How old is your kid Oscar?
He turned 20 months two days ago. A year-and-eight-months-old.
So how has Oscar positively impacted your creativity?
It's interesting. When I had him I just kind of took a couple of months off. Work was just on the back burner. But what I realised was that I craved it. I needed to work again. I could not just be a stay-at-home mum. I needed to work. I had cabin fever and wanted to start shooting again. Then all of a sudden there was radio silence where I realised that everyone in the industry knew that I had a kid. They were kind of not reaching out. So when he was around four-months-old, I sent a mass email saying "Hey! I just had a kid. Here's some work that just came out for Google. By the way, I'm back. Let's work together on something!" And that's when things started rolling again. Last summer, when he was about seven or eight months old, things started to pick up for me. It took a lot longer than I thought, but I didn't realise the impact it would have as a freelancer, but freelancers don't really have a set maternity leave, so you just disappear off the face of the planet for a little while. I mean, I shot up until I was 37 weeks. I couldn't fit behind the wheel of my car anymore so it just wasn't going to work [laughing].
It's interesting being—not to get too far off topic—a female, having a kid, and being in this industry. I hid my pregnancy for a very long time because I knew people would treat me differently, even though they didn't mean to at all. After I had him [Oscar], I craved the work again. I started to do more personal shoots and savour every minute of free time I had to work. I was enjoying getting to watch him grow up, but at the same time, it was like: Ok, he's in bed, I'm going to redo my website! Every amount of time I had to work was precious so I really felt like I had to manage my time in a really much more regimented way. I wasn't lazily going about my time. It was really good in that not only did I get better at time management but I also realised how much I needed to be working even it was for personal work—I needed to do something creative.
Now, he's going to school soon and also going to daycare. I can do all these long-term computer things I didn't have a chance to do. Like, I'm working on my archive, getting that setup for syndication for some of my celebrity and lifestyle stuff. Once he starts going to school I'll be able to go to New York for a week and do meetings and stuff like that. But it's been great to be able to hang out with him for as much as I have.
Situations like that displace the norm that you're used to. It shows who’s here to stay and who’s just flowing with the tide.
Oh, yeah, I was totally convinced that everyone was going to forget me. Other creatives were reassuring me that people take maternity leave and come back. But yeah, people do it.
You touched on an interesting point about how your situation was treated by others.
Sometimes I don’t mention that I have a kid, because I think people will think that I won't travel or something like that. That's the sort of thing where I'll test the waters and see if it's going to impact me negatively. I once found out that I lost a job because I was pregnant which is super illegal but what can you do about it, you know? You can only be so much of a protesting pioneer and also work. I mean, I try to be outspoken. I'm in a female photography group where we help with each other’s edits and talk to each other about stuff because the industry is so male dominated. It's such a hard, weird thing because there is a stigma against feminists and you don't want to ruffle too many feathers, but at the same time you want to stand up for yourself. Its striking a balance, really.
You're kicking ass, shooting Robin Thicke, and doing the work. It's inspiring!
Do you think people associate your work with something in particular?
Do you associate it with something? I'm always curious about that.
For me, I align your work with a certain mood. In terms of tonality, you work has these natural, complimentary tones, which support the liveliness and intimacy found in your images.
That's pretty much right on. I definitely want my work to be timeless and intimate. The process that I shoot with is so different than what I think a lot of people are used to, especially when shooting a celebrity because I usually don't have an assistant. I'll just have me and them, or me and them with their PR person or something. When I shot Ruby Rose a couple months ago, I met her at Runyon Canyon Park and we just walked around for half an hour. That was it; that's my ideal situation. The colour editing is where I really have the most fun. I think that the colour treatment that you put on images impacts them as much so as the composition and subject. I guess that's what I'm going for [laughing].
And again, I want it to be seamless between my personal and commercial work. I don't want there to be a divide between the types of work I shoot.