Māgoa presents Joelle Grace Rosen, an editorial, portrait and lifestyle photographer, based in Atlanta, GA. “Combining her love of people, retro styling and creative direction, Joelle creates dream-like images full of energetic color and depth. Her “retro dream-grunge” style incapsulates vibrant youth while maintaining a timeless aesthetic for individual and commercial clients.”
Read more about her and the work she does in the interview below.
Could you quickly introduce yourself in a few short sentences? Who you are, what you do at the moment and where are you from?
Hi! I’m Joelle! I live in Atlanta GA where I am a full time photographer. I moved here 3 years ago from Mobile, AL and focused all of my efforts on editorial work with individuals, companies, musicians, artists, models, publications and personal work. I just signed with Agency Arts in LA so I’ve been going back and forth a bit more recently.
What first got you interested in being a photographer?
I was a communication major in college and took a basic photography class. The class was small so no one was ever in the darkroom. I would take my friends and dress them up and go find abandoned places and take their photo on a cheap canon film camera. I loved creating, directing and shooting and wanted to get better at it.
How would you describe your beginnings in the creative field? Was this the career path you have always wanted or is it different from what you have imagined it to be?
I always wanted to be able to shoot creatively for a living. For a long time I thought it would be something I did for personal projects, but not consistently as a career. I’m still learning and growing, but I have gotten more and more jobs, where I get to work for a publication or company as a creative director and photographer. It’s incredible to know you’re capable of that on a larger scale. There’s always more pressure as you get bigger jobs, but if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not challenging yourself to be better.
Are there any photographers who have influenced you?
Tim Walker has always dazzled me and humbled me. He’s incredible.
Do you remember your first photograph and what was its motive?
Oh wow. I don’t remember the very first photograph I ever took, but I do remember the first time I used a 120mm box camera, I took a photo of a friend kneeling by a river and when I developed it in the darkroom it was so unique … like it could be from any decade. I still have it framed.
How would you describe your vision and style? How has it evolved over time?
I describe my style as “retro dream grunge”. My work has always had a dream-like quality and as I’ve grown over the last few years, I feel like I’ve honed in on my aesthetic more and more. I love vintage clothing, color, personality and finding beauty in the world we live in which right now is pretty scary.
What does your typical workday look like?
Well, I’ve been trying to have a more consistent schedule, but that’s extremely hard as a freelance artist! When I have a shoot I usually spend the whole day on the shoot from prep to wrap, as well as preliminary pulling wardrobe, communicating with makeup, model, stylist, etc. the days before. And the other days are spent editing for hours and hours, emailing, scheduling, updating website / portfolios / social media, and everything else that comes with having a business.
Do you have anything particular you like to focus on when you’re taking a photo?
The person is the most important to me, but the location, styling, makeup … they all come together to make the image.
What technology / software / camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best?
I’m a gear minimalist, so I just use what works for me. Ive been using my Canon 5D Mk III for years now, and it’s pretty worn down. 😆 I edit in Lightroom and more in depth in Photoshop.
What is the best thing you have experienced by being a photographer so far?
Having the ability to help people feel strong, beautiful and confident. And creating something that you feel proud of.
How much has social media impacted your work? What is your approach to this? Do you think that your social media presence helps in gaining commissions?
I have gotten a lot of work from social media. It is definitely an accessible way for people to see a portfolio of your work and instantly get an idea of what you do. But it all ties into how much you’re putting into your work in all directions. You can’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
Being an artist it’s sometimes hard to make ends meet. How do you battle this challenge, and what advice would you give to other creatives?
You have to keep putting yourself out there. It’s rare that someone will just come across your work and hire you on the spot. When I wasn’t getting consistent photo jobs, I would work on personal projects, pitch to publications, email companies, upload my portfolio to lots of different sites that I could potentially get work from, assist on shoots, location scout on productions, etc. I wanted to give up A LOT, but I had to push through and get better. Trust what makes you unique. Not only will you feel more confident in that, you will have something that will help you stand out.
Joelle, thank you very much for your time and answers. The best of luck with your career and upcoming projects.