With a portfolio that ranges from stunning fashion shots to cosplayers in action, and with a list of features in popular publications such as "The Complete Photography Book", it's a refreshing surprise to find that the lovely 20-year old hiding behind the lens, Aileen Luib, is so humble about her work and achievements that she actually prefers not to call herself a photographer. Living about "70 miles east of Los Angeles, in a modest little suburban town", Aileen's interest (and frustrations) in traditional arts led her to picking up a camera early on in her youth, and she soon found that photography was simply the most effective way of presenting the stories she wanted to tell. Dreamy, beautiful, personal and perfect compositions - it's hard not to become obsessed with her work, and I'm very excited to see where her talent takes her in the future. 

Tell us about how you became a photographer?

To this day I still don't like to call myself a photographer just because I know there is so much more to learn in this creative field. I took interest in it quite a few years back in middle school, and later started to dabble in it my sophomore year of high school when I purchased my first dSLR. 

If the internet didn't exist, do you think your life would be any different? 

Most likely--before the Internet, my life was very simple. As a child I didn't have much freedom or finances to go out, so oftentimes I had to stay home and either watch TV or draw to entertain myself; before finding an interest in photography my earlier artistic roots were in traditional art. I found interest in all other artforms upon my discovery of, but mainly took interest in photography. Aside from finding my hobby, I now use the Internet primarily to share my work with others on various platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and can also find myself sitting for hours on numerous websites to research more about photography as well as find inspiration.

What do you like about taking photos?

What I always push myself to do is to tell stories with my photos. Separate from trying to build my fashion portfolio, the real joy I find in photography is shooting my personal work. A lot of the personal photographs I shoot all have stories behind them. Prior to photography I enjoyed traditional art, but because of my constant need to perfect every detail, a lot of my art came out disproportionate or technically incorrect and made me frustrated; I found it easier to tell stories through photographs without having to worry about drawing a head that was far too big for its counterpart human body.

You've mentioned before that you enjoy connecting emotionally with your models, making it easier for them to reveal their true selves infront of the camera. What elements of your own character do you try to express through your photography?

In all of my images I try to convey esoteric, melancholic and somber emotions. Besides anger (which to me I believe is a very one-dimensional emotion), I believe that sadness is one of the most powerful emotions there are within human behavior--there is so much mystery and wonder behind it. Whichever model I am photographing becomes my muse for my inner feelings. It's a lot of emotion that I try to stifle, so sharing my feelings through my photographs is a healthy outlet and stress reliever for me.

What single image of yours has the most interesting story behind it?

Perhaps "The Deluge," a photograph I shot in 2011. It is a photograph of a fallen angel and is based on a poem by Alfred de Vigny. The poem is about an angel who loved Lucifer so unconditionally that she left Heaven and followed him into Hell. You can read more about the story and my photograph here.

Who would you shoot and who would you select to style your dream editorial?

Lily Cole would be such a joy to photograph, she looks like the human embodiment of a porcelain doll! As for styling, perhaps pulling looks from Miu-Miu; I absolutely adore their line as it resembles a very childish and eccentric style of a doll's wardrobe, Mary-Jane shoes and all. I guess I have a thing for dolls?

Where do you see yourself in five years time? 

I try not to think about my future in photography just because careers in this field of work are never set in stone, and from what I've observed, the path towards it is very unforgiving and oftentimes without reward. Career-wise, I am currently waiting to begin studies in skincare esthetics and massage therapy as it is something I can actually picture myself tolerating as a job (compared to a doctor or a lawyer or a nurse), so I see myself settling down with that job in order to support my hobby in photography. Perhaps from there, my hobby will grow into a secondary job-- or maybe even a full-time career switch? I'm praying for it.

And finally, what makes you happy? 

Honestly, the only thing aside from photography that has made me feel complete is my boyfriend (yes, I am corny!). He's watched and helped me grow both as an artist and a person for a quarter of my life, and never fails to inspire me and push me forward despite how much I want to give up. I'm sure that without his support, I would have given up on photography years ago. So for him sticking around, I am eternally grateful.

Check out Aileen's website, facebook and twitter


Ashley Holloway said...

Beautiful interview! Aileen is a wonderful person with amazing skills, I enjoyed learning even more about her.

Giovanna said...

Beautiful shots! Such a cool interview!