You’ve mentioned giraffes a few times. You’ve mentioned staying in your own lane, which I take to mean that people have an expectation of what your style is going to be and you want to match that. Why do you like giraffes and waterfalls so much?
Well, the giraffe specifically, it really didn’t happen for any reason. I was just putting a lot of different animals in a lot of my photos and people started gravitating more towards the giraffes. I think the giraffe also is a really good symmetry to how tall the buildings are in the city and in certain places. I didn’t really realize that until recently when I did another interview and someone’s like, “It kind of fits in there because it’s tall.” And I was like, “Oh, that’s probably why.” I’m accidentally just compositing things without even realizing the real nature.
It did seem like the giraffes and also waterfalls were all vertical images.
Right. Well, I create vertically for Instagram specifically, and so the way that the perspective of water goes or the way that giraffes fit just works. But I don’t think it’s necessarily all the composition. These scenes aren’t meant to be destructive or scary. It really is just this beautiful utopia where, you know, if there’s a waterfall downtown, you just gotta make sure you bring your umbrella for the day.
Now the water’s my thing. Now people have different thoughts about it no matter what I assume it might mean, and the same with the giraffe. You know, people expect the giraffe to be consistent with me. Sometimes I forget, or maybe I just don’t think that I’ve shot anything that works. But people will comment on my photos and be like, “Hey, you haven’t done a giraffe edit in a while. Where’s the giraffe?” It’s like accidental branding. It’s like accidental everything, really.
Do you find that constricting?
No, I love it. I think it’s great. I mean, at the end of the day, I’m just trying to be an artist and I want to live my authentic self. And as much as people ask me about giraffe stuff, I still do it when I want to. It’s not like I have to, you know? I’m still proud of each and every one I’ve done. I have giraffe stuff all over my house now. The giraffe is a part of me. The waterfalls are a part of me. All these things are a part of who I am now.
So what happens if you hit a block creatively?
I don’t feel that.
You never feel a creative block?
No. I mean, I think the hardest parts for me are not creative blocks. It’s just, do I have time to do what I need to do to get what I want? Can I go on a helicopter ride? Can I go out and shoot real quick at 7 p.m. on this day because this is when the light is going to be good? Is the weather going to be on my side? It’s not so much about me not being inspired, it’s just about me being disciplined to go and get something, and there being an opportunity for me to get it. That’s all.
I have a different mindset now than I used to about awareness, mindfulness, acceptance, action, and things like that. I think before, when I wasn’t so sure of myself, there was a feeling of, “Oh, I’m not inspired.” Inspiration is not a catalyst to motivation. Action is a catalyst to motivation, and people don’t really understand that. The more you do something, the more you’re inspired to continue, and if you’re always worried about starting, you’re never going to do anything. Inspiration is not some kind of out-of-thin-air type of thing. You’ve got to grab it, you’ve got to go and do it.
I was going to ask if there was a quote that always fires you up, but it sounds like you just said it.
Yeah. That was it.
Is there a quote from someone else that gets you fired up?
Not so much fired up, just feeling more understood. There’s a quote by Eckhart Tolle. I read a book by his, it’s called The Power of Now – a super, super special book. “Failure lies concealed in every success, and success in every failure.”