We had the good fortune of connecting with Audrey Taylor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Audrey, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk involves overcoming fear, and doing anything creative involves risk. I tend to be a hard critic of my work and have found that I am able to bury fear by working through the challenges. The projects I’ve been the happiest with are ones where I faced those challenges. Being conscious of what scares me keeps me aware of my internal process. I have changed my creative career path many times which often feels like the greatest risk of all, but it’s also the most rewarding when it goes right. I basically like to find the edge and then just jump off and figure it out. It strengthens your ability to stand by what you have created because you know how hard it was to create it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a prop stylist but I consider my work to be conceptual. I guess I want people to know that I make photos to bring people joy! I create little worlds that have no rhyme or reason but hopefully gives you vibrancy. Pushing creative boundaries within the photo industry is important to me. I find that it reveals someone’s potential. I am not sure if I find value in setting myself apart from anyone. We are all in this together. The goal is to create bodies of work that are just unique themselves. I got to where I am today by listening to my intuition, having conviction and working very hard. Some challenges I have faced were my battle with imposter syndrome and anxiety but I just kept pushing through. One of the biggest lessons that I have learned is that no one knows what they are doing. It’s true! So I like to ask questions and reach out for support if needed.
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.
I actually split my time between LA and SF. I work in both cities. But I love being out and about in both! I am definitely a social person so I love exploring as much as I can. Man, this is kind of a tough one because of Covid and a lot of places do not exist anymore but I am going to pretend for a second. I love old steakhouses or any place that has that ambiance. So The Prince, Taylor’s Steakhouse and Taix always excite me. I loooove karaoke and used to go to The Smog Cutter all of the time but they have been closed for a while. I used to go to Little Joy, Short Stop, The Black Cat, etc. I love going to Venice Beach to people watch. Vintage stores I love are Painted Bird, Bearded Beagle and Squaresville. LA has an amazing art scene so I love going to art shows. I am definitely a person who can barely sit in one place for a long time so I try to get out when I can!
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?
First of all, I am a huge believer in community. I love connecting with artists, sharing, lifting, and promoting everyone along the way. I owe a ton of people shoutouts! My teachers Ruth Snow and Ed Dahl helped shape my path when I was in school. I then worked at Sak’s Fifth Avenue doing window displays. My co-worker Tim Whalen was such an inspiration. He believed in me and pushed me forward. I then went to work at Levi’s with the corporate visual team. That whole team nurtured my growth and taught me professionalism within a creative field. I owe a huge thank you to Ann Lawson, Alan McNaughton and the entire team for that one. Yudi Echevarria and I have been shooting random things for fun since we were young so I owe her a shoutout. Hannah Stouffer is another close one who motivates me and keeps me going. Rob Williamson is an amazing photographer that I collaborate with often. The list goes on! I really do focus on building people up and in return that comes back to you. Artists thrive on that energy! I love it! I always say that work isn’t work anymore if you are having fun. What I do is really fun and I want as many people to be a part of that energy!
Rob Williamson and Kelsey McClellen