Interview: Photographer Elizabeth Sims
Elizabeth Sims is such an immersive and sincerely attentive photographer we got to indulge in some incredibly intriguing and motivating answers of her inner workings! We asked questions, she gave us inspiration!
What got you to pick up a camera in the first place, and stick with it?
My dad handed me my first camera when I was 11 or 12. We lived in the White Mountains of New Hampshire at that point. I would get up early to catch the sunrise coming through the woods or flowers with the morning dew on them. Eventually I began shooting my older sister, high school seniors, my friends, etc. and found my love for shooting humans. I stuck with it because I honestly couldn’t get away from shooting. I tried to quit a few times throughout high school to focus on other passions. But within a few days I’d pick up my camera and go explore a new location.
How would you describe your vision and style?
A lot of portrait and wedding photographers end up in two categories: light and airy or dark and moody. I love a mixture of both. I love capturing the bright, vivid colors with the ethereal and dark ones as well. My style has changed a lot in the 10 years but as my husband calls it, I always paint each image with light.
Photojournalism and capturing the soul of the person is at the core of how I shoot. So I guess you could say my vision is to see a glimpse of the real you. Our culture is full of selfies and endless scrolling through images of a life we wish we could have. My big picture goal is that each person I work with has one of my images in print and when they look at it — they feel at home somehow and find themselves in it.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
A mixture of two things: self care and inspiration. To stay motivated as an artist, it helps me to stay motivated as a human. Self care is huge for me as a person, I have depression and anxiety. Feeling deeply, having empathy for others, journaling and things like this bring my artistry to a new level daily. Along with yoga and meditation, photography is a way for me to process.
Inspiration is a big one for me as well. Seeing another artist’s personal projects really keeps me motivated to keep creating. My all time favorite photographer, Ryan Muirhead is a person who puts his heart and soul into each image he takes and really inspires me to do the same. I’m part of the most wonderful community of photographers online, LooksLikeFilm. That community among many others keep my social media filled with amazing images.
What was a defining moment for you as a photographer?
When I stopped caring about how the images turn out. I know that sounds contradictory. But once I spent more time looking into the eyes of the person I was photographing my work became so much better. You could see a deeper connection in the image. Yes, photographers should be skilled with their gear and be knowledgeable about framing, posing, etc. But the digital age can bring photographers to look down at their screen more than they connect with the person right in front of them.
Is there anything you’re trying to learn or work on lately?
Oh goodness, yes. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the amount of things I still want to learn. Photography is one of those industries that’s always changing and someone is constantly raising the bar.
A few of my favorite photographers have inspired me to step outside the box. Recently I’ve been working on shooting mid-day and facing the sun — two things most photographers aren’t keen on. Also I’ve been experimenting with shooting at 3.0 aperture and higher. Basically anything you were taught not to do when beginning photography, try it anyway. Experimenting with settings most wouldn’t do forces you to play and really bring your imagination out. So far I’m loving seeing what I can get without “optimal” settings.
How do you get yourself out of creative ruts?
Either put my camera down for a bit or never stop shooting. haha, it all depends on what kind of rut I’m in. If I’m feeling overwhelmed or over worked, I put the camera down for a few days. Usually for me within a week I’m feeling the urge to pick it up again and shoot. If I’m feeling a more ‘running out of ideas’ rut, I keep shooting. I’ll usually try to do a few personal projects or self portraits and it helps bring me back to why I began shooting in the first place.
What is your favourite quote of all time?
“You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop.” — Rumi
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