We had the good fortune of connecting with Abigail Collins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Abigail, what are you inspired by?
Inspiration is incredibly important now more than ever during this crazy time in our lives. We are frozen in little bubbles trying to stay safe and healthy while navigating life in isolation. In order to stay positive through it all, I try and allow my mind and heart to only be pulled toward what inspires me. I’m attracted to beauty first and foremost. Beauty for me lies more in how something feels than how it looks. Beauty lies in colors, in motion, in softness, in contrast, in the shapes people make when they touch each other, and the way light bounces off their skin, or in stories that touch the very core of me. During their vows, one of the grooms I photographed recently spoke of the grace in which his wife handled the last months of her dad’s life. He talked about the delicate strength in which she took care of him, and made him laugh up until his last moments on this earth. Watching the groom love her so tenderly while telling the story of what was probably the most painful time in her life was so heart achingly beautiful, but those are the moments that inspire me to honor being alive. Those are the moments and people that drive me to create images treasured in time. Inspiration motivates. Inspiration drives you towards action. Inspiration can be found anywhere you look, or in any voice that you choose to listen carefully to, you just have to be open to it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There’s a ton of incredibly talented photographers out there, especially in Los Angeles. The biggest thing that sets you apart from the rest is who you are. Only in the rare, magical occasion does someone’s work really speak for itself without much marketing or branding, but the majority of what sets people apart from each other as artists is who you are. I’ve learned a lot since first starting, and a lot of that learning was self-taught. I took a mentor session and went to a few conferences, but the learning really starts with just picking up a camera and shooting. You find out quickly what you like or don’t like, and how to get the images looking like you see in your head. A lot of it is trial and error, and that can be really frustrating but you can always take a break and then get back to it later. I tell an honest story or feeling with each image I post, and when I meet with clients I always try and identity what their super power is. It could be love of laughter, overcoming a painful experience, it could be a killer set of legs, an earth shattering connection with the person they love, or it could just be self confidence. I focus in on that and try and capture it as honestly and artistically as I can. Truth is important to me. I don’t over-edit, I don’t hide imperfections, I simply try and connect how the moment was and how it felt in an image.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I’m a mother of two now so my life has significantly slowed down, but hiking in Topanga Canyon is my favorite place to be outside. It’s gorgeous. Pick any trail and you’ll get the most amazing views. That would be how I’d start a day. Then I’d get a coco-cado bowl at Backyard Bowls and later lunch at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood. Its mouthwateringly delicious! The jackfruit carnitas….mmmmm… El Matador Beach, though crowded most days, is definitely a place to see. The rock formations are amazing and the sunsets are incredible. We could end our day there and then follow PCH down to Santa Monica and get sushi at Ninjin. It’s a hole in the wall but so good. A trip to Joshua Tree from LA is a must. A desert landscape is my favorite. I love the reaching trees, warm nights and dusty sunsets, and the national park is beautiful. There are a lot of trails there and air bnb’s you can rent. I’m not much of a shopper, but you pass some outlets on the way and those can be fun to walk around for a bit, or skip that and just stop at the Cabazon Dinosaurs. You won’t regret it. Another place to check out is the California Science Center. I teared up when I saw the space shuttle Endeavor. The whole building is a very cool place to explore, but that really held my breathe. I was proud of our species in that moment. Seeing as it’s close to Halloween, if you are a die hard fan of horror like I am, I recommend doing The Great Horror Campout, or the Blackout Experience. If you dare. Sticking with the halloween theme, for drinks check out Bigfoot Lodge West. I love creatures of myths and legends and its a very cabin-like feel inside which I also love.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband helped guide me back to the path I dreamed of. I had always wanted to become a photographer but got a little lost along the way. When I met him, he encouraged me to start photographing again, but never pushed too hard or made me feel bad if I got frustrated and wanted to take a break. He was always there quietly supporting me along my journey, and eventually toward quitting my corporate job and starting my own photography business. He’s my biggest fan, and his endless support remains a huge motivator in my work.