How did you first get interested in photography and what was the first photograph you took you were proud of?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a photographer until I was already in college. I had been taking pictures since I was a kid, but I always just thought I’d be an artist of some kind; a graphic designer or illustrator. I had a revelation between freshman and sophomore years of college that I wanted to do photography instead. I am not sure what pictures I am most proud of from those early years; I tend to associate them with my memories of the time and they might not be the creates images. But I think a lot of photography is like that. We photographers have a hard time being objective about our work because the thing we saw and shot came in through our eyes and hit our brains and made us grab the camera and click the shutter, and we are the only ones who have a memory of doing that and having thoughts and feelings and experiences related to that moment. The best thing is when other people respond to that picture, but the picture can be really banal but can remind us of where we were the minute we grabbed the camera. I really love a lot of the photos I shot on Ben Kweller’s 2004 summer tour (right after I graduated college). I think that not only do the pictures look good but they remind me of a really great and strange time in my life.
You were selected as one of PDN’s 30 Photographers to watch in 2010. How did this affect your work / commissioned requests etc?
I had wanted to get into the PDN 30 ever since I became aware of it. I had no idea how to go about it. I was nominated twice and finally got it the second time. It was one of the best things that could happen to my career, because I was still trying to get meetings with people and it was a sort of validation; it’s a list that everyone in the industry checks, so if you’re emailing someone and asking to meet with them, you can get your foot in the door a little more easily.
If you could photograph anyone, who would you want to shoot?