Thursday, December 9, 2010

Interview with a Photographer: Vanessa Castoe

I feel like this post needs to come with a warning. You are going to go crazy about Vanessa. Truly. She is one of those girls that is so cool it just oozes out of her. Just be forewarned that you are going to love her. nessa 3She is not your typical chippy Mother that has glowy posts about vistas and verandas.   vaness 2 

She is real. Real and maybe different than what you are used to, but definitely someone you will come to admire and love. I know I do. Come learn with me. vanessa    

When did you first pick up a camera and just know this was something you had to do every.single.day?vanessa 2

I've always loved photography and used to dabble with my kodak easy share years ago. I would take pictures of every single thing that I found remotely interesting. But the bug really hit me when I got my first DSLR, the canon rebel xt. I loved that camera and shot with it every day and fell in love.vaness 1

Have you ever thought about quitting your real job and just starting a business vanessa 4

Oh yes. I do this whole photography thing just on the weekends right now, but taking the plunge into doing it full time is always on my mind. I believe strongly though that if you make ANY amount of money doing something that you love, then you're a success. And for right now, I'm happy with where I am. (For the most part.)

What is your favorite thing to shoot? If you could just pick one thing to shoot every day for a week, what would it be?vanessa 1

       It's a toss up between people and food. Capturing people as they really are is one of the best things about photography. I'm all about freezing that moment in time so I can remember it forever, especially when it comes to my own kiddos. And photographing food.. well I love doing it for one big reason. Usually when I do commercial work, I barter for product. Which means free food for me. And I love to eat.vaness

Do you dream in color or in black and white?vaness 3

       Very very vivid color. And I have re-curring dreams more often than not. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I married a man who likes the TV on while we sleep, and nine times out of ten I will fall asleep and dream about what was on TV. Which tends to be rather enjoyable since we usually leave it on TV Land or the Food Network.vaness 11

Have you read any books that really helped you with photography? Share? or any other books you just want us to know about in general? vaness 4     

       I'm awful. I don't usually read unless it's total fluff. This is probably why I'm a college drop out. I just can't focus on a book long enough unless it catches my attention immediately.(i.e. broody vampires with feelings) So chances are you don't want my book recommendations.vaness 5

What about inspiration? Where do you find it most often?vaness 7

       I almost always find my inspiration in color and light. Just yesterday I noticed out my window that the light after the rain made all the fall leaves on our trees seem especially vivid and orange so I snapped on my telephoto lens, leaned out the door, and took a shot. (I wasn't about to drag myself out in the rain. I'm only partially dedicated apparently. And didn't want to get my precious camera wet.)vaness 9

If you get stuck at work and then get home when it is dark and you can't shoot anything do you go a little crazy?

       Oh yes! Especially now that the time change has happened. It gets dark at 5:30 here these days and I don't get off work until 8. It's really cutting into my me time.

Do you have a favorite quote?vaness 8

       It's not related at all to photography, but "We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong." -Laura Stavoe Harm. To me this doesn't just relate to birth, but every aspect in life. As women we're usually viewed as the weaker sex, but in fact I think it's just the opposite. It's just one of the many reasons why I'm trying to raise my daughter to believe that she really can do anything she wants. vaness 6

       And yes, I do realize how horribly ironic it is that you read about me reading Twilight just mere seconds ago and now I've proclaimed myself a feminist. People are allowed to have layers. vaness 15   

Tell me about little things and houses? How did you get into that? What do you love about that?vaness 13

       Oh I love doll houses so much. And not just doll houses, but miniature things. I used to collect miniature food from MegaHouse. That is, until my children discovered it and it all disappeared. I'm not really sure how I got into it. I think it's probably for the same reason that I love babies. I just like cute things that are teeny. vaness 14

If you someone gave you a $100,000 today and told you to do whatever you wanted with it, what would you do?

Oh that's an easy one. I would build a pole barn house. Right now my family and I live in a modest little trailer on 5 acres. It's a beautiful life really, because we have no mortgage of rent to pay, but I would love oh so much to have a big beautiful pole barn house with a wrap around porch and fireplace. vaness 12

Do you have a photographer you love and admire and want to share with all of us?vaness 20    

Oh I have so many. I adore Katie Sokoler with all my heart. Her paper projects and the vivid color in her images are things that I only dream of.   vaness 19

       There's also a local photographer here, Samantha Lamb,  who I adore. Not only is she a beautiful loving person but all her projects are so full of light and love.vaness 18

       And of course all of my fellow Shutter Sisters, like Keli and Kristin.

       And ALL of my flickr friends. I've met so many wonderful women through flickr who are all so caring and supportive, as evidenced by when our beloved Joelynne lost her mother. It's a community unlike any other I've experienced online, and I'm so grateful for every single one of them.vaness 16

Where do you see yourself in 10 years with photography? With life in general?

In 10 years I would love to have my own little studio in this adorable little town just north of us. I don't need anything fancy..just a spot where I can photograph newborns comfortably and have a space all my own.

As far as life in general? Oh gosh. My daughter will be 16 (eek!) so my main goal in life will probably be centered around not panicking every time she goes out without me.

How do your friends and family support your photography dreams?vaness 17

       My husband has always been my biggest supporter. He watches my kids nearly every weekend so I can go out and shoot. And while I can say that it's because I'm trying to build a business, we both know that it's mostly because I really love doing it.

       My parents have been supportive as well, as evidenced by a massive loan for new equipment recently. (whoo hoo!)

       And of course I have so many friends who support me every day, including my beautiful sister.

       I feel like I've won an oscar here and need to include everyone.

Any advice or words you want to share?nessa 4

      Oh gosh. How long can this interview be, Becky?!nessa 5

      Whenever people ask me for advice, the three main things are this:nessa

      1. Quit shooting on auto!!!!! (insert 50 more exclamation points). For the first year I had my rebel XT I shot in auto. When I quit and learned how to use the camera as it was intended to be used, it opened up a whole new world for me. Even if you have a point and shoot, read your manual. No matter what the camera is, there are always ways to get the most out of it. Granted that I do shoot in apeture priority a lot now, but when the light

calls for it I know how to shoot manually, and it makes a world of difference.vanessa 3

       2. Shoot every single day. Even if you don't think you have anything to take pictures of, find something..anything...to capture. Even if it's your grilled cheese sandwich you're having for lunch. nessa 1

       3. Challenge yourself! I've heard so many photographers say they don't shoot weddings because it's "too much pressure". My philosophy is that you should try everything once. Who knows.. you may end up loving it! For me, my biggest challenge is self portraits. I hate pictures of myself. nessa 7

       So my big challenge this year? One self portrait a week. And you know what? I've actually come into a new found love for myself since doing it. nessa 9

     Go visit. You are going to love her.

{love. love. LOVE!}

      nessa 10 Her fabulous, fabulous blog

nessa 6

Her photography blog

Her flickr

      Don’t hate me because you love her so much and want to spend the day pouring over her sites. I feel your pain! Thank you for sharing Vanessa.nessa 8   

58 comments:

Vanessa said...

I adore you, Becky!
Thanks for sharing the love.

theTsaritsa said...

I should read my camera manual, that's definitely a good idea. Great photos! I love the notion of bartering photos for food :)

Brian Miller said...

ha these pics are so fun...love the dog too...i want one...and the hula hoop top of the car pic...that rocks...

Farmgirl Paints said...

She's awesome Becky. It such an amazing gift to get people in their element without a pose on. Those are my favorite photographs. She sounds like a sweetheart too. Running over there right now:)

Formerly known as Frau said...

Great interview....love love love her pictures! My new year goal is to not shoot on Auto...great advice!

Farmgirl Paints said...

none of the links worked for some reason...may have been me.

Buckeroomama said...

"People are allowed to have layers." I think I fell in love with her right about there... if not before! =)

AND I love that she barters for food... that would be something I'd totally do!

Super wonderful photos!!

Foursons said...

I now have my new goal for my blog for 2011. A picture a week of me. That's not to hard, right? Right?! Oh I know how critical I will be of myself, but this will be good. So good.

And maybe I'll start venturing out of that auto mode more. I'm just so afraid of missing the moment because I'm to busy trying to find the right setting on my camera! And you know how quick those moments are. *sigh*

ourlifeinaclick.blogspot.com said...

Fantabulous interview! Love her photos and attitude. I will be going over to her blog. The advice was good, I'm finally using manual on my XT too, helps a lot.
I think self portraits would the hardest thing for me too!!! Thanks for sharing!

SarahinSC said...

I love reading your interviews Becky! Going to check out her blog/flickr right now!

Mighty M said...

Great job Becky - your interviews are awesome!! This is one talented photographer. Love the self portrait idea!! :)

Anita Johnson said...

I love the diversity of subjects, lighting and atmosphere in her work...she doesn't have just one look, I guess there are layers of style, just like she has herself. It's obvious she shoots every day and she captures those moments others would miss. Nice interview!
Check the blog link you included, it doesn't seem to be working (-:

the Lola Letters said...

I'm with B*mama - "People are allowed to have layers." got me too!

P.s. the link to her blog didn't work for me, and I m dying to see it, will you please tell me what it is?

Great interview - as always!

Amazing images...

April said...

These interviews are always a big favorite of mine! That Bassett hound takes the cake! :)

Brooke said...

she and i have the dream thing in common - only mine listens to conspiracy talk radio at night and i dream about the end of the world or aliens :P

Norah said...

Love her !

Just Bits and Pieces said...

AWESOME! I love the truth that she writes in her blog! And her images are amazing too! Thank you for sharing (insert a bit of sarcasm.....'cause I don't have time to stalk anymore blogs!!!) ;o)

Skeller said...

stunning, quirky, in-your-face, vivid images!! I love Vanessa's style! Thanks so much for introducing me to yet another wonderful, inspirational photographer.

Life with Kaishon said...

Hello Beautiful girls! I am SO sorry that I had bad links : ( I tried to throw this post up quickly before we left for Kaishon's Christmas concert. I corrected her blog link and flickr link now and I will fix any other links tomorrow.

Isn't she fabaroni? : )

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

Food or people... I share the dilemma! Never thought of doing product pics for trade. I wonder if Coldstone needs a picture of every single flavor they make?

You are right, Becky, it is a real pleasure to be introduced to Vanessa!

Ocean Girl said...

Hello Kaishon's Mom, I enjoyed the interview and the photos. A great photographer is one that attracts people and animals, flowers and leaves, sun and breeze.

Thank you for a wonderful post.

Andrea said...

I really enjoyed reading this interview. Thanks for introducing me to yet another wonderful photographer, Becky! I loved hearing her story and how down to earth she is.

Judy Schwartz Haley | CoffeeJitters.Net said...

Oh I just love these photos. brought a smile to my day

Cecily R said...

I love what she says about freezing time. And everything else she said.

Oh, and that shot of the bride and groom bathed in sun? Delicious.

Honey Mommy said...

What lovely pictures! I am just now getting to the point where I have my camera in modes other than auto. I am still learning, but I love it!

Anita Ann said...

This was awesome. Vanessa is one of two of my favorite photographers. I dream one day I can meet her and have her take my photo.

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Colleen said...

Becky, she IS unique, you're right! She sounds lovely and refreshing and funny too and of course, the photos are art. I am always so glad when you do these interviews because they inspire me and open my eyes to a world of creativity I might easily miss otherwise!
Have a beautiful happy weekend my dear!

H.K. said...

Wow! You always seem to interview the most coolest people!

Jessie said...

Fabulous! Adding her to my reads, thanks :)

jennykate77 said...

That was a wonderful interview! Her photography is gorgeous and so much fun! Oh, and she loves Twilight...huge bonus! :)

Thanks for introducing us to her!!

Hope you have a fabulous Friday!!

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

She sounds so awesome! LOVE that mini-horse capture. Wow.

Becca said...

Oh these pictures are just beautiful! Thanks for sharing this Becky! :-)

Melinda said...

What a talent!! And I'm with her on the whole "broody vampire" thing!!

Melinda said...

What a talent!! And I'm with her on the whole "broody vampire" thing!!

Sarah said...

Vanessa is amazing! how have I not discovered her sooner? And the sp's every week??? go girl. I agree, hands down, hardest thing EVER. Good for you for challenging yourself!

off to check out more. :) thanks Becky!

Kelly said...

Love, love, love these photos. I think the color and angles are pretty spectacular, but there's also a "loudness" that I love. Great work!

(Also? That quote has just become one of my favorites.)

Freckles & Dimples Photography said...

Great interview, Becky! vanessa sounds like fun a fun and lively gal, and her pictures capture that. I'm not on flickr a lot, but will have to start using it more often, beginning with checking out her work. And, i love vanessa's statement "people are allowed to have layers"...so true and stated so simply and lovely!

Dana-from chaos to Grace said...

Oh she is my kind of people....totally my kind of people!

I think I heart her. Is that weird since I've just met her on your blog? LOL

Katie P said...

Great interview, AMAZING pictures!!

Katie P
Food, Wine, & Mod Podge -- Vinyl Giveaway!!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Wonderful interview...her photos are amazing. My kind of girl; layered!!!

JALS said...

Thanks for the interview! I am always left speechless with the beauty Vanessa finds in the world and how she communicates it.

Joanna Jenkins said...

You had me at "She is not your typical chippy" and kept my attention the whole way through. What a terrific read. Thanks for introducing us to Vanessa-- LOVE the photos.
Cheers, jj

Sarah Andrews said...

Such a great interview! Love the images. My fave has to be the lost bottom tooth! I totally heart it and will totally remember to do that with my daughter when the time comes!

Allison said...

What a great interview! I love the idea of one portrait of myself per week. I hate having my picture taken, I figure this will force me to get used to it! Thanks for sharing!!

Kimmy said...

WOW....I'm really loving the vintage look on some of these!

Lisa Gutierrez said...

Vanessa is my favorite. my absolute favorite.

Dianne said...

her photos are amazing!!
great interview

Puna said...

Really enjoyable interview. I hope that she makes enough from her wonderful photography to one day get her dream barn home.

jlo said...

LOve the extra close-up ones!

TechnoBabe said...

Nice interview and I really like this photographer. Great photos of kids sort of like what you do.

Kim said...

I definitely like her!! I love it that she wasn't afraid to admit that she doesn't get into reading. The photographs I loved the most were of the dog chewing the bone, the elderly woman and the sunflower - my favorite flower. She is most definitely talented!

Raymonde said...

Beautiful, beautiful, thanks for sharing the love. xxx

Colleen said...

Thank you for the introduction! I'm excited to go check out her blog now.

DD said...

What great color in these!! I like that she doesn't just shoot, but there is a creativity in each pic!

Maddy said...

I couldn't agree more with her advice! I took a photography class when I got my DSLR for $45 at the amera place where I bought it and it was the best $45 ever! I learned about ISO, shutter speed and aperature and their relationship to one another. It definitely changed my photography. I know longer got the "blurry" effect because I got lucky, I got it because I knew what to do. Beautiful photos! I love her "quirky" stuff too! Definitely wish my photos had a bit more of that "funky" flair :)

Sarah Halstead said...

Great interview Becky. Wonderful photos. I love reading these.

marc said...

I absolutely agree with all of the great advice!