that, I aim to capture the culture in New Orleans generally and focus on freelance event photography.
How do you choose your subjects/models?
I find my subjects in a variety of ways. If I’m out at an event, and I see someone that looks interesting, I usually go up to them and strike up a conversation. For example, one of the models I used on this last photo set for Defend, I actually met at a second line. Sometimes, models contact me and ask me if I want to collaborate. Most of my friends are also aware that if they hang out with me, I could ask them to step in front of the camera at any moment.
Are there any formative experiences that substantially inform your work?
When I was 19, I was riding my Vespa on Veterans and got hit by a truck. I lost a couple of spinal columns, and had to have extensive back surgery. This was a time in my life I was actively doing photography but not pursuing it seriously. I was interning at Nola.com/The Times Picayune, but I wasn’t doing any passion work or pursuing any other gigs. The time I spent bedridden was a big change for me because I had a lot of time to think. I think that’s what really made me realize that if I wanted to pursue photography, I needed to become more serious about it. It lit my fire in a way. I missed being able to do it, and now I don’t take my time for granted.
How does New Orleans play a part in it all?
My mom passed away when I was around 10, and this city holds a lot of memories of my time with her. Even though she hasn’t been in my life for a while, I see her all over the place, so the city is special to me in that way. I also just love this city. It’s home. I haven’t traveled very much, but everywhere I have traveled just feels bland compared to New Orleans.
Can you speak to your purpose as a photographer?
I love taking pictures that tell stories, so as long as I’m doing that, I’m happy with my work. I guess my overall goal is to create work that affects people emotionally.