We had the good fortune of connecting with Carly Sharp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carly, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I grew up in Newport Beach, California surrounded by a family of surf, skate and beach culture fixtures which helped set me on a path to create my own style of art in a variety of forms. I trained as a dancer for over a decade which influenced my relationship to music and movement and has given me a unique perspective as a photographer. A lot of my work centers on artists in the music industry and my background in dance allows me to cohesively combine creative fields and interests. In 2021, I graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles where I studied communications, film, and dance — all of which inform my creative process today.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My name is Carly Sharp and I am a Photographer and Creative Director in Los Angeles. I graduated in 2021 from the University of California, Los Angeles where I studied communications, film, and dance.
My work centers on fashion and music. In regards to the latter — I like to focus on how I can collaborate with artists to elevate their visuals and bring their ideas to life. I am very interested in highlighting personalities and emotions within my work and have a particular affinity for portraits as I believe, quite plainly, that people are interesting.
Since graduating, I have had the chance to photograph artists and musicians including, Camila Cabello, John Legend, Charli XCX, Tove Lo, Gracie Abrams, and Kiiara, and on projects with companies including, Spotify, Song Start, FunBoy, Aviator Nation, and more. My work has also recently been featured in Vogue and Billboard.
I love to travel and take photographs that capture the essence of a place and the emotions that reside there in that moment. I lived and studied in Italy for six months and was able to work my way across much of Europe and explore new realms both geographically and artistically.
Creating art with a camera in my hand has been a consistent theme throughout my entire life. But pursuing photography as a career didn’t feel like a viable option before 2020. During the pandemic, as everything we viewed as normal turned on its head, I began to feel like the rules I made up about what a career should look like were not necessarily true. I decided I wanted to pursue photography professionally and it has been the most rewarding decision. It has not been easy, as it can be filled with very high high’s and low low’s emotionally, creatively, and financially. But creating art that I love and am proud of overrides all of the fleeting but intense feelings that can come with a career in the arts.
The biggest lesson I have learned is to follow and trust my gut when it comes to both creating art and making business decisions. Ultimately, no one will care about my career as much as I do and no one can give me answers as to what to do next— even if they are in the same field their path will be different so I have to trust myself. A lesson I am still learning is to stop comparing myself and my work. My favorite thing about art is that each artist has their own style and personality so I have to continually remind myself that whenever I find myself wrapped up in comparison.
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?
Los Angeles is one of my favorite cities in the world, largely because I believe it has a never-ending supply of things to do. If my friend was visiting, I would take them for a drive up PCH and spend the day in Malibu. We would definitely go for a hike in the Palisades and get an iced coffee afterwards. To eat, throughout the week, I would want to take them to Courage Bagels, Kazunori, Tatsu Ramen, Uncle Paulie’s, and Great White. During the weekend, we would end the night at No Vacancy or Winston House!
If there was a band/artist in town that we both listen to, I would take them to any of the amazing venues in LA— whether it’s The Troubadour or The Forum, Los Angeles is full of historical venues. I would probably also take them to Disneyland if they were here for a whole week!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am without the support of my parents. From a young age, I truly believed that I could be anything I wanted to be because my parents believed it themselves. My mom and dad are always rooting for me as I follow my dreams. When I falter, they don’t and they give me the confidence to continue to build the career that I want.