“Black Patagonia”, photos by Neels Castillon. More below.
My friends at Herschel Supply and I launched an art project last month called “Drawing On The Past”. We want you to draw a person, place, or thing, that’s had a positive impact on your life. It’s open to anyone to join, so do it! As a little extra incentive we’ll be giving away Herschel products to some random lucky people just for submitting to the project! Get the full instructions HERE.
This drawing above is a submission to our project by photographer Laura Austin. Remember, I’m more interested in the story than your drawing abilities.
She wrote: “Travel has helped mold me into who I am today and will continue to shape who I am in the future. From strengthening my father-daughter bond when I was a little girl, to incluencing my career decisions now, and continuing to make me a more open-minded human being… the idea of travel and the experiences I have taken away from those adventures have had a huge impact on my life.”
Interview with Laura Austin
Jeff Hamada: Where was the last place you travelled to, where are you now, and where are you headed next?
Laura Austin: The last place I travelled to by car, Palm Springs for the 4th of July, a typical getaway for us Los Angeles folk. By plane, the little island of Nantucket off the coast of Massachusetts to visit family a few weeks ago. I am currently back at my place in Los Angeles for the moment. Next I will be going on a mini road trip through some California mountains for a photo shoot I am doing. I don’t have any big trips planned at the moment.
JH: Do you find it hard to be home? I feel like you’d be always antsy to leave.
LA: After growing up in small mountain towns my whole life and now currently living in Los Angeles, I do crave for open spaces and outside-city adventure often. I wouldn’t say I’m too antsy to leave because I have crafted my life into having the satisfaction of knowing I can leave when I want. I’m traveling on a pretty regular basis, however I value my time at home to reconnect, re-energize, and reorganize.
JH: What is it about photography that you love so much?
LA: There is so much about photography that I find gratification in. My career background was in graphic design, then journalism, and now photography has become a perfect marriage of my appreciation of aesthetics I took away from design, and the story telling I loved about journalism. But most of all photography has become a vehicle to travel to and really appreciate so many places, as well as meet so many amazing new people.
JH: Describe the best photo you ever took.
LA: I can’t say I have a favorite image yet, and hopefully never will; that way I will always remain hungry.
JH: When was the last time you saw a great photo op but put your camera down and experienced the moment without looking through the viewfinder?
LA: Over time I have learned to do this more often. When I started out I always had a camera glued to my face, which was probably necessary at the time. The last time I avoided going for the camera was cruising around Nantucket in a boat during sunset while everything turned orange and rays of light were bursting through the low-lying clouds. I opted to avoid the camera and just lay back and watch. Some moments are better enjoyed that way.
JH: Who is inspiring you these days?
LA: My parents for creating lives for themselves out of their passions. Amanda Jasnowski for color. Jeremy & Claire Weiss for work ethic and doing it as a married couple. My boyfriend Jared Eberhardt for confidence. All the young, talented, and hungry for lighting a fire under my ass. This list could go on forever.
JH: You’re young and you’ve been able to take things you love to do and turn them into a job; do you feel like you’re already living your dream? What’s missing?
LA: Yes and no. I am living the dream I had for myself years ago, but my aspirations are continuously changing. That’s what keeps me going, the satisfaction of reaching your goals, but always wanting to do more. At the moment I’m working on finding a large space in downtown LA to use as a live/work space which will hopefully inspire more creativity, that’s what’s missing short-term at the moment.
JH: If you had to give up either traveling, snowboarding, or photography which would it be?
LA: My answer to this will probably bum some of my peers out. I’ve had some of the most amazing times of my life snowboarding, but it is the one I would give up since I’ve already dedicated a large chuck of my life to it. I know there is so much more I have to experience through travel and photography and I wouldn’t want to cut myself short there.
JH: What’s the best piece of advice someone else has given you?
LA: Happiness matters most.
JH: I’ve been finishing interviews by asking what’s something you want do by the end of the year, and what’s something you want do by the end of your life?
LA: End of year – create and live in my own creative space. End of life – have no regrets.
If you would like to participate in the “Drawing On The Past” project it’s open to anyone and we’d love to have you. Deadline for submissions is August 4th. Full project instructions HERE.