Our featured artist for the month of November is the magnificent Erin Hensley Photography. Erin can freelense like no other. She is also known for her gorgeous, rich black and white images. But most of all, Erin is a master of light creating vibrant, lustrous photographs. She captures the everyday with her children in the most extraordinarily beautiful ways. Plus, she is one of the most open and supportive photographers around. We are so honored to have her as our featured artist. Please show her big love!!
Erin Hensley Photography
Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
There are a lot of talented photographers out there. Big names we all know and are inspired by. However, as talented as they are, they aren’t the ones who have directly influenced me. The people who have truly made a difference in my work and in my life are the photographers just like me - those that have grown right along side me in the last few years. I have made some incredible friends and they have all played a huge part in my growth both as a person and as a photographer. I would list all their names, but there are just too many and they all know who they are! <3
How long have you been in business and how did you get your start in photography?
This is always a tough question for me to answer. My “start” in photography was years and years ago. Photography has been a part of my life since I was a child; I’ve always had a love for it. It really took off (particularly in the portrait department) though after having children. It’s been about 3.5 years since I really dove in and committed myself to becoming a better photographer. Before having children, I had no interest in photographing people actually. Instead it was sunrises and sunsets, mountains and lakes. Portraits of Earth, I suppose. :) My love of seeking out beautiful things to photograph has always been there, but since having children, my work has grown by leaps and bounds.
As far as business goes, with all the moving around we have done the last few years, I haven’t really settled into the business aspect and taking on clients on a regular basis, but hope to soon. For now, I am perfectly content documenting my children’s lives and our travels throughout the world.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
It’s not a race. Growth takes time and that is ok. Nobody is an amazing photographer right out the gate. Don’t beat yourself up over it, just keep plugging along. With dedication and true passion, you will get there. Just keep making photographs.
What does photography mean to you?
To me, photography is about documenting the world and the people in it as it is right now. The photograph is an amazing thing - to be able to look back and see how things once were is incredible. Documenting our own families, lives, surroundings and preserving our memories, places we’ve been, things we’ve done, that’s what photography is to me.
What is the best part about being a photographer?
It helps me slow down and really take in the world around me. I’m naturally an observer and being a photographer just amplifies that. Always taking notice of all the little details through life; from the bright new growth on a tree in the spring and the way it contrasts with the old, to the way the morning light gives everything a special glow, unlike any other light.
If you could shoot with any photographer in the world, who would it be and why?
I would go back and time and shoot with Ansel Adams. I have loved his work since I was a kid. I loved reading about his excursions and how he saw the world and of course, the fact that he created amazing b+w photographs. It would be amazing to see him in action, both out on the field and in the darkroom. Every time I’m driving on dirt roads in the mountains, I think of him and how he put a platform on top of his car so that he’d have a better angle to shoot the landscape from. I’ve always felt like I needed to be a little higher - it’s a brilliant idea really!
What is your favorite image you have taken to date?
Oof-da! That’s a tough one. It’s like asking me to choose a favorite between my three children! ;) I do have a few that stick out to me, so I’m just going to pick one. The photo of my daughter dancing in the rain is definitely one of my favorites. It’s one I always come back to and love it just as much as I did when I first took it. The photograph itself defines her, which is what I love most about it. She doesn’t like to do things the way everyone else does, she likes to make her own path - just a like that rule-breaking photograph.
How do you feel about breaking the perceived rules of photography?
I love breaking the rules - it’s so freeing. I think we would all agree that it is important to know and understand the rules first, but I believe that letting loose and shooting against the grain is a great way to grow and further develop your skills as an artist. It’s not easy to break the rules and come away with something beautiful. Taking a technically sound image is great, it is, but when I experiment and get results that aren’t possible by following the rules, that’s when I truly feel alive with my work. Most days, I don’t take a set of photos without freelensing, shooting OOF, or something of the like. I try to take a break from it sometimes, but I just can’t. Breaking the rules has made itself quite comfy in my work. <3