Passionately telling the stories of others through her compelling visual narratives, we now have the opportunity to hear Audrey’s story – the brilliant creative behind the camera. Check out her poetic interview and stunning images below.
Say hello to Audrey:
Where are you from?
What’s your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place in the world is somewhere I have not yet been. This is because with every experience, every new place, I become a different more evolved version of myself.
Hong Kong is at the top of the list thus far.
My latest adventure was to Islesboro, Maine. I saw sunsets that dreams are made of.
They say it’s the journey, not the destination. That is true in both life and travel. To travel is to evolve. You go away as this caterpillar and you fly back with wings. These wings lead you to your next story. Life becomes more colorful. Travel is the journey; it is the cocoon. It gives one the time to reflect, to grow, and to take in life experiences that open up a world of creativity, another side of self.
What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?
Too many to name but here a few fun ones…
-Edward scissorhands meets the secret garden meets Couture.
-Short fashion film that involves an implied narrative
-Hair story inspired by the hair in cartoons Rugrats, Hey Arnold, and Doug Funny (I.e. Patty mayonnaise)
How would you describe your visual style?
I love Fashion that tells a story or can be used to help tell a story. It is probably my influence from theatre in elementary and high school. Storytelling has always been a part of my life.
I am… A singer. A writer. An actor. A photographer. A model. A visual artist. A creative director. A list maker. A fashionista. A woman. A feminist. A lover of astrology. A New Yorker. A native Memphian. A producer. A networker. A painter. A retoucher. A videographer. A decorator. A stylist. A set designer. A crafter. A collaborator. A team player.
I am a storyteller.
How do you find your inspiration?
We all steal from imagery.
However, I have always loved to collect things.
I collect pieces of images.
These pieces stay with me until they are needed.
Pieces I’ve collected eventually complete a puzzle.
The image I create with my camera is a map of where I’ve been and where I am now.
My scattered thoughts are tamed
and my ADHD mind
has a place,
A sense of control
in the photograph created.
Do you get photographer’s block? If so, how do you overcome that?
Yes. You overcome photographers block by seeking, by soaking up as much culture, art, travel, and experiences as you can.
Tell us about your career. How did you get into it?
I started out in the world of journalism. I took a study abroad in Hong Kong and my camera did not leave my side. I wanted to photograph everything. I was so inspired. The colors, the architecture, the culture.. I couldn’t get enough.
“Do I have something here? Is this worth pursuing”?
I did not know what aperture, Iso, or shutter speed was. I started out on digital. But, it was confirmed by the head of the photo dept at The University of Memphis that I “ had an eye”. You can learn the technical, but you cannot learn how to see. I changed majors and never looked back.
Another study abroad at the University of Westminster in London confirmed my love of fashion photography. It was a form of self expression. Fashion told a story about the person wearing it. I knew then I wanted to photograph and tell stories using fashion.
I finished my undergrad at The University of Memphis with a fine art degree in photography. I then took a big leap and joined one of 12 students for the MPS Fashion Photography Program at The School of Visual Arts here in NYC. I wasn’t really into getting a masters originally. I just knew I wanted to move to New York and start networking. Well, this particular program is a one year intensive fashion photography program and it was a good fit for me.
What types of photography do you do?
I love shooting outdoors.
It allows for happy accidents.
It creates emotion
in the billowing prop
all the while creating a wind sculpture that melds and accents the designer showcased.
It brings POSSIBILITY
from a fogged raindrop lens, allowing this frontal bokeh effect.
The wind creates a sand painting in the sky with the model’s hair.
Shadows and contours quickly change in a kaleidoscope effect that can never truly be recreated in studio or out.
The change in light gives statuesque presence to the model while still allowing him or her to be fluid.
The lack of control is my control.
I am left with an image that will never be replicated.
What was the moment you decided to become a photographer?
I graduated in May of 2012 from the School of Visual Arts with a Masters in Professional Studies in Fashion Photography. I received my BFA in photography from the University of Memphis. I am a full time fashion/portrait photographer. My interest in Fashion Photography began while living in Hong Kong and this passion was confirmed after a photo study abroad in London of 08′. I enjoy collaborating with a stylistic team that desires to create transformative imagery.
What is the strangest situation you’ve ever faced as a photographer?
I once photographed a model with a beard for a fashion story in Fashion Decode. It was titled “Casted Away”. It made me uncomfortable, but nothing great ever came from comfort zones.
What has been your biggest setback as a photographer?
Holding on to an idea too tightly
On that note… Here is advice I gave a friend upon just moving to the city.
You realize things and learn to let go of certain expectations.
I was weak upon moving here.
I had no idea who I was or what I wanted out of life.
I just knew I was a girl with a really big dream!!!
To the many of you struggling with change, letting go, learning to love yourself, and recognizing and accepting the reality of the world….
“I’ve been where you are. That realization that people are not who you want them to be is hard!
I have learned that you have to know and believe in yourself
let go of those that no longer stand to raise you up.
You have to accept that not everyone is going to like you, understand you, or want to be around you.
That is okay.
If you give up that decent loving part of yourself because of some fucking assholes,
then you have already hoisted the white flag.
They will have won by affecting your positivity,
your will for living.
They cannot win.
Do not let them.
You are a beautiful, emotionally delicate artist
you are much stronger than the fear.
What are some of your favorite photos you’ve taken?
Bubbles. This photo is everything nostalgic. It’s about the place I chose, Coney Island. The location was so strategic as was the choice in the yellow bubble container. Every detail within the photograph has a purpose. Just look and see how the colors frame and accentuate each other. And the bubbles… Who could get a more elegant shot of perfectly round bubbles in motion.
Location scout: 4 years ago ( below image created)
Vogue: Enough said
#bts shooting vogue:
Woman in the water for the cover of the poetry book, Midland. This photo is about the model I chose and the feeling evoked; figuratively an in between as a woman and literally an in between water and land.
The Paper Doll Story: The most creative storytelling using everything from location, the model chosen, the set design, the hair/ makeup, the mood, the colors, the composition, the story.
#bts of me shooting the photo directly below it
#bts of me shooting the photo directly below it
Hair: Katelyn McGinn
Makeup: Jessica Bekteshi
Model: Megan Mohr
Stylist: Faustina Rose
Set design: Sarah Hein
Goddess of Venus
This shoot was produced and directed by me. This photo is reminiscent of a painting.
My notes on the creation of this image:
-Venus-goddess of love, sex, beauty, fertility, and prosperity
-Idea 1:nectar of gods fed to male models; flood of Venus, elixir of life, sacred river, lotus nectar, also know as an aphrodisiac cocktail that flows into bowls designed specifically to capture their flux. Those who consumed the fluid felt all the happier and more rejuvenated.- also a symbol that renders women equal to men, Venus is worshipped by her partner, she has a distinct perfume, she invites partner to smell, taste during a sex ceremony.
-bring perfumes, gold sheets, my gold shower curtain, candles, sheet lace thingy, Asian drapery, sexy glassware, anything red, Heidi’s furs, anything bondage like for props, leather, flowers, fruits, apples, candles, etc.
Goddess of Venus
Model: Rachele Schank
Hair: Anthony Payne
Makeup: Kelley Coleman
Set design: Audrey Froggatt
Stylist: Faustina Rose
Photography is competitive. How do you stand out?
I am a creative storytelling fashion photographer based in NYC.
As a storytelling fashion photographer, I do more than take a photo. I am a creative.
I sit down with a client whether it
be a designer, a fitness expert, a mobile
accessories brand, an exclusive app,a
business man/woman, a liquor company,
a lifestyle brand, etc. I then tell my
client’s story based exactly on their
My client’s job is made easier.
I am the one-stop shop for creative direction, production, photography, video, and editing.
I see the entire process to fruition.
What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?
Take time to be creative.
Choose your team wisely.
Maybe your thing is in
the model you choose.
Know your aesthetic.
Always Be ahead of the curve.
Be relevant, but stay true to your individuality.
Truly study your work, compare it, and
see the evolving and underlying theme.
Then, ask others to look at your work and tell you the same thing.
Reevaluate again and again and again
Begin to inherently go into the shoot knowing your aesthetic.
It will strengthen the subconscious creativity that is already there.
Shoot until you are no longer nervous.
Shoot until you can without a doubt get an amazing image in any situation.
What is the best thing a model can do to make the most of a photoshoot?
Know what you are selling and how to sell it.
What was your most memorable photoshoot?
Paper doll shoot- most creative and colorful
#bts shots of my photographing the above image
What’s the funniest story you have from being a photographer?
Mr. Calcite… Yes a specialist in minerals. I photographed his minerals, his babies. He was giddy over these rocks ( minerals) like I am over my creations. Everyone has a story, even mineral collectors. Strange to some, yes.
This was actually the hardest question to answer. There is no normal. Nothing surprises me anymore. So I guess my everyday is strange. The strangest thing would be photographing someone or something normal (common).
Who was the most unforgettable model you’ve ever met?
Natasha King a.k.a @bendybombshell
She is one of my best friends, a contortionist, and a continued muse for the past 4 years. Everyone else wanted to photograph her doing contortion. I saw the innate beauty in her despite fashion ideals that you have to be 5”9. This 5”2 contortionist, model, and burlesque vixen has since been featured in Vogue, appeared on Orange is the New Black, performed at Madonna’s birthday and huge fashion after parties.
Below are a few moments shared through our four years of photographing. The last one being just a month ago.
If you could photograph anyone in the world, who would it be?
Strong women advocating for other women. Men and women with purpose, drive, and genuine love for what they do.
I want to photograph their stories; stories that are easy to get behind and support as well as a joy to tell.
“Mogul is an award-winning technology platform that enables women worldwide to share ideas, solicit advice, and access content based on their personal interests. “A hub for women around the world, Mogul reaches 18.6MM women per week from 196 countries and 30,470 cities”.
Who do you want to give a shoutout to?
Stylist: Faustina Rose
What’s your philosophy when it comes to being a great photographer?
I’m going to quote Madeleine L’ Engle for this answer.
“I think that all artists, regardless of degree of talent, are a painful, paradoxical combination of certainty and uncertainty, of arrogance and humility, constantly in need of reassurance, and yet with a stubborn streak of faith in their own validity no matter what”. – Madeleine L’Engle
Basically, to be a great photographer or artist, you must allow for doubts. You have to work through the pain and create something beautiful from it. You need to be arrogant and naive. If I hadn’t been labeled “endearing”, I probably wouldn’t be here. I had a skewed idea of my talent and what it takes. That naïveté has gotten me where I am. Don’t be scared. Dive in. You will sink sometimes. But that is the process. The sinking makes that breath of fresh air so much more intoxicating.
What’s a deal breaker for you when deciding to do a shoot?
A Lack of respect for my time. Insulting budgets.
How do you bring out your model’s personality in a shoot?
As a photographer I have learned that it is important to connect with your subject.
Sometimes, this is as easy as having a coffee pre-shoot or talking to the model while they are in hair/makeup. No matter the subject, you can never underestimate their vulnerability.
A portrait is not a person, it is an image.
In order to create the best images possible, one must feel a connection when looking at the photograph. A truly successful image portrays the vulnerability and opens the door to many images. It tells a story about the model, what he or she was feeling, and invites the viewer into the moment captured. When you are really connecting with someone, you really lose yourself. The transportation of self to another world is all any great photographer can ask for.
What do you think is the biggest thing holding you back in your photography?
How do you express yourself through your photography?
Everywhere I go, I see beauty.
It may be just a piece of trash on the ground, an old rusted door, or a colorful wall, but I see potential where others see a piece of trash, an old rusted door, and a plain colorful wall.
The camera allows me to make these seemingly ordinary objects and locations a part of something bigger, Another piece to help create my ever evolving puzzle. That is what the camera and photograph do for me.
What’s the most inspiring photo you’ve ever seen?
Probably not even a famous photo but one I studied on my mother’s wall as a child. It is an image of a poor young woman in tattered clothing getting water at the well. She sees her reflection in the water; the reflection is of the woman she knows she will one day become. The reflection is of a beautiful refined woman in gorgeous clothing. This beautiful image told a story. I’m a sucker for a good story.
Other images/photographers work that have been influential:
Guy Bourdin’s colorful shoe campaigns
Tim Walker’s elaborate storytelling
Gregory Crewdson’s cinematic presence inspired by Edward Hopper’s paintings
What photography advice do you wish you had when you were first starting out?
Editorials in magazines are advertisements for photographers. The Ad and commercial jobs are where the money is.
What are 3 tips you have for aspiring photographers?
I don’t have 3. I have 10. 🙂
1. Never leave a subject until you have gone 360 degrees around them.
2. First, Light the environment/room and then light the subject/model.
3. Never underestimate anyone.
4. No one will ever ask you to do exactly
what it is that you want to do.
5. Don’t compare your behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.
6. Make people believe that you know what you are doing.
7. Stay humble. Help people when you can.
8. Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.
9. If you are the most talented person in the room, you are in the wrong room.
10. Fake it till you make it.
What are 3 tips you have for aspiring models?
1. People hire you for your personality as much as for your looks. Don’t be an asshole. People remember.
2. Again, know what you are selling and how to sell it.
3. Be prepared. Have the proper under garments, the proper nude and black heels, and don’t come to a shoot without your legs shaved, your manicure done, and for goodness sake… Use moisturizer.
What kind of gear do you have?
-Canon 5d Mark ii
-24-70 Tamron 1.8
-24-105 Canon L series 4.0
-85mm 1.8 Canon
-Paul C buff Einstein 640 WS lights including beauty dish and large rectangular soft box
-large, medium, and small reflectors. ( 5 in one)
-Canon 640 EXiii flash with Gary Fong diffuser
I love them all for different reasons. The 85mm for portraits, the 24-70 for fashion in low light situations, the 24-105 for sharpness, the beauty dish for that edge/pop on the model’s face or an accessory that needs to be highlighted. I love the Gary Fong diffuser when shooting events. It’s my go to.
What’s one lighting tip you’d like to share with other photographers?
Another way to create a compelling image and transport the audience is by the use of light.
Light the room first and then the subject. You must use the control of light to say something about your model while also captivating the viewer and telling a story.
In telling a story through photographs, one must also let go of preconceived ideas as to how the image should look.
One must always be open to new ways of creating, new ways of seeing. If it isn’t working, try it from a different vantage point. Play around with it. Never leave the model or subject unless you have
gone 360 degrees around them. You may find the image in the most unexpected of places.
What’s one post-processing tip you’d like to share with other photographers?
-Capture One for raw conversion
-Photoshop tip – patch tool to get rid of blemishes followed by the clone stamp tool for smoothing (reduced to 30% opacity and 30% hardness).
Do you have any projects you’d like to show off?
All of them. Haha I’m a photographer. Vogue and Elle are pretty cool.
What is your most life-changing event?
Divorce – “No reason to stay is a good reason to go”.
What has photography done for you as a person?
It has given me an outlet.
What’s something no one knows about you that you’d like to share?
Some days I just want to give up. But I don’t. You wouldn’t know because you only see the highlight reel. You don’t see me break down. So what do I do? I have a little cry, I brush myself off, and start over fresh the following day. That is one thing I’ve got; a quick turnaround time.
I don’t think that I am the brightest, the best at lighting, or even the best photographer. But I do know this, I’m a loaded cannon of passion, I have always had the strength to push on and to make my dreams happen.
I see more, I feel more, I hurt more, I anger more, because I care more, because I am an artist and well, life as an artist is never easy.
Who’s your biggest hero in your life?
My great grandmother, my name’s sake, Betty Elizabeth.
I’m Audrey Elizabeth.
She was the strongest, most optimistic, resilient woman I’ve ever known. She didn’t have it easy but she never let anything stop her. She was a single mother to two beautiful baby girls when her husband died after only being married a short time. She didn’t know how to drive their family car, but she went out into that field and learned. She drove to the bus stop, then took the bus stop to work at the hospital downtown. She wasn’t going to let this loss get in the way of providing a better life for her daughters.
She was a strong advocate for racial equality in the 1940s. She believed, if her nanny/helper, her friend, her daughter’s “mama Ally”, couldn’t stay at that hotel in the same room, then by goodness she couldn’t either. “I’ll go some place else”- Mammaw
She was the president of the Tennessee radiological society and visited conferences in Canada on behalf of all of Tennessee. What a pioneer!!
Betty Elizabeth was born one year before women received the right to vote. I was excited for her presidential vote for hillary Clinton this September. I’m going to show up and vote on behalf of my Mammaw, my namesake, my hero.
Mammaw, thank you for teaching me that I come from strong stock! Thank you for teaching me to go for my dreams, to never give up, and that it is never too late to find love. After all, you found it again at 70. You outlived yet another husband but you weren’t ready yet. You needed to meet all those great grandchildren and be there for more celebrations. You weren’t done seeing. Thank you for teaching me to always seek, to always grow, to never settle, and to love love love with all my heart.
“I love you two times”,
What’s one of your biggest fears?
Not being memorable. After all, in the end it is the work that remains.
What will you be doing five years from now?
I’ll hopefully be married with a kiddo or two as I’ll be 33. Prob one in a knapsack on my back while I’m
shooting a model on the beach.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Haha good try 🙂
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
I want to see all of Italy and Spain. I want to photograph in Greece and take an African Safari. I want to go to Iceland and mud bathe. Basically travel the world.
For anyone that wants to get in touch with Audrey, here’s some contact information:
Audrey, thank you for sharing your beautiful story – it was truly a joy getting to know you! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.