We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Bartlam and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
This has been one of the biggest challenges for me. When I first started getting really busy I would say yes to every shoot which meant I ended up working late nights and weekends just to keep on top of all the editing and admin – I had pretty much no work life balance at all! I was burning out frequently and the only way to address it was to figure out strict boundaries – learning how often I realistically could shoot, restricting when I checked emails, scheduling regular time off, these were all key components in getting my work life balance on track. I think there’s a tendency with creative industries to just expect your work to consume every corner of your life but that isn’t an ethic I personally subscribe to. My work itself is much better when I am well rested and have spent plenty of time nurturing myself and other parts of my life!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My path to a career in photography was a pretty traditional one. Both my parents are very creative and my Dad is an amateur photographer so I grew up around cameras and art! After high school I went to art college and got my degree in photography and went on to assist wedding, fashion and portrait photographers while building my portfolio and figuring out what I wanted to do. I actually wanted to be an interior designer when I was much younger so asked a friend who was a designer if I could photograph some of her work and have been specializing in shooting interiors ever since! It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point and a good chunk of resilience and persistence. I’m lucky to have an amazing mentor and friend in the wedding photographer I worked for – but I’ve also assisted some photographers who, shall we say, were less than pleasant? That was a disheartening part of the journey, and I’ve done some tedious jobs in the industry too like photographing people in night clubs and photoshopping boogers off kids faces in school portraits! That’s where resilience and persistence came in, reminding myself that you have to pay your dues and that you’ll get there in the end, it’s all part of the process and is character-building! The biggest challenge was for sure moving country 7 years ago though (I’m from the UK), but getting my head down, working hard and just focusing on that end goal made it happen! I think what I would want people to know about me is that I am a grafter and not only have a true passion for both interior design and photography but I also love getting to know my clients and establishing long-term relationships with them. The thing I’m most proud of at the moment is launching my print shop, it’s something I’ve wanted to do since college and this year I’ve been gifted the time to finally get it off the ground! That’s very rewarding.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m assuming we’re talking pre or post covid here otherwise I’d have to say my back yard! Haha! I like to think I’m pretty well versed in showing folks around LA since me and my boyfriend are both expats and prior to 2020 would have visitors at least a couple of times a year. I’d start with a couple of days in LA itself – Day 1 drive along Sunset Boulevard and Mullholland drive, stop off for in-n-out burger and then take the PCH to Point Dume for a day at the beach. Then some yummy seafood at the Reel Inn or Malibu Seafood on the way home and finish the day with a few beers at Birds (our local). Day 2 would be brunch at Aroma in Studio City to get fueled-up for an afternoon at The Getty, then spend the early evening perusing the stores on Vermont in Los Feliz (Skylight books is a favorite) followed by dinner at Messhall or Little Dom’s and drinks at The Dresden and The Drawing Room for a bit of LA history and dive-y fun! Then it would be road trip time – first stop Joshua Tree where we’d explore the park and hang out at Pappy & Harriet’s, then a couple of nights in Palm Springs, being sure to have dinner at Birba and maybe a little detour via Ojai on the way home! I think this might be the exact itinerary for when my best friend came to visit a couple of years ago!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to mention my group of interior photographer friends – Bethany Nauert, Jess Isaac and Marisa Vitale, they are my industry support group! We meet up when we can (co-ordinating 4 photographers schedules is as tricky as you can imagine) and chat on text regularly. We get geeky and chat about cameras and software but also the back end stuff like contracts and licensing – more than anything though we cheer each other on and provide support when things are hard! When you work mostly alone it’s so easy to lose perspective, these 3 women have really been essential to my work life, especially during this particularly difficult year! Oh and it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention my incredibly supportive boyfriend Jonno, he’s helped me navigate through so many challenges and is my biggest cheerleader!
Interior design by Laura U Design Collective. Photo by Amy Bartlam. Interior design by Allie Boesch Designs. Photo by Amy Bartlam. Interior design by Katie Hodges Design. Photo by Amy Bartlam. Interior design by KL Interiors. Photo by Amy Bartlam. Interior design by 4pt Design Build. Photo by Amy Bartlam. Interior design by Hive LA Home. Photo by Amy Bartlam. Interior design by JDP Interiors. Photo by Amy Bartlam. Interior design by Stephen Kenn. Photo by Amy Bartlam.
Main photo is taken by Marisa Vitale