Samesies! How many times have you said that comparing two things that are the, well, same? I love drawing parallels between Austin and Aspen, so you can imagine how tickled I was to get an email from Courtney SAMES, photographer from Austin, who was headed to Aspen to spend the summer. Samesies!
Turns out, Courtney is not only a fellow A-A member (erm…), but she’s a stellar photographer with an eye for the wiggly, giggly bunch (puppies and babies, natch). Read on for a brief interview with a recent Aspen transplant.
1. So, Austin and Aspen, eh? How’d you come up with that combo?
Portraiture is a big part of my business and it’s difficult to get jobs in the Texas summer heat. Fortunately, I had a family member living in Aspen who encouraged me to stay the summer and try out Aspen. I jumped at the opportunity and have teamed up with Twinkle on Hopkins Avenue, an Aspen children’s store, to display and promote my work. Like Austin – without the heat – Aspen lends itself to beautiful photos. And I have discovered that Aspen has a LOT of Texan visitors, enabling me to make two connections with one click of the lens.
2. How’d you get into photography?
I began shooting photography many moons ago in high school. My high school photography teacher, Ralph Howell, was an incredible resource and instructor. He taught us different photography techniques and the importance of getting involved in the photo community at large. Back then I was shooting film and developing my prints in a darkroom. Nowadays I’m learning all there is to know in the digital photography world.
3. What’s your favorite type of photo to shoot?
I started with photojournalism and went on to portraits (children, engagements and family). I have branched out into commercial work for various print media and musical festivals. I’m really trying to diversify at this point. A lot of photographers avoid “kids and dogs” but I truly love working with children and pets. They are unscripted and I get some of my best images from the spontaneous interactions.
4. So far, is it better to shoot photos in Aspen or Austin?
Honestly both Austin and Aspen are beautiful. The only drawback to Texas is the summer heat. It is difficult to shoot beautiful environmental portraits when the subjects are sweating through their clothing. And being that Aspen is small, there is less competition. But I’m a Texas girl at heart.
5. What’s the coolest picture you’ve ever taken?
One of my most memorable photo series emerged from the International Bridge Ceremony held on the bridge between Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. It’s an historic and symbolic event between two interchangeable communities – two cities, two countries, two cultures—coming together. This rarely happens in today’s world and is in fact being threatened by border issues. You can see the series and more information on the event itself at courtsames.wordpress.com.
6. What’s the craziest photo story you have?
Last week I was hired to shoot a family’s hot air balloon ride in Snowmass, Colorado (outside of Aspen). I thankfully didn’t ride in the balloon (deathly afraid of heights) but rode in the car with the family’s younger children who weren’t old enough to ride the balloon. It was exciting chasing the balloon in the car and shooting pictures of the balloon as it drifted along the valley. When the balloon landed I was able to capture a beautiful family portrait highlighted by a colorful hot air balloon, picturesque mountains and soft morning light.