Today we’d like to introduce you to Hayley Samartin.
Hayley, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I am an extremely down to earth British lass who’s not afraid to get down and dirty, I love a giggle, love wine, try to be super stylish, love a bit of glitter and editing in my PJ’s with a good cup of tea.
I grew up with a camera in my hand – it may have been one of those throwaway ones you get at parties but it took pictures, LOTS of pictures!! I love and have always loved taking pictures of PEOPLE. I used to get so bored with my friends holiday photos when I was at school which were all of the landscapes, a hotel, a church, a sunset… BLAH, where are the people… gimme the people haha!! I took photos of people at their best, at their worst, smiling, giggling, frowning, screaming, crying… I couldn’t get enough. I was fascinated by the human condition and all these emotions we have and show or do not show. I still am. This leads me to give up swim club for acting class and my acting career and the opportunity to delve into all these emotions was born.
I went to university in South Wales, then drama school in London – before touring the UK in various theatre productions, all the while documenting my travels with my camera. I eventually got into movies, and it was during a film shoot in Italy in 2007 that I bought my first DSLR and taught myself how to use it. Happy days… little did I know what a world I was opening up to…all the amazing possibilities waaaahh!
I moved to LA 2 years later to try out Hollywood and had my headshots taken by a few inspiring photographers here. I was then asked by a friend to take her headshots and I figured why not? Looking back they were ok at best, but we all gotta start somewhere, and I kept at it – learning all about how to use light, composition, manual mode, everything. I was hooked, and I inhaled everything I could about photography whilst making all my friends pose for me, poor things! Eventually, I got better, I got good and I started to do photography as a side business to acting. It’s so fulfilling to have something that activates both my creative side and my inner geek – I weirdly love editing!!
My son was born last year and having him has inspired me, even more, to make a success out of working in this field – to show him that hard work, passion, and hustle CAN give you the life of your dreams.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I love to catch people in between shots… the moment when they aren’t presenting a persona or acting a role or have any walls up, in fact, that’s my favorite part of taking someone’s portrait – watching their walls crumble away as we work together. I try to make my clients as relaxed as possible during a shoot by playing their favorite music, dancing, jumping, silly faces, breathing… it’s all a way to get to the real person standing in front of me, walls down.
I’m all about empowerment during a shoot and bringing your best self, maybe that’s why I like Boudoir so much – it’s hard to be so open and raw in front of another human but it’s such an amazing and powerful experience when you do. I think my experience both behind and in front of the camera really helps people to relax and be their best… that and my rubbish jokes… maybe.
My style is still evolving and my portraits tend to be a little different depending on who I am shooting with. I always aim to tell a story in my portraits and oftentimes that story really depends on the person I am photographing. We have lots of fun though… sometimes a session feels a bit like therapy – I love to really get to know someone who is sitting for me, find out what makes them tick and what their passions are… what a privilege it is to share space like that with another human & get to take their photo, that’s how I view it.
I do a lot of personal projects, my most favorite being a Halloween shoot where I got to cover my poor friend in fake blood and indulge my horror film geekdom – SO MUCH FUN!!
I’m also kind of obsessed with sequins, glitter, wigs, masks, crazy makeup and props so you’re bound to see some of that in my work!!
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I think the concept of the ‘struggling artist’ is often a very difficult thing to overcome. I am so lucky to have had my family 100% behind me every step of the way, but some are not so lucky and following your dreams can come at a price. I have done SO MANY ‘day jobs’ in the past whilst trying to do what I do, and it is hard and so easy to become despondent at times!
I think the way through this is to fully see and appreciate the value in your work and how important the Arts are to society – it’s the way we express ourselves, the way we can make changes happen, the way we can make people think, maybe even change people’s views on something! So for me, the biggest challenge is often to keep going and get through the tough times and stay positive because there are no guarantees… but I would rather be doing this than anything else.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
One of my portraits was featured in ‘Indiewire’ magazine.
I also won a portrait award in the 9th Collection of the International Portrait Photo Awards (http://portraitphotoawards.net/best-photography-gallery/9)
I am looking to do an exhibition of some of my work in the near future
- Website: www.hayleysamartin.com
- Phone: 3233799766
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/hayleysamartin
- Facebook: facebook.com/HayleySamartin
- Twitter: twitter.com/hayley_samartin
Main photo: Letticia Bissondut