The MISSBISH Photography Workshop | Alana O’Herlihy
Photographer: Alana O'Herlihy
Location: I am currently based in THE MAGIC CITY (New York, NY). I moved here a little over two years ago, and it was absolutely the best decision I have ever made for myself. The creative power New York has is really something special.
Equipment: I use a Canon 5D Mark II, and I use a Canon Sure Shot 85 Zoom film camera for my “Lifestyle” shots, which are photos I take every day of my life and things that I find aesthetically pleasing or interesting.
Style: My style of photography is candid but curated. I like to take photos of people, and I do not enjoy landscape photography or product photos. I really only like taking photos of people, whether that be portrait photography, editorial, film stills, and of course, fashion. My work is always developing and changing. I also tend to use myself as a subject, so self portraits are a big part of my body of work.
How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience (and your first camera!).
I got into photography at a very young age. I always liked taking photos. When I was in starting out in highschool, I would always be that girl with the camera around school and at parties. Some kids would actually get irritated with me because this was before everyone was used to getting their photo taken the way they do today. Long before there was Instagram, I was always taking photos of my friends, and I would set up little “photo shoots” with them. It was something that I have always enjoyed ever since I can remember. My first camera was a sh*tty old Fujifilm DSLR. I am very glad I have graduated from that stage.
What are your thoughts on iPhone-ography?
iPhone-ography is a bittersweet thing. We have access to a pretty high quality camera at all times, so it would be silly not to take advantage of that and use it when we don't have an actual camera at our fingertips. However, I do believe that iPhone-ography misses a lot of what is necessary behind a thought-out and composed photograph.
Do you shoot things differently/look for different types of shots when you're shooting for Instagram as opposed to say a larger editorial? If so, can you give us an example?
I do not curate images that I shoot specifically for Instagram, even though some may think that would be a smart business move. The “photography” world that Instagram highlights is something that I do not want to feed into. The distasteful photographs of girls naked, or in lingerie, are what gets the most attention and the most followers on Instagram. There is absolutely a way to take beautiful and classy nudes, however the kind of photography that Instagram tends to lean towards is something I am not too fond of.
What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
Living in New York is my constant source of inspiration. My friends, photo books, and magazines also inspire my work.
“ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION. Always look around and know your surroundings, because the second you look away and get distracted, you miss that magic moment."
Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
Helmut Newton is someone I have always admired and attempted to take notes from. The person that I still learn from today is my boyfriend (Levi), who has always told me to stop doubting myself. That is something that I always try to carry with me, and advice that has gotten me to where I am now.
Three of your favorite Instagram accounts to follow and why...
1. @newyorknico. The most entertaining and inspiring account on Instagram right now. He is a “street guru” who brings you “the greatest show on earth.” LOOK IT UP. The people highlighted in this Instagram are people that I really want to know.
2. @theacademynewyork. It is an Instagram made of found images, but the content is curated to perfection. I also get inspiration from this account.
3. @popcultureinpictures. It is an image bible via Instagram. There is always innovative content being circulated on this account.
Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION. Always look around and know your surroundings, because the second you look away and get distracted, you miss that magic moment.
Tell us three photography tips.
1. Don’t get discouraged by the absurd amount of images circulating in our world.
2. Never stop shooting. Just like with any other practice: practice is imperative.
3. Take critique seriously. However, know your limits and know that your creative vision is paramount.
If you could shoot anyone, who would it be, where, and why?
If I could shoot anyone at this moment in time, I would shoot Robby Brender, the man that the Instagram account @newyorknico is based on. I think he is actually the world’s most interesting man. I would shoot him in Washington Square Park, because that is where he spends most of his days, and that is where I think he would feel most comfortable.
Finish the sentence...
If I weren’t afraid I would... do performance art.
I wouldn't be where I am today if... I had not moved to New York.
I've been listening to... The Growlers. Their new album “City Club” is pure fire.
Kids these days... are underestimated and very creatively driven.
I look and feel my best when... lather my entire body with coconut oil. HEAD TO TOE.
When no one is looking I ... watch “Catfish”.
Traveling... to Amsterdam or Copenhagen.
I respect.. humans and loving souls.