Back when I was in the early stages of my freshman year here at University, my freshman year roommate introduced me to some of her high school friends from the nearby suburb. When I first met Haley I didn't know what to think! Here was this long hair brunette classy well-dressed young woman about to take on the charming city of Montreal for her education at McGill University.
As Haley was taking my (undergraduate) senior pictures, I discovered that she would be a perfect candidate for an interview. Her work as a photographer, international studies student, yogi, cook, sister, daughter, and friend are so impressive and she maintains positivity in all of her decisions. Young women like her teach me that the world is limitless with the right attitude, style, taste buds and of course with the unconditional support of a loving family. She makes me want to do more and see things that are undiscovered by many.
Tell me about yourself (interests, education, hobbies, family life)!
Oh man, this is a broad question! I guess a good place to start would be my name. I am Haley and I am originally from Houston, but currently reside in Montreal for school. I take my coffee black and my dreams big. You can find me upside down, figuratively or literally, most of the time. I like to take pictures and call myself a photographer because that sounds really cool (right?). Other interests I have include going any place I can get on my feet, in a car, on a train, on an airplane (bus, bike, taxi, etc…). My entire closet is black, grey and white with a pop of blue jean. I’ve been told I am disorganized, but hey, that’s the artist in me (maybe I make excuses as well). My emails and texts are covered in emojis and exclamation points because I am really scared of coming off rude or mean. I can’t stay put in one place for too long or I get a little restless. Most decisions I make are made on a whim and I wouldn’t have it any other way, kind of like that time I asked Michael Cera to prom…
What made you first want to pick up a camera? How did you discover editing?
I honestly have no idea what made me initially pick up a camera. I used to do “photoshoots” with my friends back in middle school and I guess that is what got me interested. My first camera was the Canon AE1 and I loved that camera to death. Actually, I recently sold it which was bittersweet! Although I had had a camera for quite a while, I don’t think I really fell in love with photography until I went to Kenya for the first time. While I was there, I realised that my way of connecting with others was through the camera. It was how I showed I cared about them and wanted to know more. I truly believe a photographs ability to tell a more complete story than words ever can. Editing, on the other hand, is a necessary evil. I am still learning everyday how to work photoshop and lightroom and all of it. Note to others out there who feel the same: It does get better!
In what direction do you see yourself going? Graduate School? Career? Interest?
As I tell my parents, I plan on spending my whole life avoiding “real life.” So, no to graduate school, no to career at the moment and no to living life on the typical path we are told to. I am graduating this summer from university with a BA in International Development. My university experience taught me so much about myself and what I really cherish in life. I cherish the adventures, the friendships, the late night laughs and my time alone. I do plan on continuing with my photography business, but I do not plan on settling down anytime soon. In January, I am moving to Australia to try something different and explore a new culture and part of the world! I sometimes think too far in the future so something I am really working on is living in the moment and enjoying everything that I am going through now.
I’m trying to sense your influences, who would you call your top influencers?
These are tough questions! I have so many. With the internet, it is hard not to find inspiration everywhere! Some of the greats like Richard Avedon and Irving Penn are the obvious ones. But photographers of my generation who really inspire me are Julia and Yuriy Manchik. Those two went on a 6 month honeymoon around the world, aka my dream! There are so many more, but it would take forever to write them all down. But, I do think that the biggest influence on my work is traveling. I find the most inspiration when on the road and I don’t think any feeling compares to that.
What music motivates you the most?
This changes on the daily, but the song of today (while editing your photos actually) was Obey Your Guns by Matrimony! I really like folk music, indie music, dance music, sometimes even rap and hip hop! Music plays a really large role in my life, so if you ever want to get me talking bring it up. My favourite artist at the moment is Noah Gundersen. Everyone should check him out! When I look for music, I have to like both the message/lyrics of a song as well as the music behind the words. It is very important that I am inspired in both ways.
How do you compare Canada and the USA?
h no! Not this question! I find them to be two very different places but yet still similar. Because I live in Quebec, it is pretty different from where I lived in the US (Texas). Both places have a special place in my heart though! Texas is where I grew and Quebec is the first place I lived on my own. I don’t really like to compare places I have been or live because I think everywhere has their pros and cons and I don’t want to have a negative view of anywhere.
When traveling, how does food define your experiences? Is it memorable? Is food nourishing or pleasurable to you?
FOOD. Now this is something I can really talk about. I am a huge foodie and a bit of a health food junkie, although I do like my gummy worms every once in a while. I have this habit of going to grocery stores and markets in other countries because I love to look around them. Something about the different packaging and different flavours of similar foods really gets me. Food for me is an experience. I love the whole process. I love the purchasing, creating, cooking, and eating. Someday I will have a small garden in which I can grow vegetables and fruits. One of my favourite things to do is get together with a few friends and cook a nice dinner with some nice wine and really experience the food and the company.
I absolutely loved working with Haley on this piece and I was able to discover how similar we are! Check out her website and see her upcoming travels, adventures, and dreams.