When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?
Photography was a big part of my childhood. My parents are divorced and my father, who I would visit frequently, is a photographer and that was what we did when I was with him. We would head out and he would just take photos all day. So in my childhood mind it was this really special, magical thing that I only got to do with my father and I always wanted to find more things to shoot.
Some time around high school I got really into photographing my friends and using my camera as an excuse to go on adventures and skip school and surf more. I think after high school I knew there was not much reason for me to try to do anything else, as it seemed to be the only fit for me, so I went to school for Photography at Art Center in Pasadena.
Who were the first artists that you found inspiring?
The first photographer I ever remember being inspired by was Sally Mann. I still love her work so much.
Irving Penn, William Eggleston, Robert Frank, Larry Sultan are a few first for me as well. I was really first drawn to people documenting life and taking honest portraits. Later when I went to school for photography I met and took classes with Paul Jasmin and he was a huge inspiration to me as well. I took a year off of school at one point and worked in this great photography book store in NY on Mercer called A Photographer’s Place that was run by this crazy old man, but the store was incredible and it was such an amazing experience. So many photographers coming in and out of there doing book signings. The store is long gone now, but that was a really inspiring time for me. Basically my job was to sit around and look at photography books all day, every day. It was the best education.
If you could go back ten years, what advice would you give yourself?
I would say to shoot more for myself. I think people get caught up in work, me included, and forget to keep shooting what you love.
You should always be shooting. I wish I had continued to photograph more of my own life and adventures. I am back doing that again now, but for a while other things took over and there are times of my life I look back on now and wish I had been shooting more.
Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?
I think you should shoot what makes you happy, not what you think others want to see. People can see through that.
Christa is based in Los Angeles. See more of her work, here.