Photography – A.L. Canterbury
Model – Laine Jennings, VISION Los Angeles
Styling – Melanie deJesus
Makeup – Genevieve Nicole
Hair – Gloria Abigail Flores
Photo Assistant – Nathan Leeder
We are incredibly excited to present the next installment of The Handsome Project. Each month weâ€™ll showcase an amazing young photographer who blows our minds, shoots our stuff and is all together fantastic. Read on to see the rest of Amber’s WAH photoshoot and interview!
How did you get to here? (Whatâ€™s your photographer history?)
I discovered photography (as an art form) in 2006, the first semester of my senior year of college in Florida. I was studying business. I spent most of my time in those classes daydreaming (or letâ€™s be honest, sleeping.. donâ€™t judge me!) so it was pretty exciting to finally find something I truly loved that I was actually quite good at. I moved from my small hometown to Los Angeles in 2009 and started building a career from scratch.
Are you a self-taught photographer or did you have a mentor/teacher that showed you the ropes?
Self taught, though I have been (and continue to be) inspired by photographers at all levels.
How did you come up with the concept behind your Handsome Project shoot?
My stylist and I scouted locations the week prior and planned which suits would work best with each location in terms of style and color. We shot guerrilla style throughout Skid Row and parts of the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles. The lack of environmental control added an element of excitement and energy to the shoot.
What keeps you enthused in the photography industry?
The ability to never stop learning and fine tuning my skills as I work towards becoming a master of my craft.
Describe your approach in three words.
Exhibition of mood.
Black & white or colour?
I have a soft spot for black and white film. Otherwise I mostly enjoy working with color.
Do you prefer film or digital? Why?
I love everything about film. I like that it makes you think a bit more before pressing the shutter. I like that it has to be wound up and kept in a place of complete darkness until itâ€™s ready to be developed. I like the entire process, however tedious it may be, of developing film. And probably most of all, I like the surprise. The excitement you feel as the image appears for the first time. In a world of instant gratification, itâ€™s charming. Digital looks like a photograph. Film looks like a memory. With all of that said, my digital to film ratio is probably 10 to 1.
Iâ€™ve had some great times with my grandfatherâ€™s crappy old Canon AE-1. This camera taught me the basics. Nothing fancy but it holds a certain sentiment. Iâ€™ve also recently acquired a beautiful black vintage Polaroid SX-70. Itâ€™s magical.
There are so many photographers that I am inspired by. To name a few: Alex Prager, Yelena Yemchuk, Irving Penn, Paolo Roversi.
What turns you on?
Ryan Gosling (RyGo). Totally kidding.. sort of. Seriously though, well-directed passion and a kind and generous heart. Knowledge. Truth. Love. People that are aware of the bigger picture.
What turns you off?
Apathy, injustice, greed.
How do you decide on locations & subjects for your shoots?
Most of my ideas are mood based. Iâ€™ve never been good at hiding my feelings (hello â€œno filterâ€�) and my photography is no exception. Sometimes ideas randomly pop into my head throughout the day and I jot them down in my fancy notebook. Iâ€™ve even sourced ideas from dreams a few times. Those ideas are usually odd, highly conceptual, and require a lot of production/props so I havenâ€™t brought those to fruition just yet. But they are written in my fancy notebook! Someday…
If you could take your photography in any direction without fear of failure or rejection, where would it lead? What new things would you try?
Iâ€™m not sure how this is going to work, but Iâ€™d like to find a way to incorporate my photography career with giving back in a big way. This will probably involve a lot of travel. I love what I do but a large part of what drives me is the desire to have resources + a platform of influence to help those in need and speak up for those who arenâ€™t heard. I also really like cats.. maybe someday Iâ€™ll produce a 365 daily kitten calendar. /_/
Best advice youâ€™ve ever received.
Shoot. A lot. All of the time. I think the exact words were, â€œYou shoot, and you shoot, and you f****** shoot some moreâ€� by a nice French fellow. Iâ€™m not sure if this counts as advice but I also really like this quote by Helen Keller, â€œLife is either a daring adventure, or nothing.â€�
What is the one quality you think is needed for a photographer to be great?
Vision – and with that comes passion. When you truly have vision it gives you a sense of purpose and the drive to never give up. You have to be good and you have to really want it.
Where to next?
Open eyes, open heart.
We Are Handsome would like to thank the always amazing Amber Canterbury for this funky shoot. Amber was the first photographer to shoot our Vintage Collection for the project and we’re absolutely loving what she’s done with it!