We had the good fortune of connecting with Avery Klein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Avery, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk has played one of the biggest roles in my life. I moved from a small up-and-coming city, Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Los Angeles. I had a fear of not being good enough, especially when surrounded by some of the world’s most creative people. There was financial risk, failure, mistakes, and judgment. Risk and change are incredibly difficult but have always brought me the opportunities I desire. Like most Angelenos, I’m extremely driven by challenges. I know I’m more uncomfortable by being idle and watching opportunities rush past me than to go after something regardless of what happens. Risk-taking is a paradigm shift that elevates my life and career. I strive to have no expectations, be transparent and vulnerable, live every day authentically, and stay determined.
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.
In the Midwest, I began my photography career as a minimalist photographer capturing art, interiors, and architecture. I then began a full-time job as a photographer and marketing director for a fine art gallery and then for a luxe retail development business housing companies like lululemon, Warby Parker, and others known for their luxury designer fashion, fine art, and furniture. Although I worked endlessly to achieve that career in Tulsa, I felt there was more to my story. I made the decision to leave behind everything and start anew in Los Angeles with a whole new perspective on my art. I made it a focus of mine to take an unexpected approach in capturing the true essence of well-known musicians and actors. By using analog equipment and practices, I sought to push the dialogue of unedited photography and a true moment captured in time. I’m especially inspired by the works from documentary music photographers, Danny Clinch, Robert Mapplethorpe, Lisa Law, and so many others who captured young legends in their own unique styles. Seeing their works and reading their stories gave me the push to capture raw moments and portraits in a similar way for our modern time. I hope that years from now, my images will be more than a distant memory and just as inspirational to visual artists like myself for the future. As a recent transplant, this objective feels almost surreal, and gives a new meaning to the phrase, “shoot for the stars.” I’m not currently represented by an agency, so approaching subjects on my own and putting my work out there is a huge challenge for me. I’m in no way a perfectionist, but I’ve learned that it’s okay to be particular when it comes to your art. If I could tell my young photographer self any bit of advice it would be to set boundaries with people, it’s okay to decline a gig, and only show the works that align with your photography brand and aesthetic. During the pandemic, I decided to make the most of slowed portrait photography and began a new series of work by accumulating and curating American and Japanese negatives from the 1930s-1960s. There is a look and feel within these scans that we will never be able to authentically achieve again – the landscapes, old cars, and portraits are beyond breathtaking. This year I’ll be releasing these images as a print series in hopes that it brings me back to my roots and my joy of curating interiors with emotive, meaningful art.
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?
My wife and I made a move into the Echo Park neighborhood and take some of our morning walks on “the hill” also known as the neighborhood with the highest concentration of Victorian-Era homes, it’s located on the 1300 block of Carroll Ave. Each home has it’s own incredible story behind it and most include an exceptional view of DTLA. We try to make it to Silverlake Flea Market every weekend to snag us a vintage tee or new ceramic piece for the home. As for food, Osteria La Buca has my heart and soul. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife Casey R. Klein is my rock. She’s extremely supportive of my career and has been there for me through all of the ups-and-downs. It’s so important and I am so lucky to have someone close who supports and encourages me to be the best version of myself. She’s a painter so she also works as a full-time artist. Our lives are so different than we first met and it’s truly a blessing. We are constantly pushing each other to create and connect with people through our artwork. We are each other’s biggest fans and we are constantly pushing our artistic boundaries.
All photography credited to Avery J Klein.