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Maker Series: Michelle Terris

Maker Series: Michelle Terris
1. Why did you decide to become a fashion photographer? 
I went to school for photojournalism, but after doing that for a bit after school I decided it wasn't quite right for me. I started working for a fashion company and got more and more into fashion and styling. I also was introduced to Pinterest and became so inspired by all the photos I would see on there and I thought to myself, " I want to do that!" and then started meeting models on Model Mayhem and planning shoots in my room and around my neighborhood and it took off from there.
 
2. Tell us a little bit about your process as a photographer and what inspires you?
I'm usually inspired by a lot of amazing photographers I see while spending too much time on Instagram. I get inspiration from clothes, models, nature, paintings, movies, music, and architecture. 
 
3. What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability to me means creativity. Finding creative ways to reduce my impact on the planet. It wasn't until after the 2016 election that I took a look at what I'm doing and how I'm supporting things that are bad for me, my family, and our planet. I believe that where we spend our dollars makes a huge difference and now I'm trying to change that. It's a lot of breaking habits that I've had my whole life and trying to find new ways to do things sustainably. 
 
4. How do you view clothing and its purpose in your life?
Being a fashion photographer clothing is important in my life. I love expressing myself through the clothes I wear and watching others do the same. I am so inspired by clothing and the visions that pop into my head when I see something I really like and how it makes me feel.  I'm working on changing my mindset when it comes to where I buy my clothes from and am trying to not buy impulsively anymore (it's hard!). I want to build a capsule wardrobe that I can mix and match from a handful of pieces and when I'm out shopping I try to really think if this is something that I really love before I buy it. I've taken too many things to the Good Will and before I wouldn't even think about it, but now it makes me feel really bad dropping off clothes that I've only worn once or that fell apart because they were cheaply made, I'm trying to change those habits too.
 
5. What social issues are you most passionate about?
Women's health and reproductive rights and saving our planet. I've been working on a fundraising project to get reusable menstruation cups to homeless women in Los Angeles. It's called Freedom Cups and we have a GoFund me page at www.gofundme.com/freedom-cups donate it's amazing :)! I'm also mainly trying to work with brands that are sustainable to help get their message out to the world and encourage people to shop sustainable. And, I'm trying to use less plastic, it's not easy. Once you realize it, pretty much everything comes in plastic.
 
6. Who’s your favorite photographer?
Hmm all time favorite and that hasn't ever changed is Richard Avedon. He has this series called 'In the American West' where he road tripped through the western part of the USA and took portraits of all kinds of people with an 8x10 camera which resulted in these super detailed large-scale portraits which are just unbelievable.
 
7. Do you have any daily routines?
I wish I could say I wake up every morning and meditate and do yoga, but I don't have too many daily routines, unless it's going on my phone :) I do drink a glass of water every morning when I wake up, exercise 3 days a week, listen to 'Wait Wait Don't Tell Me' every weekend, and go to the farmers market on Sundays. 
 
8. What’s one of your biggest challenges you’ve faced (as a business owner or otherwise)?
I'd say continually pushing myself to find work and to stick up for myself and asking what I'm worth. Being freelance, every month is different and sometimes it's good and sometimes it's so slow that I reconsider even being a photographer. Pushing through those tough times and forcing myself to reframe my negative thinking has been challenging, but this is the best job I've ever had and I'm excited to see where this road takes me. And working from home all the time ain't easy. 
 
9. What’s one of the biggest rewards?
Meeting so many different amazing and creative people. I feel so fortunate to meet so many people from so many walks of life who are out there living their dreams and trying to make it, it's inspiring. I love meeting new people to collaborate with and learn from.
 
10. What brings you joy?
Spending time with my soon to be husband, going on adventures, networking (which I never thought I'd say, but I have to admit that I always have a good time when I'm out meeting new people. I'm oddly enough starting to like being scared to talk to new people and changing my mindset to push myself past that), traveling, camping, and of course, taking photos.