Noa Azoulay-Sclater from Feather Love Photography is a constant source of inspiration for me. Her creative vision as a photographer, her passioniate artistry, and her committment to share all of that with the world is just amazing. Watch the video below to learn more about Noa and then check out the Q&As below! Thank you Noa!!
When did your love of photography begin?
I don't remember a time when I didn't love it- I grew up around it so I was constantly exposed to the art form. My dad was a photographer and so I think observing someone else's passion for something really influences you to become fascinated by it too. I feel like that's the best way to fall in love with anything- when someone else is so deeply into it, watching them shows you how to love it too. Also his library of wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-ceiling books, many of them art and photography books, is where I would spend much of my time. I gained sort of an early education/exposure, immersing myself into that world.
What have been your biggest hurdles as a creative photographer?
Creatively the biggest hurdle is remembering to trust my intuition, and then the process of actually trusting my intuition, is probably the most challenging. But when I do it, it usually works out- that's the reward that artists get for taking that risk.
Your style is very unique...how did that develop?
I'm not really sure because when it's your own work you don't really see it that way, but I know it had a lot to do with tuning out all the outside voices and listening to myself more. Then my work began to improve during that process, at least in my opinion.
What cameras do you shoot with and why?
5D mark2. It serves me well.
Polaroid SX-70 (although I'm getting another model soon too) & a Holga I bought about 8 years ago - I dig experimental cameras because they have a life & personality of their own and they like to make decisions for me, the results are usually magical.
35mm Ricoh- It was my first camera my dad bought me at a pawn shop when I was 11 (circa '88) so it's probably from the early-mid 80's. It has always taken groovy photos.
35mm 7yr-old Canon Rebel film camera. It's great to travel with because it's light & takes great shots. And when I use my 50mm on it, it doesn't take up much space in my purse.
Generally I prefer non-complicated equipment, keeping it simple. I don't subscribe to the thinking that it's the equipment that makes a good photographer necessarily, which is why I lean more towards uncomplicated and often times cheaper cameras. If you want to become a photographer (film), you can get a set up for under 100 bucks and start taking photos.
How do you continue to keep your work new and fresh?
Over the years I feel like I have built up more of a direct connection to my work. And I noticed that the more I do that, the more it continues to feed me and open up to me. It's a give and take type of thing, just like any other relationship. As I grow, it grows and vice versa.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Motion Picture, dreams, psychedelic experiences and the occult. Those are a few subjects that have always generally inspired me. And comedy.
What has been the best thing you've done for your career?
Getting thrown out of Heidi Montag & Spencer Pratt's wedding. Which I didn't do on purpose, but that situation gave me a good 15 seconds: http://www.featherlove.com/blog/so-i-ended-up-at-spencer-heidis-wedding/
And staying true to my work.
How does your creative work fit into your daily life?
Fortunately, the two have merged over the years so that I don't think I experience a separation between them anymore. It feels like every part of my life feeds the other parts of my life. There is not a single day that goes by where I don't stop to appreciate that. And like I always say: it's not magic or luck- it's work.
What was the hardest shoot you've ever had and why?
Physically, I think the hardest was about 5 years ago when I had a back injury that was flared up really bad and I had to go shoot a wedding on the beach, in freezing windy, rainy weather, and each step and movement I made was excruciating. That sucked. Then there was also a celebrity wedding I shot once where my CF card decided to fry on me for the first (and hopefully last) time ever. No bueno. Luckily I recovered the files and had a crew of photographers working for me so nothing was lost.
What is your favorite time of day to shoot?
Before sunset/ early morning. I'm sure everyone says that.
What has been your favorite shoot so far and why?
That's hard to say because there are so many! But I would probably say Kestrin & Jonathan's wedding: http://www.featherlove.com/blog/wedding-of-the-century-kestrin-jonathan/ - it was just fully and truly epic in every way. I felt like I was floating around in a dream for 2 days straight. Also I made several other clients through that wedding, who also became friends- including the bride and groom-- all unbelievably fascinating people. That is honestly one of my favorite things about my job, is that my clients are such colorful, interesting, rich characters, and that I continue to have fulfilling and enriching relationships with them.
How do you prepare yourself for a shoot?
I triple-check everything, then I quadruple check everything. 99% of my work is out of town/country so there is usually a full day of equipment prep as well as travel prep to be done. Also because of the travel aspect, I get into the "adventure" zone which also helps me relax and be calm when I go into a shoot.
How did your business develop?
That's a several-hour-long, 35-part-answer ;) I go into it fully in one of my many workshop lectures. So I won't bore you with it here...
Have you always considered yourself an artist, or is it something you had to cultivate within yourself?
When I look back now- Yes. I have always had the artist brain/soul or whatever you want to call it, and it all makes sense to me now and has helped me to understand myself. Although I didn't really know it for a big part of my life. Then there was a time in my 20's where I was making a lot of art- photography, and mixed media pieces etc, and I felt creative and loved doing it but I didn't call myself an artist. Then there were periods later where I didn't produce anything so I didn't feel right calling myself an artist. Plus, I always thought "there are real artists out there, creating real work, how dare I call myself one?" But the whole time if I wasn't doing photography I was writing music, or doing mixed media, or writing poetry, or being a graphic designer/web designer /multimedia designer-- I didn't realize that that was all Art. Or that I was an Artist. I really only started officially calling myself that maybe about 4 years ago or so in my early thirties? I think it took that long. But once I did it then I started to understand myself a whole lot better: they can teach you how to make art, or use the tools to create that art, but nobody teaches you how to be an Artist. They don't teach you what that actually means. That's why I am so fascinated with the subject and why I spend most of my time researching it, discussing it, teaching it. That's why I started my Artist Workshops, because I believe we need to figure out what it is to be an Artist first, learn the tools and structures and methods to work with, and then learn how to create from that place. I'm obsessed with the subject and am constantly learning more about it and living in real-time with it, dissecting myself to understand it better, and surrounding myself with other artists that I learn from. I am so fascinated by the experience and really push the importance of it in our individual lives as well as in the societies we live in.
What is the most challenging part of being a creative photographer?
In general, I think a lot of the time Artists are crazy, full of shit, selfish, and self-obsessed (mostly because we have to be sometimes). It's pretty challenging to live that way. Which is why one always has to maintain a sense of humor.
Thank you Noa for being such an inspiration!! Check out Noa here: