This week we speak with 18y/o photographer Mallory Barry. In her practice, the ethereal meets photography through incredibly vibrant and dreamy portraits. In this feature, Mallory breaks down everything from her unique style to what she thinks her work would taste like.
AW: Tell us about yourself and what you do creatively...
MB: My name is Mallory Barry, and I'm a portrait photographer from Birmingham, Alabama and a freshman at the University of Arizona in Tucson. I've been doing photography professionally for about three years, and I love shooting crazy, colourful looks and concepts.
AW: What would you say inspired you to pursue photography?
MB: I remember, when I was younger, that I would constantly be taking photos with my Nintendo DSi and toy cameras, and then I saved up for my first DSLR because I wanted to be a Tumblr girl back in 2013. Unfortunately, I didn't become a famous Tumblr girl, but I later took a photography class in high school and became obsessed with taking portraits of my friends, and it became a regular thing.
AW: You've developed an incredibly dynamic and unique style, what would you say has influenced the visual identity of your work?
MB: (Thank you so much) I like to express myself visually because I feel that my words don't communicate my thoughts as strongly, so when I create photos, I want them to stand out. I try to do this by incorporating vibrant colours and bright light whether through the styling or editing, which is a stark contrast to how my photos used to be when I used VSCO filters and lots of desaturation.
IMAGES BY: MALLORY BARRY
AW: What is your creative process?
MB: I keep a running list in my notes of concepts that I want to turn into photoshoots, and I'm always on the lookout for props and clothes to make them happen. I usually slide up in strangers' DMs, awkwardly asking if they want to model for me, or I get my friends to model. Then, when I'm planning the shoot, I usually make a Pinterest board for references and go to thrift stores for props. The majority of time spent on a shoot is spent before and after during the planning and editing. I edit in Lightroom, and it takes me forever because I export the edits and look at them on my phone, back and forth until I feel like they're done.
AW: Where do you find inspiration?
MB: I take inspiration from everything: movies, paintings, Pinterest, other photographers, clothes, etc. Whenever I'm in a creative rut, scrolling through other photographers' websites and Instagrams always leads me to new ideas. I also mostly photograph women because I feel more comfortable and inspired around them. I find that femininity is what fits my style best, but I'm trying not to limit myself to this too much. I can't help that femininity is so beautiful!
AW: What would you describe as the most challenging part of being a creative? how have you combated this?
MB: As a creative, there are many people who don't respect the hours of hard work that go into a single photoshoot, and they might not understand why artists charge for their work, but you just have to find clients who appreciate what you do and make the process enjoyable. Working with understanding clients is the best feeling ever.
AW: Who have been some of your greatest influences?
MB: A Petra Collins is the single biggest inspiration for me ever since I discovered her in ninth grade. Not only is her work insane, but she's a young female photographer who broke many barriers in the male-dominated world of photography. Her along with Lissyelle Laricchia and Dana Trippe are my biggest inspirations. I could make an obnoxiously long list of photographers and artists who influence me, but those are the main ones.
AW: If your work were edible what would it taste like?
MB: If my work were edible, I think it would taste very fruity…
AW: What is some advice you would give to another young creative?
MB: To anyone who wants to become an artist, please don't let others discourage you from pursuing it because it's "unrealistic". If you love photography or any other art form, it's so much more fulfilling to pour your hard work into making it a reality than to try to please others by pursuing a career that feels draining and lifeless. These days, social media makes it much easier to get your work out in the world!
LEARN MORE ABOUT MALLORY AND HER WORK BELOW
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS : A SPECIAL TO MALLORY FOR SPEAKING WITH US.
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