Where are you from?
I'm originally from Kelowna, BC, Canada.
How did you grow up?
Growing up in Kelowna we got all of the seasons, which now that I don't experience all of them anymore I realize how special it was. Winters were spent tobogganing down hills packed with snow and hot chocolate made by my mom inside. Kelowna gets really hot in the summer, sometimes reaching 40 degrees Celsius for a two week period. Although we weren't rich my parents rented a home that had a large concrete pool. My Grandfather was a US Navy diver and had gifted us his old diving tanks, so my dad would get them filled, attach a regulator and put them at the bottom of our 6' pool. My brother, sister and I would spend our summers at the bottom of that pool, it’s surprising we didn't get the bends. When we would get cold we would lay out like lizards on the concrete until our core was warm enough, then we would dive back down.
What were you like as a kid? Adolescent? Other? Why?
As a kid, I was an introvert. We moved a lot until the age of eleven, so my mom homeschooled me. She's very creative, plays almost every instrument, is an expert with a camera and a paint brush, so Art class was a big deal every day. She made me learn how to write with a calligraphy pen at the age of 9. I think I might even still have my original set in a box of keep sakes. I was terribly bullied until the age of 12 when we moved to a different area and I changed schools. Having a group of friends who accepted me really brought out my extrovert side and now I think I'm a happy medium of the two.
What were you doing before you started creating? and why?
I don't think there was a period in my life where I wasn't creative, although, throughout my teens, it was never a conscious choice. In high school, I was always a part of something to do with music. Choir was an elective, meaning I got credit to graduate, and I was also in an auditioned Vocal Jazz group. The Vocal Jazz group participated in competitions around the province. We won second place one year, we also performed at city festivals and celebrations. I didn't consciously pursue a creative life until my late 20's. After working as a Scuba Diving Instructor traveling the world and then in offices, I felt a real void and lack of creativity in my life. I felt my core being wasn't happy unless I was putting a conscious and genuine effort into it weekly. Since then I apply this every day and my life has felt a lot more fulfilling.
How did you get started? and why?
When I was about six my mom gifted me with her film camera. Big mistake, because we never spent enough time on instruction and I ended up burning through about 20 flash canisters for fun. I loved the bright light... What a nightmare, believe me, she was not happy. Then in my late teens, I bought a digital camera, a Nikon D300. I spent every free day playing with it. I remember my aunt who had worked as a photographer said that she loved the composition in a photo I had taken. I didn't have a clue what that was at the time, so I went out and bought a book on photography by Tom Ang. It was beautifully organized and broke down all the key elements of compiling a great photo, so sleepless nights were spent filling the darkness with a flash. Until I was creating images similar to the examples on the pages.
What are your creative goals? and why?
Currently, I am really in love with underwater photography, I'd like to start shooting sharks in hopes that it brings more awareness to how gentle, harmless, and beautiful they are.
What are your dreams?
I'd like to spend some time learning how to properly free dive and photograph it and those around me in the process. The big dream would be to live somewhere warm that would allow for this life style. I lived in the Cayman Islands for a year in 2008, while working as a diving instructor, but never had the time to pursue free diving while there. The Cayman's are ideal for this sport, as the island dramatically drops 5000+ feet into the blue when you swim about 300 yards out.
What inspires you to create? and why?
Honestly, this is a funny answer, but the color blue does. A blue ocean, a blue sky, or anything that is the color blue. I think it is such a beautiful color.
In 10 years what will you be doing? and why?
In ten years I will be living somewhere warm, with a camera in one hand and a drink in the other. Documenting the oceans and the people that live off of them.
What do you want to be remembered for? and why?
I'd like to be remembered for bringing more awareness to our oceans. They make up 70% of the Earth, and we have only explored 5%. I lived in Palau, Micronesia in 2013 working as a Scuba Diving instructor. It felt so untouched and magical, but while there I met a lot of people who had been there 10+ years before and were shocked at how few sharks we were seeing and how much the reefs had changed for the worse. I'd like to show people how incredible our oceans are underwater, in hopes that they too fall in love and we preserve them for the next generation.
What is your creative process? Workflow? and why?
My creative process involves a lot of research. When I get a vision of something I'd like to create I like to get inspiration from other people. See how they framed something, what colors they used that worked, blue, black or white. If it's a photo being taken under water I'll go for a swim and end up seeing a frame I'd like to shoot while swimming. This isn't always successful due to light, but I can always take that image back to my computer and work to improve it there. I want someone to get the feeling I felt while I was in that moment. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, which is more of a curse than a blessing. I'll take an image and sit on it for days, edit it this way or that way and end up never sharing it because it didn't meet my expectations for the final product. I like to work slow and be sure I am happy with what I share in the end. Quality over quantity.
What are your favourite tools? Where do you get your best work done? and why?
My favorite tools are firstly my Panasonic GH4, GoPro, Lightroom and Premier Pro by Adobe. Also light, a photo can be really good or really bad with the right light. I get my best work done in coffee shops. Currently, I am based in Vancouver, BC and it is riddled with incredibly beautiful coffee shops. Extremely creative and driven spaces. With the cost of housing being so high in Vancouver, a lot of people have a roommate, so coffee shops are a great place to get away with your laptop in hand. I'm sitting in one right now actually!
What are some of your favourite things? and why?
I love being underwater and anything that allows me to do that.. my fins, mask and any other dive gear. My best friend Celeste is a professional climber in bouldering and so lately I've been wanting to get more involved with the climbing community. I also love hiking, though I have to say I am a bit of a fair weather hiker, snow I don't mind, but hiking in the rain is a real drag. I love working on my laptop, the tech industry has always been super fascinating. I could spend a whole afternoon learning new programs. About a year ago I thought I would take some classes in Interior Design, I loved it, but decided that the water was where I was most happy, but that being said I still really enjoy reading about that industry and applying it in my own spaces.
What are some of your favourite places in the world? and why?
I love Thailand! I love the food, the culture, the people are so outgoing and generous. I've been three times now and would love to go back again. The first place I ever visited outside of Canada was Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Mexico will always have a special place in my heart for that reason. My high school offered a one-month exchange program, meaning we spent the six months up to the trip learning Spanish, I was close to being fluent in 2006, but having since not used it daily, my poor memory has lost the words. A week of that trip we lived with a Mexican family in Oaxaca City. It was a really magical experience, very foreign at 17, but very special. As getting to Puerto Escondido wasn't easy for a number of years, to quench my thirst for Mexico I started going down to Sayulita. I do most of my traveling solo and Sayulita is the perfect spot for it. It is a small bohemian surf town located on the Pacific Ocean and only a 5-hour flight from Vancouver. After going four times I noticed the locals were starting to remembering me and thought I should probably explore some new spots, so I took a trip to Indonesia in 2014. I brought my backpack, tent, mask and fins with the hope of flying into Bali then trekking across Java, Sumatra and finally stopping on the island of Pulau We for some diving, but I fell so in love with Bali that I didn't leave for a month and ended up running low on funds for the trekking portion. Bali is pretty incredible and although it has changed so much in the last 10 years I still love it!
If you were currently in high school you would be "Most Likely To.."?
Honestly, I had a lot of teachers tell me I would never be successful. High school was not my strong point, I would argue with teachers, wear skirts too short and be asked to put on the school's dirty gym outfit instead. My parents went through a horrible divorce when I was twelve and my grades and lack of interest in my work was a direct result. I think my yearbook would have said "Most Likely To".. fail at anything she tries at. I had no direction and no drive to go to college when I graduated. I ended up enrolling in a zero to hero Scuba Diving Instructor Program. It was six months long, with a month spent in the Cayman Islands. I met a really incredible man there and moved back shortly after to work for a dedicated diving liveaboard. My relationship did not work out, but it started my love for the water and traveling. I've since worked in 7 countries as a Scuba Diving Instructor (the Cayman Islands, Greece, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Palau, Macau and Canada) and would not have my life any other way. I hope now that I am most likely to inspire you to pursue what makes you the happiest in life and to travel as much as possible