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Meet Molly Haas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Haas.

Molly, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m a California native, originally from Sonoma County a ways up north. I took my first ever photo class as part of a summer program at Sonoma State when I was twelve, really didn’t like it, took another photo class in high school, again decided it wasn’t for me, and then miraculously was pulled in a third time my senior year of college. That last time it really resonated. At that point, I’d already decided to study art (I think I thought I was going to be an abstract painter), had spent six months at an art program in Denmark, and was completely captivated by the blossoming art scene in LA. So I was a little more serious about the craft by then. And I think—in a really simple way—it took a second to figure out the technicality of a camera before it sunk in. Once I could mostly get the camera to do what I wanted it to, I was totally hooked.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely not smooth! It’s actually interesting timing to receive this invitation to participate in this feature because, like so many people these days, most layers of my life are undergoing big shifts, including my career.

The path that came the most smoothly was portraiture—I took a couple of headshots for my brother, then for my boyfriend, then for a girlfriend, and then her agent asked to see my website and I quickly got one together and started seeing clients for headshots pretty regularly after that. And I love taking them, the intimacy of those one-on-one shoots, and I love portraiture more broadly, but I’ve found myself recently pulled toward photographing architecture and interiors, as well. And in that area, I feel like I’m starting from scratch. It’s been a process building up a portfolio and client base, but I’ve never shied away from reaching out to my peers and idols for help, and I feel how much that’s serving me right now. It’s been so thrilling to connect with architects and designers I’ve admired, to look through little windows into that world.

When I think of career struggles I’ve faced, most boil down to not having patience or not having an education in business. Both are aspects of this career I’m actively trying to nurture right now. I also have a total complex around social media. Several years ago, I started an Instagram page for my now 90-year-old grandpa, who’s a street photographer in San Francisco, and he would often ask if he’d gotten any “feedback” on his work (also known as “comments,” which never seemed to satisfy his craving). I try to foster that attitude, too, looking for feedback from those I care about, but rejecting social media undoubtedly isn’t helping anything.

Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
I’m primarily a photographer, but with every medium I’ve tried—from my writing group to this photo work— I receive pretty consistent feedback. Whatever I’m creating, I value honesty and subtlety above most else. Aesthetically, I’ve always been pulled toward muted colors and minimalism. One of my earliest childhood memories was in kindergarten, painting a clay frame, and I remember deeply the sensation of wanting to just leave it blank—the dull, tan color of the clay and the smoothness as the edges curved were so satisfying—but I remember feeling pressure to use all the stamps and tools and colors laid out for me. I’ve since fully embraced the part of me that wants to leave things blank.

So all the pictures I take are rooted in that: an appreciation of minimalism, honesty, and subtlety. I’m also a really calm person, so that’s another layer of who I am as a photographer. I’m not the type to demand people and things around—for better or for worse. I’m more likely to observe quietly and notice moments or details that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Because I’m drawn toward minimalist work, the small details become bigger events—the way a curl falls or the way a lampshade is slightly askew. It all feels a lot more bare. I shoot everything with natural light and strive for all my images to be uncluttered and clean with minimal retouching involved. I try to stay away from trends, especially when it comes to editing because I want the details to translate in ten or twenty or thirty years. I want to create work that carries its value through time.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
The first thing to come to mind is Carmel Valley, the summer days we’d spend there. My mom grew up going with her family every summer, so it felt almost like an extension of home. There was this spot called Blue Sky Lodge (it’s actually still there, new owners!) where the owners at the time, Alison and Roger, would greet us with hugs and check us in using these hand-written index cards. They even had the index card for my mom’s family from the ‘60s. We’d spend our days by the pool and hot tub sipping orange sodas, there were chickens on the property, lots of random adventures. The first time I was ever allowed to walk around alone was in Carmel Valley. I got sent to a market and accidentally walked into the bar next door. Aside from that, there was an ease being there I’ll never forget.

Contact Info:

  • Website: molly-haas.com
  • Phone: 7075707830
  • Email: studio@molly-haas.com


Image Credit:

Molly Haas

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