Establishing yourself as a professional in any industry is challenging, but the field of photography is especially tough. Local photographer Angela Lewis decided to distinguish herself from the rest by focusing her lens on inspiring women she admires. Margaret Atwood, Sheila Heti, Martina Sorbara: her portfolio of local heroines is impressive, and growing. We asked the twenty-something Lewis how she’s built her career and why she’s fixed her gaze on women.
SDTC: With fancy camera apps, filters and the general population being able to take pretty great photos, how does one establish themselves as a professional photographer in today’s world?
Angela Lewis: I love using Instagram and shooting with my phone as another instrument for creative release. However, one can tell the difference between who has a good eye, and who uses cheesy filters on their photos to make it look cool.
As for becoming a professional – practice. Make it your day job (which will eventually lead to your night job). Acquire knowledge of light, gain experience within the industry and maintain relationships. Instagram, Tumblr and any other form of social media is key for getting exposure for photographer’s these days. These are all ways to separate the professionals from the rest of the participants.
You take pictures of female artists; who have you shot?
Working with other artists is a collaborative process for me, and makes the entire experience feel more full. Some of the more recent ladies I’ve shot are Megan James of Purity Ring, Margaret Atwood, Julie Byrne (singer/songwriter), Sheila Heti (writer), Margaux Williamson (artist) and Martina Sorbara of Dragonette.
You’ve expressed that you really love shooting other women, why?
Connection and comfort; we understand each other. We grew up feeling the same feelings, we know bras are tight and uncomfortable and we like having the breeze in our hair because it makes us feel a little bit like a movie star. These days with body image and retouching altering our views of what beauty is, I get a lot of satisfaction observing my subjects in natural environments and allowing them to feel comfortable with having their photo taken, and in the end, feeling beautiful with seeing themselves how the world sees them.
Who would be your dream to photograph?
Christina Ricci since I saw her in Now and Then, Lily Cole since she sat across from me on a flight and Chloë Sevigny since I can’t get enough of her mind.
- Keep shooting! Be ambitious by acting on your ideas.
- Meet people by getting to know the community of photographers in your area. Gain experience within the industry by working with other photographers and producers.
- Do your research, gain influences and pay attention to online magazines and art blogs. Avoid following trends and comparing yourself to others by doing what feels right to you. With this, you’ll naturally develop your own consistent style, which is often what art directors/photo editors are looking for.