GUSTO35 ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
WRITTEN BY ALEC WELSH
Krissy describes growing up in Irvine, California as "Kind of hard". This is because the town is so academically orientated, "Everyone has the same goal and that's to go strait to a four year college". Her father was an engineer which allowed her to be introduced to the more technological aspects of her interests. At a young age, she was coding her own websites for early forms of social media like Neo-pets and Myspace. Her mother on the other hand "Loved video games". Which she believes was what began her interest for sitting behind a screen editing photographs.
Another perk to her parents was they always supported her interests and hobbies, although they still wanted to start small to see if it was just a phase. When she asked for Photoshop software as a Christmas present, they got her the most basic and cost effective option. "I felt a little limited but I loved it". At the age of thirteen she was taking pictures of all her friends in middle school.
"I would spend all weekend editing, I didn't have a social life at all". Insisting that "My best friend was my computer and my camera". Though she loved improving her craft, entering high school Krissy states: "I had to be realistic because that what everyone in Irvine was doing, being realistic". When it comes to her peers, the majority of them wanted to be engineers or doctors which made the self-doubt of creating such a career. Being the intelligent person she is, she wanted to understand what made her love photography so much. If it wasn't going to be what she did for a living, she was going to do something close. "I do love helping people, I do love talking to people, I love people in general. So I think I will be a therapist".
Recognizing that this wasn't going to be a teen phase, her Father bought her a Nikon, her first serious DSLR. This elevated it her passion for shooting her friends and editing the product. "I was horrible, it was okay though...I thought I was good" But she felt most rewarded when her friends would use her photographs as their profile pictures for their Facebook profiles. "I felt very happy with photography and how I could make others feel through my photos. It almost felt like I was being a therapist through a camera".
This is when she decided that this was going to be a career despite being daunted by the superiority of Los Angeles. She started small with weddings and senior portraits but it wasn't long before her talent and passion set her miles apart from the rest. During her senior year, Krissy took a workshop instructed by a successful fashion photographer where they were learning advanced lighting techniques. One of the tasks was to take a picture of the instructor using a reflector which she later enjoyed so much she posted it to her own instagram, which then lead her to ask Krissy if she wanted to intern for her. "It felt huge".
Quickly, she learned Instagram is more of a tool for brand development, more so than typical social media. From there she was shooting a lot for a popular Italian fashion labels but wasn't getting paid; "I didn't know better". Despite this she was gaining real experience and getting seen by real brands. Krissy was PacSun's very first social media photographer and from there she worked with Seventeen Magazine. "They asked me to shoot a spread for them". Which they were so impressed with they awarded her Photographer of the Year, then Teen Vogue was hitting her up to be interviewed, and from there; "It was a domino effect, I felt like I was on top of the world".
People began to grow curious as to why she wasn't shooting on film considering the aesthetic of her digital was so much like it. Although Krissy admits; "I was too lazy to learn for some reason, I don't know why I didn't want to push myself". This atypical behavior didn't last long though "I decided I was going to learn completely on my own but all my rolls were coming out blank". After looking at a few online tutorials she started to get some results but they weren't exactly what she wanted. Krissy decided to phone a friend that taught her the ways. "After I saw the finished product... I fell in love with film".
Nowadays Krissy shoots ninety percent on film, warming up brands on the idea of it as she moves forward with her career. "More people are getting employed because of film... I don't think it will ever replace digital but I think a lot of companies will go to film, and a lot of magazines and editorials will go to film which is really exciting".
Although Krissy's first film camera was a hand-me-down from a family friend, she recommends starting much like how her parents taught her - "Start with disposables to get a taste of film, then go to a point and shoot, and eventually to something like a Canon AE-1" She recommends purchasing these types at B&H, Amazon or eBay because "They will back you if something doesn't work".