We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristen Hugo and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kristen, why did you pursue a creative career?
When I was about six years old, I went to Disney’s MGM Studios and my parents gave me my very own Kodak disposable camera. I spent the entire day running around the park taking photos of anything and everything around me. And I truly mean anything. There was one moment in particular that I remember very vividly. I sat by the curb looking up at a banner with Hercules and Megara hanging from a light post. I meticulously planned and visualized the shot in my head before I even took it. Click.

I thought it was quite possibly the best photograph anyone had ever taken. I remember feeling so excited to get the film developed to see how it turned out; to bring how I viewed the world, to life. In reality, it was terribly composed and somewhat blurry. But it was that very moment that I fell in love with photography and knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life. From that moment on, I have always had a camera in my hand. So, I didn’t choose to pursue a creative career, rather, it chose me.

Since then, I’ve been traveling the world and capturing images of the people I’ve met and places I’ve seen. As an aficionado of exploration and anything inspiring, my dream is to share the world with others through my lens and photographs, allowing them to experience the unfamiliar and unknown. Freelance work has allowed me to gain invaluable experience in a variety of other fields, but my portfolio – entitled Nowhere in Particular – is a clear reflection of my passion for adventure and finding beauty in the world around us.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Sincere passion, determination and curiosity – I think that’s what sets me apart. I have this innate, deep need to explore which has driven pretty much every aspect of my life. I blame it on my parents, because I wasn’t even a year old when I went on my first international flight to baptized in Peru, and then I moved around a lot as a kid. So, I have never been afraid to put myself out there or to take risks. One of things I am the proudest of is having traveled the world a few times, both solo and with friends. It’s a dream I am still pursuing, because there is still so much more left to see…but that fact that I made it happen at all – we’re at over 30 countries and counting now! – is incredible. So many people never leave the comfort of their own bubble or even get the chance to. I am incredibly thankful for the experiences I have had and being able to share that with others.

To get to where I am today, a working creative professional (with my own company!!!), was not the easiest of paths. I had a few detours, and a couple years of doubt, but I kept working towards making my dream happen. I spent most of my 20s in the hospitality industry to pay the bills, but was ALWAYS working odd creative jobs here and there: shooting drunk kids at college bars, weddings, creating logos for small businesses, etc. It was tough at times, but I knew if I persevered, I would get to where I needed to.

Some things I’ve learned along the way is that YOU are the only person that can make things happen for your life and career. If you want it, you need to work for it and never give up. Being present; taking a breath every once in a while to appreciate and enjoy the moment, rather than to worry about capturing it. Also, remember to have fun – life was made for living, not for working. Do what makes you happy.

What I want the world to know about myself and my story is that I am utterly in awe and inspired by everyone and everything around me, both far and wide, past and present. I have always admired the little things – overlooked details of a place or moment, or an encounter with a stranger. I want the world to know that I will continue to share the story of others until I’m old and gray and can no longer hold a camera steady.

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?
A little bit of everywhere! The best part of living in South Florida is that there is so much do to and it’s all relatively close. Start the week off with happy hour on the Ave, grabbing a bite to eat at the Delray Marketplace then meet up with friends and visit some old coworkers at the O.G. in Delray Beach. Drive up to West Palm Beach for lunch and a day at the beach. Eat at some incredible restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, maybe catch a live band. Finish it off by spending the weekend in Miami, walking around Wynwood enjoying the art and local dives, shopping in Brickell, and checking out the amazing views at some rooftop bars.

You can never be bored down here, there’s always something to do: world famous restaurants and bars, museums, breweries, upscale mini golf or bowling, shopping, local special events, beaches, air boat rides, etc. Usually, some sort of activity that can be enjoyed outdoors. They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing 🙂

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?
Oh man, honestly there are so many people I could thank and give credit to: my mom, stepdad and grandma for nurturing and supporting my creativity since day one, I got the bug from them. My grandma handed down her Minolta film SLR to me, and that’s how I learned to really shoot. One of my most prized possessions is the Brownie camera she received for her birthday as a kid, and the accompanying photo of her holding it that my great-grandma took. My siblings for allowing me to use them as my models, always shoving my camera in their faces. Alicia, my best friend, who was up for the adventure of exploring Iceland with me (and sooo patient as I waited for the perfect moment) so I could capture the photos of my dreams. My boyfriend Matt, because he inspires me to accomplish even more for myself and always lends a loving and helping hand. And to all of my friends that have supported me and encouraged me over the years – you know who you are – their words and support have stuck with me even when I doubted myself.

Website: www.kristenhugo.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/misskris10/

Other: https://vimeo.com/user45721710

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