Creative Q+A: Hannah Minkner

Creative Q+A: Hannah Minkner/ lifestyle photographer

Talk about your photography style. My photography style has emerged from working with very little. I would describe it as slow and deliberate. Last year when I began my brand Minkmade, I was shooting with my college photography class camera, a 2007 Nikon D60. I still have it! With this camera and the lenses I owned, my image quality was lacking. I would rent the best quality lenses I could find, and I shot manual focus. This forced me to slow down and make sure I was in focus! Today, I shoot with a new camera and an assortment of vintage and manual focus lenses that again, force me to slow down. I also have begun enjoying film photography, which helps me to embrace imperfection and surprise. My advice to aspiring photographers is to take time to study your gear, to see if any of the problems you have experienced can be solved through careful shooting rather than in purchasing a new camera. Perhaps this year you can travel with that money you have saved, and photograph places, people and events that inspire you.

Hannah Minkner / photographyHannah Minkner / photography

Describe a typical day. One of my current challenges is that I do not have a typical day – I would love to have a typical day! I work from my home office and sketch photoshoot ideas in my sketchbook, keep up with social media, and edit. I enjoy shooting portraits in my own midcenture-modern 1960’s neighborhood, and I also enjoy traveling with my photographer friends to the amazing ghost towns, deserts, and forests that my lovely home state Arizona has to offer. I like to say that we have everything but an ocean.

Two constants:  One – my local coffee shop, Buzzbberry, which has a drive through and is dog friendly. Back in the day I used to rollerblade through the drive through window!! It has an amazing 90’s, anything-goes eclectic charm. I have worked many hours at this place, sitting at the window and watching the sunset as I drink my coffee. Two – My puppy love, Waffles. She is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and my favorite fluff-butt.

Tell us about some of your achievements and challenges as a photographer + creative. It takes a long time to develop a style! It really is about becoming confident in your abilities, and then collaborating with the right people so that you can consistently create compelling content. I think that if you shoot regularly, and that if you are shooting things that inspire you, you are doing ok. I feel that getting to that point is one of my biggest accomplishments. When you are just beginning, people may not trust you because you cannot show them an impressive portfolio. Getting past that point was my biggest challenge.

Other than that, I am very excited to have had an article in Hearth Magazine Volume Three, and to have been able to travel out of state for weddings and editorial shoots. Last year, this was just a dream.

Hannah Minkner / photography

Talk about one of your favorite shoots to date. I loved being able to shoot with Pura Vida, Kore Swim and liveFAST mag this June with model Madeleine Browning and liveFAST writer Gabrielle Nelson. This road trip took us from Phoenix to Los Angeles to Joshua Tree, and we had a blast. Rocking to 90’s jams in our packed car, sitting up to my neck in luggage, we stopped for instagram photos whenever we felt like it. We got our breakfast on LA style with the out-of-this-world locali badass breakfast sandwich, and shopped at vintages stores such as classic, dangerous-for-your-wallet Wasteland. Photography was unplanned and in the moment. Styled by Madeleine and Gabi themselves, we simply traveled and let the photo opportunities reveal themselves. Photos at Santa Monica Pier, The Original Farmers Market, in the car, around the stylish Mojave Sands motel (which we had all to ourselves), and out in the hot, hot desert next to Papi and Harriet’s.

What types of projects do you enjoy the most? I love small collaborative shoots. I enjoy being able to share my creative vision without restriction.

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What are you currently working on? I’ve started a new photo-video series with my models called “Girls in my neighborhood”. It is very personal to me, since I grew up in this area when I was very young, and made the decision to move back here now that I am grown up. I love the quirky nostalgia of these winding old neighborhood streets.

Where do you find your inspiration? I’m inspired by my grandparents treasured possessions from the 1950’s 1960’s 1970’s. I grew up admiring these objects curiously. I love educational shows from that era as well, and field guides. Which of course means that I am obsessed with Wes Anderson. I have always loved looking out the window during road trip and flights, and being inspired by scenery.

Hannah Minkner / photography

When it comes to the creative world, where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? I’m so nervous to say! I tried this five years ago and it came true ;) So much pressure! I’m joking though, I do hope to bring my film making to a higher level over the next few years. Aside from that, I am very open to most creative endeavors. We will see!

Lastly, any life advice? Take care of yourself, and allow yourself to say yes to opportunities that you know you can handle and enjoy. Also allow yourself to say no when you need to sleep, focus on your health, or create your own personal work. Never be afraid to ask for help, and offer help to others whenever you can.

 photography / blog

At Home with Maja Moliere

At Home with Maja Moliere / home tourAt Home with Maja Moliere At Home with Maja MoliereAt Home with Maja Moliere

Talk about your style. I think it would be a bit much to call it style. It’s more like a feeling I’m trying evoke, mainly of warmth and coziness, especially with the long dark winters here in our parts. I love natural things, wood, plants, lots of light neutral colors & fabrics and candles.

Do you have a favorite room in your home + why? The living/dining room and our bedroom. Our bedroom is easy; we have nothing in there except our big bed, nightstand, and some greens & candles on the fireplace. There is almost nothing on the walls. It is my place of sanctuary, quiet and calm, after a day of visual and sensory overload that it almost a given when you work as a designer and/or have an online presence of sorts. The living/dining room is just super cozy with furry rugs, many pillows, and lots and lots of fairy lights and candles.

At Home with Maja MoliereAt Home with Maja MoliereAt Home with Maja Moliere

Where does your inspiration come from? A big inspiration is my mother. She always knows how to get the best out of what you already have, let it shine in new ways or use it for a different purpose. I very much believe in up-cycling and going through your storage first, before going out and buying loads of new stuff, only because you saw it in a magazine. It is such a nice feeling to use “old stuff” you’d totally forgotten about and give it a second life in a new prime spot.

For ideas on “small-item-decorating” (how does everyone’s coffee table look so put together?) Pinterest is queen.

Tell us about some of your biggest achievements and challenges. Turning my boyfriend’s old student pad into a warm, cozy and tidy living space, without him going totally nuts and not breaking the bank, I’d say that was the biggest challenge and achievement in one. It took me a good 3 years in total, but with that last coat of white paint we applied in the entryway, kitchen and living room last week (hence the white walls with no pictures hung yet), I am well on my way.

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Name 3 pieces that define you + your space. I don’t really feel defined by any of my furniture, but I sure do have some favorites: One – my Dad’s photographs. He was a wonderful artist and I love having his work around me to look at everyday. Two – lots of linen pillows, wool blankets and furry carpets, because coziness is key, always. Three – our dining table. It is from my boyfriend’s parents and he grew up having most of his meals at that table. It’s beautiful, full of marks and scratches that tell some of the history of his wonderful family. I absolutely love it, crooked or not.

Biggest splurge and biggest steal: Probably the biggest splurge was the bed, a beautiful custom-made wood piece. Although, it was my boyfriend’s splurge, not mine. Biggest steal: Oh so many, Amsterdam is a dream when it comes to finding furniture on the streets, ha. But if I had to narrow it down, probably our antique world map (Is it antique when it’s from the 1950’s?). I spotted it high on the walls in an old thrift store, although to this day, my boyfriend claims he was the one who spotted it first. There was pretty much only junk there, except for this map and at 40€ it was such a steal. It is a great conversation starter and wanderlust encourager.

At Home with Maja MoliereAt Home with Maja MoliereAt Home with Maja Moliere

What are some of your go-to places when it comes to shopping for your home? Maarktplaats.nl, which is like the Dutch ebay and Hema.nl (another Dutch favorite). The streets of Amsterdam. Thrift stores and flea markets. Ikea for plants and candles. Sometimes the H&M home section.

Do you have any DIY tips to share? I’m only really into the super easy DIYs, honestly. But there is one simple tip: Paint stuff! Walls, chairs, shelves, lamps, frames; you name it, chances are, I spray-painted it :) Seriously though, nothing is more satisfactory than giving something a second life, that otherwise would have landed in the trash. Waste of money and energy averted! Also, old jam jars as candle holders and reupholstering chairs with new fabrics.

At Home with Maja MoliereAt Home with Maja Moliere At Home with Maja Moliere

Any advice? Plants make everything better. In every room. The more the merrier. Candles make everything better, too, at any time of the day. Also, fairy lights! Always and forever. In general though, take your time. I know it can be so tempting to rush out the minute you feel the redecorating itch, only to end up with an exact replica of an IKEA showroom. (I’ve certainly made that mistake too often). Write down your ideas and wish list items, and just give yourself some time to look for and find them and when you finally do, it will be so much nicer, and probably with a fun story to it, than buying everything off the rack.

website / blog

Creative Q+A: Jessie Farris

Creative Q+A: Jessie Farris / graphic designer

Describe your design style. My style is constantly evolving. I recently forced myself to do a little re-branding of my personal site. Although it was a painful process, I did learn more about my personal design style. I strive to straddle the line between simple, bold, and efficient. When it comes to typography and color I am definitely in my element. At my day job I am designing mobile apps but my nights are filled with freelance. I love being able to have the flexibly to work on personal projects along with my day job. I really love being able to balance out my work.

What does your typical day consist of? My typical day of consists of a run followed by black coffee and scrambled eggs. If I can accomplish all of that in the morning then I know I’m going to have a productive day. I then spend the remainder of the day collaborating with the talented designers and developers over at IBM. I work with so many great people. They inspire me daily. I usually end my day at a coffee shop working on freelance or stuffing my face with all the great food that Austin has to offer, namely fish tacos.

Jessie Farris / office spaceJessie Farris / home

What are you currently working on? I’m currently working on several branding projects. One for a construction company, which I’m having a lot of fun with. The other is for an energy consulting company. Both of these brands are pushing me out of my element, which is a welcome change. At work, I am designing an app that helps to bridge the gap between remote collaboration and whiteboard brainstorming. As you can see, I get to work on all sorts of fun projects.

Tell us about some of your achievements and challenges as a creative. This is a tough question. It’s hard to go back in time and decipher your achievements and re-live challenges. I don’t know if this is considered an achievement but one of the things I love about being a creative is all of the cool and interesting people I encounter on a daily basis in real life and on the internet. The creative community is pretty welcoming for the most part. I love stumbling on various blogs and getting to know some great people via twitter and instagram.

As for challenges, I think finding your voice and understanding your own personal style is a challenge. It’s easy to get sucked into design trends. Being able to know who you are and respect your personal style is difficult. I also think finding a balance in life as a creative is challenging. It’s so easy to get sucked into your work 24/7. Too much of one this isn’t good for anyone. I think that’s why I love running so much. It creates such a great outlet when I need a break from work.

Jessie FarrisJessie Farris

Is there a designer/artist/photographer/blogger that you look up to and why? I definitely look up to Bethany Heck. She is an amazing designer and I learn so much from her on a daily basis. Her work is out of this world. Check out her website and see for yourself. It is pure internet candy.

What is one of the most enjoyable projects you have gotten a chance to work on? At my pervious job I was able to work on a really fun infographic for Ironman. As an avid runner, I really felt in my element making that infographic. Also, I recently enjoyed my time collaborating with TMBR on a project for the 2015 Jackson Hole Wine Auction.

As a designer, what inspires you? Living in Austin, TX I feel like there is inspiration on every corner. I have met so many great designers/makers and am able to explore so many cool spots. But honestly, I find a lot of inspiration in running and the outdoors. I’m an avid Pinterest addict so I would be remiss for leaving that out.

Jessie FarrisJessie Farris / quote

Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? Oofta, this is the hardest questions of them all. If someone where to ask me this question 5-10 years ago there would be absolutely no way I would say working for IBM and living in Austin, Texas. So in the next 5-10 years I hope to see myself happy and healthy above all. Otherwise, I hope to be loving a small family of my own or wholeheartedly loving my career.

Lastly, any advice? The biggest piece of advice I can give is to be yourself. You will never regret staying true to who you are. It can be difficult in many circumstances but in the long run I seem to always be happier when I go with my gut. Stay true to yourself.

blog / twitter / instagram / pinterest

Creative Q+A: Mary Claire

Creative Q+A: Mary Claire / photographer

Talk about your photography style. My photography style is romantic, bold and compelling. I am very hands on and work with each of my clients to create a thoughtful, artistic vision that suits their individuality. I believe in natural light and using imagery to tell a story.

Describe a typical day. Usually I wake up around 6 or 7, drink a protein shake & answer emails, workout, and edit.  I love to mix in random lunch dates with friends throughout the week; too much time at the computer can be draining.  I love to cook and make my husband dinner every night and we usually watch Netflix together and talk about our days.

Mary Claire photographyMary Claire photography

Tell us about some of your achievements and challenges as a photographer + creative. I absolutely love being in a creative field. Planning creative shoots is one of my passions and I always try to push myself outside of the realm of the expected. One of the biggest achievements for a photographer is to be published and I’m thrilled to have one of my shoots featured on Green Wedding Shoes and another in the Utterly Engaged print magazine, which comes out in January.  Admittedly creative fields are not without challenges. Every day I find myself questioning my work, sizing myself up against other photographers, and taking each rejection way too personally. When you are so closely tied to your business in a personal way it feels like you are putting a piece of yourself out there and that is the most terrifying and rewarding experience.

Talk about one of your favorite shoots to date. This is so hard. I put so much time and thought into each shoot that I end up feeling a close, personal connection to each one. One of my favorite shoots ever is the first styled bridal shoot I ever did. It was amazing to reach out to other creatives and have such a positive response and to work with talented, dedicated people. We created a classic yet passionate bridal scene and to this day I think it’s one of the shoots that best represent my style and vision. It can be found here.

Mary Claire photography

What types of projects do you enjoy the most? My favorite types of projects are creative projects for clients. As much as I love styled shoots, working with real individuals to create their vision is exhilarating. I love working with people who are passionate and creative and want my help to create imagery that represents their brand and/or love story. This can include other people in the wedding industry (photographers, florists, stylists etc.), musicians, boutique owners, fashion bloggers, and brides.

Where do you find your inspiration? I am inspired by stories. From a young age stories enchanted and engulfed me and I would spend hours upon hours reading books of every genre. I am also inspired by people and their individuality. I studied psychology in college and this further inspired my fascination with people and their psyche. Photography is the perfect outlet for exploring, understanding, and representing humanity.

Mary Claire photographyMary Claire photography

When it comes to the creative world, where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? In the next 5-10 years I hope to still find myself as a photographer, I hope to be continuously inspired and enthralled by my projects. Ultimately my dream is to mainly focus on creative and styled shoots but to work with all different types of people to bring their dreams to reality and create imagery that inspires.

Lastly, any life advice? Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and to personalize your business. People want to know YOU, pretty pictures are great but without an emotional connection it means nothing.

portfolio / blog / instagram / facebook

Kinfolk Tour with Lisa Warninger

Kinfolk Magazine Tour

Ever since I discovered Kinfolk Magazine a few years back it’s been a huge aspiration of mine to visit their home office in Portland, OR. Unfortunately I do not see myself traveling out west anytime soon, so I got in touch with my photographer friend, Lisa (who’s actually done some shooting for Kinfolk in the past!) to take us on a little stroll through their headquarters. It is such a charming + beautiful space with that simple aesthetic that I love so much. It mimics the pages of their magazines so perfectly!

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Where did the idea for Kinfolk come from? We came up with the idea in an everyday conversation with a few friends while we were attending college. We noticed a void in resources and inspiration for our age group that appealed to our interests as we frequented our get-togethers and meet-ups. There seemed to be a growing interest in breaking out of former weekend routines to explore different, more creative ways of spending time with friends (sans the loud club music and bar food). Perhaps what was missing was a reminder that it’s easy and satisfying to invite friends into our homes—a reminder that we don’t need to plan for weeks in advance, send formal invitations and make place cards to enjoy entertaining. We recognized this lack of inspiration, and decided to create the resource ourselves.

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Who are the founders of Kinfolk? The core leadership team behind Kinfolk consists of two couples: Nathan and Katie Williams and their good friends Doug and Paige Bischoff. The Williams and the Bischoffs met while completing their university studies.The lead designer Amanda Jones has been there from the beginning, as well as community director Julie Pointer. Nathan is the editor in chief and creative director. Katie, Doug and Paige are on the business team focusing on operations and finance. Filmmaker and photographer Andrew and Carissa Gallo share a space in the Kinfolk office and create many of our original films.

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What is Kinfolk? Kinfolk is a growing community of artists, writers, designers, photographers, cooks and others who are interested in creating small gatherings and finding new things to cook, make and do. We understand that coming together to share great food and casual conversation can make us feel balanced, grounded and energized.

Kinfolk is a journal where we share ideas about low-key, back-to-basics entertaining. Every element of the magazine—the features, the photography and the general aesthetic—mirrors the way we feel entertaining should be: comfortable, slow, fun and engaging. The magazine brings together our interest in art and design with our love for spending time with our favorite people. The essays and articles in Kinfolk encourage both quiet time spent alone and frequent meals shared with friends.

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The magazine is designed to elicit the same feelings we have when we’re enjoying the traditional, simple, old-fashioned entertaining that we love. We use a lot of white space and clean layouts to encourage relaxed reading. We also want the elements of the design to resemble an old novel, hoping this will encourage the reader to sit down and read it as a book—to review it pensively, thoughtfully—instead of giving it a quick peruse like traditional magazines. We also keep the reader’s experience in mind by carefully selecting images that don’t feel busy, and don’t have background noise or too much action. Most of the images are very simple and straightforward, symmetrical, with a lot of clean space that is easy on the eyes.

The simple intention for our new subtitle (“Discovering new things to cook, make and do”) is to highlight the fact that our pages contain what we consider a blueprint for a balanced, intentional lifestyle spent in the company of others, where we share new things to cook, make and do.

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Where are some of your favorite places to eat in Portland? One of our favorite restaurants is a Scandinavian-inspired place called Broder. We also love Cup and Saucer, Pok Pok and Bollywood Theater. Don’t forget to get some Salt and Straw ice cream from next door after! You can check out our City Guide section on our website for more of our favorites!

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( photographs by lisa warninger )