Today we’d like to introduce you to Cathryn Farnsworth.
Cathryn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been inherently shy, but with a passionate love of people that overtook the shyness. Photography became a way for me to show people how I saw them. The beauty, the strength, the joy- the things they didn’t even feel they possessed in certain moments. I’m one of those people who find depth in even the silliest and simplest moments- the person at the party having the real conversation. This easily led to my once hobby to turn into a profession 16 years ago when I moved to Los Angeles from Colorado. It hasn’t been a linear path, but it has been a challenging and rewarding one. There is nothing more powerful in life than seeing an awakening in someone being photographed, and it’s my good fortune to work with people everyday assisting in just that. I do commercial work, fine art creations; private gallery work- everyday is different. The space I shoot in is very comfortable, as I believe that adds positively to the overall experience.
Has it been a smooth road?
I think anytime you choose a path of the heart versus a path of logic, there are bound to be obstacles. First, the mental ones, thought like, ‘being an artist isn’t a real job’. Then the tangible ones – I suffered a personal tragedy that ended up strengthening my resolve to follow my heart.
Have you ever wanted to stop doing what you do and just start over?
Photography has become so immersed in my life, I can’t imagine every completely giving it up, but as a career, that takes a certain amount of sacrifice that’s really challenging at times to continue to recommit to. There are probably two moments when I felt like I was facing insurmountable odds. The writer’s strike happened in 2007 in Los Angeles, and that was the first big hit, followed by the economy in the U.S. in 2008. Small businesses were folding left and right. I made a huge decision then to stick with it, lower my prices to reflect the economy, and tighten my personal financial belt even more so. I worked nearly round the clock to keep going. Since word of mouth is my main source of clients, the fact that I was still photographing people and charging a decent rate, people continued to come after word slowly spread. Another time was about two years ago. With the growth of the Groupon type companies, so many people were just jumping from one photographer to another, and working against the ‘big guys’ was getting increasingly harder. I was starting to feel like doing what I love was never going to truly sustain me and my family, and I considered going back into the restaurant industry for the insurance and all the things that makes a small business very challenging to keep afloat. Sometimes it’s hard to see an art as a sustainable career! Especially since I have never had an agent, and all the work I get continues to be through word of mouth.
Let’s change gears – is there any advice you’d like to give?
My chief advice would be, do it because you love it. I continued to work a ‘9-5’ job as I cultivated my craft- don’t be afraid to do that It doesn’t make you any less of a photographer, it gives you the freedom to experiment before there’s someone else’s precious money on the line. Second is, time is time. Value yourself and your process- art should never be free.
What are you looking forward to?
I am most excited to continue learning. I think I subconsciously chose this field because I will never be a master in my eyes. I will always need to learn more- that will never stop. I continue to grow in my commercial work, and that’s truly rewarding to experience. I get to co-create a concept to a tangible vision, that’s pretty extraordinary!
- Website: www.cathrynfarnsworth.com
- Phone: 818-481-5551
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @cathrynfarnsworth
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cathrynfarnsworthphotography/
- Other: https://www.facebook.com/cathrynfarnsworthheadshots/