I met photographer Courtney Coles during the summer of Warped Tour '14. We were often in the same shower line and decided it was the universe's way of saying, "Be friends." At the time, I only knew who she worked for and that she was sleeping on Destiny Child's old tour bus. Although I didn't know much about Courtney yet, her spirit made me feel like I could learn from her. She is her own force and I have come to admire her confidence, sass and love for her friends (and french fries).
For Part V of our Remember Why You Started series, Courtney's life as a photographer is the focus. When I view her photos, even something as simple as a snapshot of her mother, I see truth. Her work inspires me to find my own truth.
Below in her own lower case style, Courtney talks about her influences and how photography is her gateway to building trust.
Photo by Shab Ferdowsi
when i first uttered the words, "i want to be a photographer!" when i was 13, it was because i had a lot of fun photographing my friends with my disposable cameras and my mom's polaroid camera. as i got older, it became my way of better understanding someone (and myself!) and it was a way to build trust. that's what photography mainly is to me: gaining someone's trust in letting me photograph them. to me, to photograph someone is to love them and to love someone there has to be trust. you can always tell how much i love someone based on how i photograph them.
i exclusively use film and one huge challenge is trusting my process and remaining patient. i compare myself to my peers who use digital and i try to remind myself daily that i tried the digital route and while it was great having an instant view of what i was making, i was unhappy with my results. there is enough success for all of us and i remind myself that we all have different ways of creating and not one person is superior or inferior.
when i started, my biggest influence was the quiet voice that kept whispering, "everyone is doing what you're doing" and i used it to help me push myself. annie leibovitz's photographs of the rolling stones inspired me as did lauren dukoff's photographs of her friends (as seen in her 2009 book "family").
currently, i am influenced by my longing desire to define and dissect what "home" is. my adolescence, as awkward as it was, inspires me. as for visual artists, carrie mae weems and elinor carucci and lorna simpson are always on my mind. my parents and friends inspire me as does music. the ultimate dream is to document a musician's life on the road and to have that collaboration live in a book.