I've met some of the coolest people through art-bartering (term I just made up). I was first introduced to Catie Laffoon through a mutual friend when she needed help with her website. We got to talking and decided, "Hey, instead of exchanging currency, let's trade skills!" and Catie agreed to shoot photos for my new record when the time was right.
To say I was excited would be such an understatement. Not only has Catie shot some pretty cool celebs and artists I love, her work totally speaks for itself. She's able to capture this air of nostalgia and hopefulness that I'm completely in love with. Plus, when I emailed her my idea to do something with sparklers, she basically said 'I fucking love fireworks, let's drive into the desert and shoot them off.'
The album cover turned out perfectly, and there's a fold out poster inside the album that's pretty incredible, but you'll have to wait and see that IRL. Read my interview with Catie below to learn more about this master of her craft!
AW: How long have you been a professional creative person?
CL: Since I moved to LA 11 years ago - I started in film production before I became a photographer. I’ve been a professional moment capturer for almost 4 years now.
When you were a kid, did you dream of doing what you do now?
Nope. It never occurred to me honestly. I wanted to be an artist. Then a marine biologist (because who doesn’t love whales and dolphins), and then a cop, and then an artist who was also a cop, then a film director. Photography was this thing in the back of my head that I started being curious about when I was 14, but I didn’t have access to it or anyone to teach me in my town (the dark ages of no internet kids).
How do you define ‘success’? Do you feel successful?
I think success is defined by the quality of the life you live - waking up every day and doing what you love and are passionate about, loving yourself and being surrounded by people you love unconditionally. And I do feel successful, yes :)
My album is called 'New Love'. You remember the first time you fell in love? Can you describe the feeling?
I do. Oh man. It was confusing and exciting and scary and beautiful. There’s something about losing control and being so vulnerable to another person that threw me through a loop. You have to let go in order to let another person in and that’s the scariest thing.
How old were you when you had your first KISS!!! Feel free to tell us the story?!
Oh man. I was 14 and it was summer by Lake Michigan and I had the biggest crush on the boy everyone had a crush on. Apparently he had a crush on me too and all our friends knew and so they always tried daring us to kiss during truth or dare but I didn’t want my first kiss to be a dare, I felt like it wouldn’t be real, so I kept saying no. And then one night he walked me home and asked if I wasn’t kissing him because I didn’t want to and I told him I’d never been kissed and he asked if he could kiss me. And he did. Right there by the tennis courts. It was the worst kiss ever. EVER. Terrible. So many braces. So much tongue. We both had a lot to learn lol. I found out years later it was his first kiss too.
How old were you when you had your heart broken for the first time? How did THAT feel?
23. It felt like the world was over and I was going to die. Love is very dramatic.
Do you even believe in love? Feel free to elaborate.
I do. I think loving someone or some thing is what ultimately makes us human. I’m a hopeless romantic. Love is unconditional.
What was your favorite part of working with me? Your least favorite? ;)
I remember a hilarious moment where we had to abandon a beer mid-shot - completely throwing it into the wind, maybe because a firework went nuts? I don’t remember why, I just remember you panicked, threw it, put a game face on and we got the shot and it being hilarious. And there are no least favorite parts about making art. That’s silly.
What is your greatest memory associated with our time together?
Getting sparkled!!!! The last shot we did we set off fireworks that sprayed into the air and it was so windy and they sprayed right into me and it was like fairy magic and so fun.
What is your favorite track on ‘New Love’?