We had the good fortune of connecting with Tayler Gilbert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tayler, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started my business by accident I guess. I started photography by just taking photos for my AP Studio Art class in high school. I took photos of just my friends and myself at the time and posted those photos to Instagram. Then people started reaching out for me to take their photos and I realized I could make money through photography. The process was natural and I just learned everything from youtube from people like “Jessica Whitaker” and “Jessica Kobeissi” they were my biggest tools to learning how to start my business.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work started out so personal to me. I started taking photos out of a need to express myself. My AP Studio art class in high school really let me think creatively about what I wanted to say without pressure. The themes in the beginning parts of my images and visuals all came from a need to be seen. I could express parts of myself that I wasn’t fully capable of expressing to the world through the subjects I shot. Themes of sexuality, coming of age, religious trauma, etc all surround the works I make for my art currently.
One of my big challenges has been comparison. I have always been felt this need to be perfect. A lot of this stems from the need to overcompensate. Due to my sexuality and being told from the church and culture at a young age that people like me were not normal and deserved hell. In my first year of taking making money, I kinda strayed from my voice a little as a photographer. Fear can control our perception of self and I was dealing with a lot of insecurities regarding self-worth at this time. When I felt like I wasn’t enough I would look at others and compare myself to validate my feelings. The freedom I felt when I started kinda disappeared for a bit. I didn’t want to believe that people actually liked my work. I knew that photography is subjective. You simply cannot be the best photographer because there will always be someone who may just not like your photos. This is a never-ending battle. I knew all of this but never did anything to combat my negative self talk.
Through therapy and my own personal work, I have been able to come to terms with the fact that I do have the capability to take great images and shit images. However, the thing that makes photography so intimate is that no one can take an image like you can when you are you’re able to show up as your most authenic self.
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 would definitely always find a new coffee shop every morning to start out. I love boba and would also include that in as well. Honestly, when I go on trips I am just really kinda spontaneous when it comes to planning things. I like to walk around and look at different things then decided what to do from there!
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?
My parents of course have been the biggest support system in my life. They were the ones who bought me my first camera and fully supported my decision to jump into freelancing.