Interview: Photographer Paige Culley
Paige Culley graciously took the time to let us interview her and she came back with an inspiring package of answers. See what she had to share, and don’t forget to visit her page and show her the appreciation she deserves!
Where did your initial interest in photography come from?
When I was younger I was known for taking too many pictures, I always took photography courses in high school, and college while I was there, and it just seemed like second nature, and something that always held an interest for me. I lost it for the last part of high school, and first part of college, but I’m grateful to have found it again.
How would you describe your vision/style?
I have only recently re-picked up a camera from when I set it down early in high school. In May I got my Canon 5D Mark iii. I ordered it knowing nothing about photography, the industry, my camera, or anything… I just knew I needed to create anything, even if I was the only one that cared. My style started by shooting whatever my friends wanted so they could have new Instagram content with my name pinned on it, then I started realizing it’s not just about going to a cool location in a beautiful dress to get an image. As it started becoming more my identity, I knew I needed to find my style, and find myself so people could see me in my work. There needs to be meaning, a message, a purpose. The more you do it, the more you realize what pleases your eye, what gets you excited, and most importantly, what you want to leave behind.
What would you say your trademark is?
My trademark isn’t necessarily the way I shoot, or a certain style I have. I have only been doing this for a few months but have had multiple women come to me wanting to shoot because they have been going through a hard time in their life, and from the photos I put out, they say that I create images that captures confidence really well. Having people say that made me realize that that is my goal as a photographer.
To have other women recognize my unique style, that isn’t really a style, but an experience, and a safe place they can go when life isn’t fair and to just feel confident for a while and from that having physical proof that they can post to remind themselves that they are stunning, and that it’s all going to be okay.
In what way or form does your work stand out?
I stand out in my town from word of mouth. I work with a couple girls I’m really close to and they are nothing but supportive and spread the word about my energy in a shoot, and it creates a demand.
What else does being a photographer really mean to you?
Having a camera in my hand gives me purpose. I dropped out of school as I was going for an elementary education major, and then struggled for months after trying to find my way. I traveled for a long time, and the experience was great, but when I returned I found myself laying in my room for days on end, depressed because I felt like I had failed in my life up to this point, and had no hope for the future because I felt I had no talent, or direction. In January my friend, asked me to take photos of her for her boyfriend, and for the first time in 4 years I was reminded that I actually had a natural interest in something. It has been a few difficult months, and I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I am closer than I used to be. I just have to remember that.
What are you looking forward to with the impending beginning of the new year?
Honestly, I have been in a rut of comparison recently, and it’s lasted longer than I have wanted. You see where other people are, what they offer, and you think, what do I have? How am I unique? Whatever I have, the world has already seen it, and it doesn’t need me. I have to remind myself it’s not for the world, or for other people, it’s for me. I’m looking forward to getting past the insecurity, and trusting God this year to bring me where I am meant to be. “Pray as if it’s up to God, work like it’s up to you.” I’m looking forward to a new mind set that is centered around creating, and not fear.