We had the good fortune of connecting with Andi Elloway and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andi, how do you think about risk?
Calculated risk has always been a tool to help me avoid regret in life. I would hate to have wanted to do something that I didn’t try for because of fear or insecurity. Both of those feelings are valid, but I try to rationalize how real any hesitation is and whether it’s grounded in facts. When you take a risk there’s always the chance it might not work out because nothing is a sure thing, but if I feel I could handle the worst case scenario I will take my chances if there could be a big payoff (better quality of life, interesting projects, someone I want to work with, etc) . Some risks for me have included bi-coastal moves, turning down jobs, and taking projects while having imposter syndrome. In retrospect my career trajectory could be considered pretty risky but it never felt like that. I’ve always just tried to do shoots I’m interested in and knew if I didn’t make certain decisions and take action there really wasn’t a way for that to happen.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Before I committed to being a photographer there were a lot of things that interested me. I loved film, editing, vfx, graphic design, painting and was always interested in anything creative that would let me pay the bills. I’m naturally a super driven person with some masochistic tendencies and will definitely suffer for my art if I need to. I enjoy the challenge and uncertainty that comes with running my own business because it forces me to keep learning and evolving. There’s always something to be done or something new to pursue and I like that I’m never bored. It is absolutely not easy and was truly very stressful for maybe the first 6-7 years or so, then I kind of got on my feet and things started to work themselves out a little easier. In the beginning it was hard because I was hunting for the jobs and facing rejection all the time, and now I have more jobs than I can take but I’m stressed because I want to over deliver and make really great photos. The hardest part for me is having to say no to a shoot I really want to do because I’m already booked or know I don’t have the time right then to make the project what it should be. Having that integrity can be hard but it’s important. Work-life balance is something I’m still learning, but I think it’s because I really love what I’m doing. I’ve been shooting 13 years now and it’s been the best ride so far and has allowed me to do so many cool things and meet a lot of very talented amazing people and friends. There are three major lessons that come to mind. The first is to keep pushing forward even when everything sucks. It’s ok to slow down or take a break, just don’t quit if you still want it. The second is to have appreciation for exactly where I’m at. If it’s good, reflect, smile, and cry happy tears. If it’s bad, think about what I’m learning from it because that knowledge and experience are still good. The third and most recent is to take time off because burnout doesn’t help creativity. It’s so important to step back, travel, and do new things to inspire new thought pattens and ideas.
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?
There’s so much to do here! I may be an outlier but I love walking in LA. I live in Weho and cruising around here is really fun and there’s a good vibe. LACMA for an afternoon, driving through Malibu and picking up a picnic for the beach at sunset, hiking in Griffith Park, a movie at Hollywood Forever, and gymnastics class at Mats because I try to recruit everyone. For dining: Coffee at Go get em tiger, Enigma, or CoffeeCoffee. Smoothies at Earth Bar. Brunch at Sunset tower, Croft Alley, Sycamore Kitchen, Hugo’s, or Blu Jam. For lunch, Urth Cafe, Pinches Taco, Erewhon, Joan’s on Third, Tere’s Mexican, Strings of Life, or the farmer’s market at The Grove. For dinner there are too many: Crossroads, Great White, Olivetta, Toi, El Coyote, Craig’s, Superba, Ippudo, Horses, Merois, or John and Vinny’s. For Dessert: I love Bar 1912 at the Beverly Hills hotel because you can order the soufflé and drinks there and the vibe is more mellow than the polo lounge (but love that too!) For Drinks: Bar Lis, Bar Pendry or the rooftop, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, Sunset at the Edition, or Short Stories. Ending the night: Crazy Girls.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This is such a long list! My parents have always been behind whatever I’ve wanted to do. As long as I was making moves and not sitting on my butt they were always so supportive and encouraging (love you mom and dad). Jamie McPhee and Kenneth Cappello were and still are my major mentors. I can call them for anything and they’ve both brought tears to my eyes with their support on multiple occasions. Kelly Cutrone’s book “If you have to cry go outside” really lit a fire, Napoleon Hill’s “Think and grow rich” did also… Honestly there are so many people that have influenced me and I will be forever grateful to have known in my life.