"If I don't have photography I don't know who I am anymore, it just defines me as a person."
It's rare to meet a young soul with such passion not to mention the bravery it takes to go after it. Someone with a clear picture of their purpose in life and what will make them happy.
In my interview with Alison Thao from Thao's Aesthetic we dive into what makes this young and talented photographer tick. And let me tell you at only 18 years old and in her first year of college both her work, philosophies, and Instagram will have you taking second looks. Shall we say wise beyond her years? Yes, I think so.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY THAT MAKES YOU AS PASSIONATE AS YOU ARE?
I want my whole life to be about photography, it's not just a hobby or a side job, it's more than that. If I don't have photography I don't know who I am anymore it just defines me as a person. I don't know how my life was before I had a camera, before I wasn't shooting. I wouldn't be able to tell you who I was back then. But if you were to ask me about my life after photography I'm able to tell you. It defines me as a person.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATIONS FOR YOUR WORK?
I get some inspiration through Instagram but more from what I'm feeling. You know the emotions I'm feeling. Like if I wanted to do a studio shoot and I'm feeling a certain way I just own that feeling and find the right model to be able to express the emotion. I find the right places to express what I want to show in my photos. You know with me I don't just have one style (of photography) I have multiple styles.
DESCRIBE YOUR STATE OF MIND WHEN YOU'RE BEHIND THE CAMERA?
Behind that camera there are a lot of things going on in my mind. I have to think about lighting. If I'm shoot a portrait I have to think about how I want to portray the model. When I'm shooting landscapes I'm a lot happier. My feelings and emotions are a lot happier because shooting landscapes are my favorite type of photography. And when I'm doing my studio work and light those are a bit more darker. So I would say when I'm shooting those my mind is kind of blank.
IS THERE A LESSON PHOTOGRAPHY HAS TAUGHT YOU ABOUT LIFE?
Um, it's taught me to express myself more. You know I'm a person that doesn't know how to explain my feelings in words. Back then (before photography) when I was mad I would go and paint and that was my outlet. And with photography I was able to create photos that expressed who I am. And it taught me not to limit myself because you can't put a limit and censorship on art. And that if I think I can do something then I'll do it.
IF YOU HAD IT YOUR WAY HOW WOULD THAO'S AESTHETIC LOOK IN THE FUTURE?
I want Thao's Aesthetic to be a place, like I want to open up a studio and have a place where people can come in and learn from each other. Where it's not just a photography business it's like a place where people can come together and share this art. I want to go back into my hometown and open up a studio, have the high school kids come in and use the equipment, and be able to learn more about this art.
WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS TRYING TO CHASE AFTER THEIR PASSIONS?
Before all of this I wanted to be a business major and my parents were very proud of me for making that choice. And when I changed it and told them I wanted to major in art and design and have a concentration in photography they were worried because they didn't think I would have a stable future, because it's very competitive in the art field. But I decided I'm going to go full on into photography and dive deep into it. What my advise would be is to do what makes you happy. I know that sounds cliche, everyone says it but it really is true. And ask yourself what do you see yourself doing in five years? You know I can't see myself being in an office all day. So yeah, if you feel it and you're passionate about what you want to do go for it! There shouldn't be anybody stopping you. You don't need permission to do what makes you happy, it's all about you.