Earlier this week Celia and I chatted about life in LA (the east coast misses you but, sigh, I understand), photographing her adopted city, and what inspires her most. When you're done reading what she has to say here, head on over to her website to oggle more inspiring goodness.
Celia Bailey: Hi Arielle!
AG: I'm psyched to be talking about your work today! I do wish we could be in the same city, chatting over coffee, but thank goodness for gchat.
CB: I am so excited as well! I've been looking forward to this!
AG: Same! Obviously. So, let's get started. What first got you into photography?
CB: I first picked up a camera when I was 13 years old at sleepaway camp in the Green Mountains of Vermont. While it was a beautiful place, my experience was a tough one. I felt misunderstood and I didn't really fit in. A counselor saw this struggle in me and led me towards the photography shack. I was able to take all of these emotions and put them into my photography. It was therapy and I LOVED it. I've since learned that I don't have to feel depressed or sad to create, but it was a great jumping off point.
AG: What a great outlet. Especially if you're feeling left out or like you don't fit in, a camera seems like the perfect tool for looking at things in a new way, and embracing those differences.
CB: Exactly. I've since learned to embrace the differences which I believe has taken my photography to a whole new level.
CB: Los Angeles has this electricity to it, unlike any city I have traveled to or lived in before. It's a city where people are self-motivators and promoters, always pushing to be at the top of their game to become noticed, succeed and then stay relevant long enough to survive. This feeling is contagious and always has me wanting to be better, do more and reach further. It makes me want to get out and get the next shot, hopefully more powerful than the last.
AG: That energy definitely comes through in your shots. I never see any major Los Angeles landmarks in them, but there's an unmistakably LA vibe to your work.
CB: Thank you! I do that on purpose, I search for the beauty in LA that I am not sure all people get to see.
AG: Which is maybe one of my favorite things about your photography - the way you manage these unexpected scenes that capture the city without being forced or cliché.
CB: There is so much more to LA than the smoke and mirrors of the entertainment industry, or what is considered to be hot at the moment. So much here is fleeting, I try to take pictures of much of what has lasted.
CB: Get out. Don't wait for the perfect light, perfect weather, or the perfect whatever. Taking photos is not only a great way to discover new things about yourself, but it is a great way to discover parts of any city. Photography can help you become familiar with a new area or help you see parts of your favorite spot that you didn't realize existed before looking through the lens. Its invigorating for sure. My aunt on my husband's side is a beautiful artist, and she gave me some great advice when jumping back into photography recently. It has become my mantra, for sure. She simply told me not to seek out originality, but rather to seek authenticity. Originality will happen all on its own.
AG: Oh, I love that.
CB: It really resonated with me. It also helped free me of so many internal requirements I believe I had stuck on myself.
AG: Well now I want to grab my camera and explore! I know you have to run, so I just want to thank you for chatting! I love what you're doing and I'm so excited to follow along.
CB: Absolutely. Thank YOU for taking the time to chat with me!